News In Progress: How long have you been recording music?
Tee Slaves: I started when I moved to Los Angeles, I would just write stuff down while I worked in the studios, I was managing at the time. Then when I moved back to Brooklyn before the pandemic, I put out one song to boast my morale, 2020. After that, I just kept at it. Not All Those Who Wander is my 3rd mixtape. It’s been so much fun.
NIP: Do you think being independent is bad or good at this point in your music careeer?
Tee Slaves: I think for the style of my music it’s good. If I was recording more booty-popping, naked views, radio type stuff then I would say hell no, you need a lot of views and money when the messaging is basic. I think being independent gives me an advantage on who I can work with and what we can create. It’s more about creation and doing something significant rather then just dropping tracks.
NIP: Dance on Fire is bright, colorful, reminds us of the islands and Labor Day, was that intended?
TS: Definitely. My parents were born in Trinidad and Tobago so I resonate with that culture maybe more than my American, Black culture. My name Tee Slaves comes from years of me doing research trying to trace my last name Cordner back to the tribes that we were stolen from. It has always been a big deal in my life that I’m not sure where it is I come from. Tee Slaves gives me the artistic freedom to explore research and hidden history.
NIP: There’s a line towards the end where you discuss anxiety, do you think your music has healing powers?
TS: Maybe not healing but definitely relatability which can provide some comfort for folks. I have been there. I’ve been depressed, I’ve felt lost, I’ve experience psychosis, mental health breakdowns, and a stint in the hospital back in California. I want people who listen to any aspect of my artistry to understand that as a Black woman I see so much and have so little. Music and dance were my tools during childhood and they’re still my tools on bad days now. It’s a pleasure to create to give back to the industry that helped me survive. Music is healing and it is powerful.
NIP: Is it hard to promote yourself, how does a person begin a career as a rapper or performer?
TS: Don’t think, just jump. And when you land, do some research. That’s it I think. No one has the same story as to how they became who they are. I am writing my story, hopefully you find the courage to write yours whether it be in art or in kind.
NIP: What’s a good quote from a rapper you like to use on a good day?
TS: “Never go with the flow, be the flow.”- Jay Z. He said that in person to me, lol, at his Tidal b-sides concerts years back. Well to the crowd of special guests who won tickets but shit I was there. I really respect how he respects people who do their own thing authentically. I so wanna be signed to THE ROC.
#NotAllThoseWhoWander streaming worldwide, listen here.
Tee walked for Devolution 2021 during #NYFW watch the photos here:
Tee will also star as a lead in Chill Bucket’s 2021 It’s An Italian Thing. No, It’s A Black Thing, as Tanasia, a pan-sexual cis gender female in love with Frankie, a transgendered Italian woman. Tickets are on sale now. The play opens October 1st at the Episcopal Actors Guild in midtown NYC, off-broadway is where it’s at.
Editor’s Note: Tahyira Arias is the owner of News In Progress. This interview was conducted for promotional purposes only.