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Introducing… Tyson

Maria Hanlon caught up with rising star, TYSON, ahead of her show at the Barbican on International Women’s Day, to find out more about her recent releases, Ladies Music Pub and her advice for women starting out in the music industry…


Maria (M): So you’re currently on tour with ELIZA in Manchester right? How’s that going? 

TYSON (T): Yeah, we got to Manchester this morning. I had a day off in London yesterday, like less than 24 hours, but I got to go home, have a bath, wash my hair, see my boyfriend, and then we got back on the bus this morning. 

M: Nice! I feel like having a bath is my ultimate comfort…

T: I had one in the morning and one in the evening, like cramming them in there! I get a lot of anxiety and one of the things that really helps is just getting in a hot bath. I sometimes have to do it in the middle of the day and my boyfriend laughs every single time. He’s like, ‘what are you doing?’

M: Haha! It does feel strange but also lovely having a bath in the daytime, but look if it works, it works! So you come from a very musical background (TYSON’s mum is Neneh Cherry and her sister is Mabel). When did you first decide to start making your own music? 

T: It was actually quite late. I feel like it’s normal to kind of rebel against what your family does, especially if you have a family business, do you know what I mean? Like, if your whole family runs a business and it’s expected that you’re going to go into the family business, not that anyone expected me to do it, but I was almost like I’m going to be the one that does something else. So it was actually a lot later, when I was about 23 when I was like, ‘Ok, I’m properly going to do this.’

M: ‘Tuesday’ was the first song I heard of yours which came out in 2021. Although it has elements of alt-pop, electro and R&B, it’s still so unique. How did you create your stand out sound?

T: It was with my best friend Oscar Scheller. We grew up together and we’re both pisces, the project that ‘Tuesday’ was on is called ‘Pisces Problems’ because we both have similarities. Like I was saying, I can’t function and I have to either wear a tin foil hat or get in a bath! So we both come from similar backgrounds and have known each other since primary school. I had started doing music in my early twenties and then had to stop because of an issue with my vocal chords, so I think I was feeling quite sensitive and getting back into the studio and ‘Tuesday’ was one of the first songs that me and Oscar did. I feel like he kind of cradled me through the writing process.  

M: I remember seeing the music video for ‘Tuesday’ and thinking it was so magical and dream-like. I bet you get asked this a lot  – is it a dragon you’re riding!? I’ve always wanted to know. 

T: It’s sometimes a dragon. It’s sometimes a dog. Someone called it a pig the other day…

M: It’s so cool how you’re cruising through London on a giant pink puppet. It’s very unique, the sound combined with the visuals, I’d just never seen or heard anything like that before.

T: It’s all Akinola Davies who directed the video. He has a wonderful brain and I was like ‘OK, I’m going to make one video for this project and it has to be Akin’... if he wants to do it. So I just left it to him and that’s what he came back with. He was like, ‘I’ve got an idea, we’re going to spend essentially the whole video budget on a massive puppet. It can be any colour you want.’ I was like ‘wicked! Can we make it pastel purple or pink?’ 

M: It’s such a creative concept I love it!  

“I think that’s the beauty of collaboration. I would have never seen my music like that. I quite like just giving the music to people and being like, what do you see? I think that’s one of the reasons it caught people’s attention, because of that video.”


M: Let’s fast forward to more of your recent releases, ‘Show Me Love’. It’s much slower than ‘Tuesday’ and it features and was produced by Delilah Holliday. So what was the story behind that song?

T: Me and Delilah have known each other for a long time but it was the first time we’d come together sort of actively making music. Delilah had made the beat and had written lots of the lyrics and we got together in the studio and it just happened very organically. Then we made those wonderful visuals with Nothing Yet, whose creative team are good friends of mine, and again I asked them, ‘what do you see when you hear the music?‘ And so they braided our hair together.

M: Your most recent release, ‘Can’t Be Unstuck’ with Coby Sey came out earlier this year. Again, that’s a bit of a different sound. I feel like with all of your songs, obviously your voice is the running theme throughout all of them, but they keep us on our toes and I love that. So what was the process like making that track then? 

T: I feel like in general, because I’m quite a new artist, I’m sort of discovering my sound – but I guess outwardly – so I’m releasing the different types of music that I’m making as I’m kind of going through that journey, and each collaboration is quite unique. I’ve known Coby Sey and Molinaro (who produced the track) for a long time. I think it was just by chance that it happened. Me and Coby were meant to go to the studio together and it fell through and we bumped into Molinaro on the street and he was like ‘come to my house, it’s next door.’ It doesn’t sound like a true story but it is, it sounds like a musician’s myth! We just started hanging out and making music. And there was something special about our three sounds coming together, because it’s really different to my other music, and all the music that we make individually. Both of those collaborations were pretty organic and people that I know personally, people who I’ve met in real life whose energy I like, and I can feel that there’s something mutual where you’re like ‘let’s get in the studio together because it’s going to be nice…’ That’s how I like to work. 

M: All three of the songs we’ve just spoken about were released on Ladies Music Pub, which is a community, collective & record label which you set up supporting women, trans & non binary people in music. You founded it in 2015 and since then you’ve done so much but what have been some of your highlights so far?

T: First of all, our live events. They’re open to everyone and they’re a space to share work in progress that’s not just music – music focused – but we’ve also had people like Miquita Oliver trial her new podcast live on stage. We’ve had visual artists, comedy shows, but then also artists like Nala Sinephro, Yazmin Lacey and Delilah Holliday and I played my first show there. It’s kind of like a living room set up where you can see how it feels to put your music in a room in front of people. It’s a slightly different way of hanging out, socialising and experiencing music, which isn’t about buying anything or getting really wasted, it’s a different space within London. We really want to do more of those, that’s an important thing for me. Obviously the record label and management company too, which means that I’m able to put my music out and feel supported, comfortable and in control of the process. We really want to work with other artists when we have the capacity as well. Then thirdly we’re branching out into curation, we’ve done some panel talks, curated a festival stage and we want to do more festivals this summer. We’ve just done the music for a fashion show. I think curation is something I really want to focus on this year as well. That’s three things, I could go on!

M: They’re three really big and brilliant things and it’s so great that you can make your own music and then release it on your own label, that’s a huge full circle moment! So as we’re approaching International Women’s Day, what advice would you give to womxn who are starting out in the music industry? 

“Stick together, believe in yourself. You can take up all the space, there’s so much space and it’s all yours. But stick together because sometimes we need each other’s backs. That’s advice that I think has helped me because I felt very, very alone, especially as a solo artist. Go for whatever you want, take up any space you want and we’re all here to support you.”

TYSON’s advice to womxn in the music industry

M: It does feel very daunting when you’re starting out, doesn’t it? But it’s amazing how quickly you can form friendships and connections that can go on to help you so much…

T: There are so many organisations, like shesaid.so… Ask the questions, the support is there, our inbox is always open. We do a lot of face-to-face meetings at Ladies Music Pub to give advice. Even if you feel alone, you’re not. 

M: Wednesday is International Women’s Day and you’re going to be performing at in her words, at the Barbican alongside Madison Cunningham, Tawiah, Tara Lily and Rosie Frater-Taylor. What can we expect from your performance?

T: It’s just me, so me and the sampler. I feel like it’s a very small setup and it’s a very big room in the Barbican so it’s just going to be little old me on that stage but I think the sound will warm up the room nicely. There’ll be some new songs in there, some unreleased stuff, the singles that you’ve talked about and maybe some of the EP too. Small set up, big sound (laughs).

M: Lovely, I can’t wait! Just to finish – what else have you got planned for this year? 

T: Straight after this, I’m heading to the US for the first time as I’m going to be playing at SXSW (South by Southwest) Festival and then going to LA for a couple of weeks. And then I want to put out another project, a longer form project of some sort, so I’ll be working on getting that out very soon. 

M: A busy and exciting year ahead! Well thanks so much for chatting & see you at the show on Wednesday!



Listen to TYSON’s music here

See TYSON perform on International Women’s Day (March 8th) at in her words, the Barbican, tickets here.

Words: Maria Hanlon @mariahanlon Listen to Maria Meets on the 2nd Friday of the month 3-5pm on voicesradio.co.uk.

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