We had the pleasure of checking out an intimate concert with Tianna Esperanza back in July and now we’ve sat down to chat all things life and music with the singer-songwriter.
PPLA: When did you first know you wanted to pursue music?
TE: I first knew I wanted to pursue music when I was 14. I was a freshman in high school and started singing in the guitar club I was a part of. I wrote my song “Lewis” that year and it felt natural to choose music. I had been interested in pursuing fashion but I was investing most of my time and energy into music and more opportunities were coming, so in some way, I feel I fell into it.
PPLA: Over the years how has your sound developed as an artist?
TE: I was first exposed to rock music through the guitarists I was singing with in high school and then I started with jazz musicians as well and soon I was obsessed with Nina Simone blues. My taste is all over the map but when I write and compose, I tend to gravitate towards a rock or blues sound. I care most about the lyrics and I like a sound that pulls focus towards the story rather than the beat. That’s why I fell in love with Gil Scott Heron’s work because it was so sparse and smart.
PPLA: Who would you say are your biggest creative influences?
TE: Leonard Cohen and Nina Simone are my two biggest creative influences I think. Cohen as a writer and Nina as a singer.
PPLA: What about performing in intimate settings is your favorite? Do intimate settings ever seem more daunting than larger audiences?
TE: I have a hard time connecting with the audience on a larger stage so I love the intimate settings for connecting and having a more relaxed and casual set. That’s also what makes intimate settings definitely more daunting because you’re very vulnerable as opposed to being more of a small singing figurine on a large stage. But I love playing big too. I’ve done mostly intimate settings throughout my career and I think what’s great as a rising artist is that I have all that experience under my belt. The hard part comes first I think because once you get to the big stages, it’s a different skill set granted, but it’s like breaking out of the mold, and it’s easy and freeing.
PPLA: What is your writing process like?
TE: Sometimes the words come to me first or the melody. Sometimes it’s at the same time, which is rare but it’s beautiful when it happens. My song “Lewis” happened in a very organic way. I often think of lyrics throughout the day and then I like to mix and match and compile them into an unexpected story in the finished product.
PPLA: What is a city you haven’t performed in that you would like to?
TE: I have never performed in New Orleans and I still have never been there! The music history alone there is a must go to soak it all in. It would be a dream to be invited to sing there at some point in my career.
PPLA: As a performer you’re continually evolving and does that include your style for you as well? Does your style change based on the tone you want to set for an album or single as an artist versus your personal style?
TE: The fashionista in me loves to divulge in every facet of fashion but I think as I get older I have certain tastes that remain the same. I want to experiment with changing my look or tone for each album but I think there is always an element of class to my fashion choices, or minimalism, or elegance. That’s what I look for in my choices regardless if it’s pvc or silk.
PPLA: What is your favorite song to perform? Why?
TE: One of my favorite songs to perform is my song “Princess Slit and the Raincoat Prince” because it’s so fun and dynamic. It’s a quick punch.