Tafari Anthony Interview

Toronto artist Tafari Anthony’s new single and video, entitled “Centerfold”, is out now. The single features atmospheric synths and cascading pop melodies, showcasing the singer’s his impressive velvet vocals, with a hint of sass. “Centerfold” is the ultimate “go fuck yourself” send-off song to a self-centered ex-lover. He has been featured in PAPER Magazine, Variance Magazine and Earmilk, as well as having performed alongside Shangela (RuPaul’s Drag Race) and New York’s up-and-coming pop star MAX.

Known for his sleek vocal tones, sultry melodies and music which oozes with personality, Tafari (pronounced pronounced Tafar-rye) leaves listeners in awe – somewhat apt considering his name means “He who inspires awe”. His influences range from artists like Prince and John Legend, to more contemporary artists like Lennon Stella and Charlie Puth, among others. Often described as a mix of Sam Smith and MNEK, Tafari creates deeply emotional songs that resonate across generations.

“I was in a new city, new space and with new people. I think all those factors combined allowed me to step out of my comfort zone to try new things, be open to new sounds and melodies, and be comfortable to be whoever I wanted to be that day”. 

Tafari explains of his time working in Edmonton, Alberta

Thematically, Tafari’s music often details love, relationships, life’s hardships and finding self identity and worth in a world where most people feel they need to blend in to be happy.

“I’m not afraid to write about those dark moments and truths that may be hard to hear. I would hope that my music would inspire someone to be less afraid of being themselves. Be less afraid of offending people by expressing how you truly feel. And to be less afraid of wanting the things you desire and deserve”. 

Tafari’s music has been nominated for a Toronto Independent Music Award, receives regular airplay on CBC Radio, with one of his singles being named one of CBC’s Most Influential Songs of 2016.

Before you continue reading for our interview, give Tafari a follow on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Welcome Tafari!

To begin, how are you coping/managing your time during this period of social distancing? Have you found inspiration in unlikely places?

Honestly, it’s been very up and down for me. The initial shock of all my touring and gigging dates being cancelled was a hard pill to swallow. I’ve been trying my best to keep positive and stay somewhat busy with writing and engaging with my community online.

Can you give us insight into the creation of your music video?

I had just finished shooting a video last summer for my single “My Favourite Records” with a big cast and crew. When it came time to do the video for “Centerfold” the following month, I was just thinking of ways to do it that wouldn’t need to involve a big production. I had a meeting with the director James Hunter (@jimotheechalamet) and we talked about various ways we could do it.

Ultimately, we decided on keeping it a small and focused on performance over a fully acted out story. We filmed the video downtown Toronto on a decently cold night in October 2019. James had actually scouted a couple locations he wanted to use as the backdrop, but things didn’t go fully to plan. Some of the locations he scouted ended up being changed last minute, we got shut down by security at one of the parks and such. So we just went with the flow and started thinking on our feet.

I think it was perfect actually for what we wanted to convey. Because we had to just go with the flow, it really brought out that rawness in the video and challenged us both creatively.

There’s nothing like a good eff you song, which is what Centerfold is. How does performing Centerfold make you feel?

It’s still scary every time, but yet freeing. Because the song is so vulnerable for me, and the first big release in awhile releasing that fuck you energy every time can be a scary thing. When the chorus hits though, and the shift in the audience happens its quite amazing. By that point everyone in the room has this air of “I totally feel you” and it’s like we are all synced up in that ‘fuck you’ energy and that makes it so freeing.

“I’m a pretty calm guy, but when I get to my breaking point, it’s hard to hold my tongue. This song was written from sheer frustration of trying to let him down gently and realizing that he just refused to understand”. 

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