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Tanika Charles - Soul Run (Record Kicks)

Add Date: 03/21
Focus Track: 1
FCC Clean
Formats: College, Triple A

Artist Info: In a few short years, Tanika Charles has transformed from an emerging solo artist to a commanding performer and bandleader, a staple in the Canadian soul scene, both on stage and off. Edmonton raised Charles presents an immutable charm, at times endearingly abrasive and honest in her vulnerabilities. If Tanika’s singing it, she’s lived it!

Her touring career has seen her supporting the likes of Estelle, Mayer Hawthorne, Haitus Kayote, Lauryn Hill, Bendouin Soundclash and Macy Gray. Highly impressive, considering she is only just releasing her debut album to the world, after her low-key EP release, What! What? What!?, back in 2010.

Soul Run is an album which strikes a seamless balance between that warm authentic vintage soul sound, yet contains a contemporary twist to it. A tricky thing to accomplish, however, Tanika has undeniably managed to achieve this, judging by the glowing reviews she has already received from her native Canadian press.

Growing up on a musical diet of Patti Labelle, Jill Scott, Bob James, Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo, Bjork and The Black Crows, Charles’ eclectic music taste subconsciously shines through in ‘Soul Run’, an album’s name that came from a tragic part of Tanika’s life.

“Soul Run is a post breakup album. It’s not about a breakup as such, but about finding yourself after hitting the reset button”, Charles makes clear. Trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship in rural Canada, resulted in her “borrowing” her then fiancée’s car and running away to Toronto to begin her singing career, never looking back.

Tanika’s interest in music was very much inspired by her older brother, a musician and producer who is very active locally in Edmonton. “My older brother actually suggested I start singing and recording. He opened a studio up and I remember the TRITON keyboard being his pride and joy. He played most brass instruments and wrote music. He even attracted interest from the likes of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. 

Singing was always a passion of hers but never once did she imagine it would become a full-time career. Encouraged by a friend to attend a background singing audition, Tanika reminisces; “I couldn’t believe it, I actually got the part and ended up touring the globe with Bedouin Soundclash, something I never dreamt I would be doing!”.

After a couple of years singing other people’s songs, she figured out it was time to start telling her own story, and began to gather some of her friends and peers in Toronto together. The outcome was a beautifully crafted eleven-track album, Soul Run, cobbled together in various Toronto studios on a shoestring budget.

All but one of the songs on the album were co-writes, mostly with local songwriter, Ian James Jones. 

Production was handled by SlakahTheBeatchild (BBE Records), best known as a producer for artists such as Drake and Justin Nozuka, Daniel Lee (Hooded Fang &Phedre), Jesse Bear (Sean Kingston, Zaki Ibrahim), Matt ‘Emdee’ Reid and Anthony Corsi.

Tanika explains her recording process: “We initially began to follow a sort of Motown-revival sound that has become increasingly popular, but along the way the decision was made to embrace the instrumentation of that era, while still seeking contemporary sonic”.

Part of the charm of Soul Run is Tanika’s natural ability to wear her heart on her sleeve, “I am inherently open and forthcoming emotionally and for me it was important to showcase who I really am to those willing to listen, there is no façade, this is the real me.”