For several years now, Indiana-born pop/R&B singer and songwriter Tiara Thomas has been making her way to the top of music industry and has released an array of smooth, upbeat music along the way. Discovered by management company The Board Administration (now called Every Blue Moon) when she was only 20 years old, Thomas enjoyed her first taste of mainstream success four years later when she was featured on Wale’s hit single “Bad” that was later remixed with Rihanna. In the years since, Thomas has released a steady stream of singles and EPs, and appeared on tracks by Rico Love, Fabolous, Fat Joe and others.
Recently, Thomas released a new EP, FWMM (Fuckin’ With My Mind), which shows off an incredible amount of growth as an artist and songwriter, as well as her powerful voice and some wonderfully lush, polished production. The EP is already garnering Thomas a multitude of positive reviews and bringing Thomas and her music into the spotlight once more.
CULTURE recently had the opportunity to catch up with Tiara Thomas and hear all about the new EP, her 420 show with Snoop Dogg and Migos, as well as her love of honesty in music.
You just released a new EP, FWMM. Can you tell me how this record came together?
This is a collection of songs that I put together over the last year or so. Basically, I find myself using the term fuckin’ with my mind a lot, like, “Why is he doing that? Why did this happen? That shit is fuckin’ with my mind.” I’m that type of person where I be in my head a lot, so that’s a good time to get into the studio, sit down with my guitar or listen to some beats. A lot of the time that’s how I get thoughts off my mind; I just put my headphones on, listen to beats that my friends send me and write to them. I have a lot of thoughts and stuff that be fuckin’ with my mind.
“Being in the music industry is stressful, and I have anxiety, so having a smoke helps me chill out a lot.”
Have you always used music to help you solve a problem or resolve an issue?
For sure! I was the type of kid that got in trouble a lot. I wasn’t cussing out the teacher or fighting or anything. I just had a lot of energy, and I didn’t really know what to do with it. I would be getting sent to my room, because I was getting in trouble a lot, and I would just go in there and be fuckin’ it up on my guitar. If I got real mad at my mom and dad for something, I’d just go in my room and play guitar for hours. I think ultimately, that’s how I got good at it. Music has always been an outlet for me. I know a lot of people say that, but sometimes, even as a grown person, I’ll be stressed out, and I’ll think, “Let me just sit down and play my guitar.” And it’s always rewarding.
You’ve never been shy about your love for cannabis and recently got to play a 420 show with Snoop Dogg and Migos. Cannabis is something near and dear to us at CULTURE, what do you think of all the legalization going on?
I think it’s dope! I don’t know why it’s even a thing. I think you should be able to buy weed before you’re able to buy alcohol. There are so many bad things that can happen from drinking alcohol: You can get liver disease, you can become an alcoholic, you can get alcohol poisoning. But, when you be smoking, you’re just chillin’.
Is cannabis something that’s benefited you?
Definitely! It’s helped me develop this hippie lifestyle, where I be real chilled out about stuff. Being in the music industry is stressful, and I have anxiety, so having a smoke helps me chill out a lot.
It seems like authenticity and honesty are two things you champion. Why are those themes so important to you?
That’s what I want from myself, and that’s what I’m attracted to in other artists. I feel like there are so many people that are not themselves, and they feel like they have to do some certain shit or rap some certain shit to get poppin’. But I’ve seen plenty of people be themselves and get real poppin’. When you’re yourself, you’re also encouraging other people to be themselves too. I also know what artists like Lauryn Hill did for me when I was coming up. I remember listening to her and thinking, “I want to do that.” I admired her because there was something so raw and authentic about her. I just want to spark that type of feeling in other people, so that they can feel like, “Oh, I can be myself!” or, “Oh, I can really relate to her! She’s real!” I don’t want to be some made up artist with some made up story.