In our time of covering music artists from Flint, Michigan, we’ve found that the small Midwestern city is a breeding ground for talented, hungry creatives, and Tiera Santoya is no exception.
For the past several years, Tiera has consistently made her rounds throughout Michigan, killing every verse, hook and stage with her braggadocios flow while also finding time to speak on issues effecting her community as seen below.
Keeping her relentless grind going, she released her much-anticipated debut album, Soul’n Gold, this year which garnered major support from her hometown and fans around the country.
While pushing singles from the album and rocking shows, Tiera found time to squeeze us in for a dope Q&A session that touches on her personal style, musical influences, favorite candy and much more.
The Dope Show: How would you describe your style as an artist?
Tiera Santoya: “Sometimes, I think this is a hard question for me because it’s always hard to explain. I have a melodic, Hip-Hop, R&B core style. I’ve managed to find a balance between Hip-Hop and R&B, I believe.”
TDS: Who were your musical influences growing up?
Tiera: “Jay-Z and Trina! No, seriously, my mom would play those two all of the time when I was growing up. I still remember having the Trina cassette tape of her first single. A lot of people here in my hometown (Flint) say that, to a certain extent, I give them a Trina vibe. I think those are two artists that know how to evolve with music, and that makes them dope to me.”
TDS: When did you begin making music?
Tiera: “I believe that I was a late bloomer. I began creating strongly five years ago. I never knew that I would be doing music which is crazy to me still. Sometimes I wonder how far would I be if I would’ve started younger, but I guess it was all perfect timing. God’s plan.”
TDS: What’s the creative process like for you?
Tiera: “The creative process for me is kind of simple but natural. I just need some good candy, preferably Juicyfruit licorice and an instrumental that gives me a mood. I create music from true emotions and experiences. I hardly ever write beforehand, I like creating vibes from what the instrumentals are telling me. I’ve been using that strategy a lot lately.”
TDS: Do you find yourself faces certain difficulties as a female emcee?
Tiera: “Definitely, it’s hard! One that stands out to me is the sexist factor of women and men. It’s as if no matter how much you accomplish as a female artist, you’ll never get the same credit as the guys which is upsetting to me. One day, I would love to see women and men artists on the same level. The industry is so sexist to me at times.”
TDS: What keeps you going?
Tiera: “My support system, the messages, the calls, all of it. I receive so much support from people, including strangers that stress their love for me and my music and that’s huge to me. Also, daily support. I wake up every day with someone telling me to keep going, and people don’t understand how hard it as an artist to receive support on a small scale, so when I do receive it, it just makes me go harder.”
TDS: You have an undeniable stage presence when you perform, do you have a specific routine before hitting the stage?
Tiera: “I don’t have a specific routine, I think I just turn into Santoya once it’s showtime. I always want to be a dope entertainer or give the audience something to remember so I just give it my all.”
TDS: What was it like making Soul’n Gold?
Tiera: “It was nerve-racking in all honesty, but fun. I was nervous as hell! I didn’t get over that hump until I released the project. I was clashing with the guys because they were getting super irritated with my delay of just letting the project go. I can say that the recording process was the most hard work I’ve ever done with music, literally recording EVERYDAY.
I didn’t miss a day for two months. I had over 100 songs. It was different for me as well because this project brought out a different side of me, an emotional side that people weren’t use to. My music is written from the heart. I took real-life situations and placed them into songs. I’m happy that it’s out now, and all of my nervousness is all gone, thank God!”
TDS: Who would you like to work with in the near future?
Tiera: “I want to work with female artists in other areas such as Dreezy, Tokyo Jetz, and Rocky Badd. I think those three are dope female artists, and I feel as if we’re all on the same mission.”
TDS: What do you have coming up next?
Tiera: “I’m actually working on a mixtape that I plan on dropping before the year is over with, it’s still untitled. Right now, I’m just doing shows and trying to network outside and expand. That’s my goal.”
TDS: Any shout outs?
Tiera: “My support system! All of the promoters, DJ’s, engineers, and radio stations (Club 93.7). Anyone that has helped me in any kind of way. I appreciate it all. Thousand, Ila, Nero, Johnny Knott, huge appreciation goes to those guys for always being in my corner.”