Atlanta-born, L.A.-based artist Tanerélle is a master of manifestation


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Atlanta-born, L.A.-based artist Tanerélle is a master of manifestation

“I’m a master of manifestation, everyone who knows me will tell you this,” says Atlanta-born artist Tanerélle. “I can think about something, outwardly express what it is I want—whether in my career or love life—and the universe will deliver it to me.”

The universe has delivered a lot to Tanerélle over the past ten years: since moving to L.A. to kick start her career, she’s released a debut EP, followed it up with numerous projects, launched her own label, became the 40th African American Playboy “playmate”, and garnered over 100 million streams as an independent artist. Her latest realized manifestation? Performing her new track ‘Better Days’ on A COLORS SHOW.

To celebrate her COLORS debut, we sat down with Tanerélle for an in depth interview about her life, career, and creative processes. We spoke about everything from being an advocate for women’s autonomy to how she’s never wavered from her dreams. Read the full conversation below.

You’ve spoken about the importance of ensuring people pronounce your name correctly. Tell me about your name and your journey to reclaiming it. 

My mother made up my name which I’ve always thought was really cool. Unfortunately, people have butchered it my entire life. They’ve even gone as far as to tell me that my name is spelled incorrectly. Some have even tried to teach me how to pronounce it. Overtime, introducing myself became a bit traumatizing. I’d always be met with: “Can I call you this instead?” Now I make sure people call me by my name—no negotiating, no shortcuts. Part of the beauty of it being made up is that I get to make up the meaning. The meaning is now ‘Space Goddess of Love and Light’. Giving ‘Tanerélle’ this meaning gave me my power. It’s my badge of honor.

You grew up in Atlanta. How did living here influence your relationship with music?

Atlanta is a hub for musical brilliance. The city is intrinsically tied to blues and jazz because of its history. I grew up listening to Ray Charles, OutKast, Ludacris, Usher and so many other amazing artists. The evolution of music runs deep in the south and there’s an amazing amount of range here. Atlanta taught me to never box myself in and how to be an innovator. Being from here is definitely what gives my sound it’s mystique, grit, and soul.

You moved from Atlanta to L.A., where you began pursuing your music career as an independent artist. What are a few key lessons you learned as a result of moving from your hometown?

I learnt that you have to focus on your own magic. Putting too much energy into what others may be able to do for you will only hold you back. When I arrived in L.A., I refused to orchestrate relationships based on who someone was or what they did. Instead, I put all of that energy into me. It paid off. Not only have I been able to make my dreams come true, but I’ve been able to find an incredible tribe of people along the way. Staying true to myself has enabled me to live a life in which I’ve been able to put out and readily receive love from like-minded souls. Through doing that, I’ve been able to ground myself fully in divinity.

The title of your 2017 debut album, ‘11:11’, is inspired by angel numbers and the digital wish time—11:11 is believed to be a daily cosmic opportunity to make a wish upon angel numbers when visually presented on a clock. What does speaking things into existence and manifestation mean to you? 

I’m a master of manifestation, everyone who knows me will tell you this. I can think about something, outwardly express what it is I want—whether in my career or life—and the universe will conspire to make it happen for me. As long as I focus on my desires, act as though I already have what I want, and truly express gratitude for something that may not seem to be there to the human eye, my manifestations and wishes materialize every time.

In 2022, you released your follow up project, ‘82 Moons’. Its accompanying visuals tap into afrofuturism, depicting surreal, outer space-like environments. What is it about otherworldly settings that inspires you?

I believe we are made of stars and that everything is connected. I’ve always found it interesting how everything is built in perfect balance. As a kid, I’d stare at the sun and think of how humans are just close enough to get nutrients but far enough that we don’t get burned. Moments like  that reinforced my belief that there is something “bigger” than all of us.

I don’t believe that anything is coincidental and I acknowledge that we’re all part of something infinite. If you allow yourself to accept that premise, your inspirations are endless.

You once said that your body, mind, and your artistic expression are your protest against the patriarchy. Can you expand on what that statement means to you? 

As a Black woman in this world, everything that I do is inherently political, whether I like it or not. Since childhood I’ve been directed to act, speak, and present myself in a certain way so as to not disturb the outer world. Every part of me had to be micromanaged in order to simply exist in society. Now, how I lead my life—centering my actions and beliefs around what I want—is my own personal revolution. I wish that that act—living how you see fit—wasn’t deep, but as a Black body it is.

“Society wants women to be palatable, to be seen and not heard. I’m not here to make myself more digestible for anyone. I don’t believe any woman is.”

In December 2020, I was on the cover of Playboy magazine. I was the 40th African American “playmate” out of over 800 women in the history of the publication. Being on that cover with my breasts out was my statement to the world that my body isn’t inherently sexual, and that my body is just that, my body. At that moment, I was reclaiming my body as a Black woman in a publication created for the white male gaze. That in itself is was apart of my rebellion against the patriarchy. Society wants women to be palatable, to be seen and not heard. I’m not here to make myself more digestible for anyone. I don’t believe any woman is.

Was there a specific moment or event that motivated you to redefine the narrative?

Being harassed and bullied by strangers online led to me speaking up for myself. Through doing that, I ended up advocating for women around the world. I was fed up with always trying to be society’s idea of “the bigger person”. Sometimes you’ve got to say something.

Tell us about the song you performed for COLORS.

‘Better Days’ is really special song to me. I was in the studio with my friend and asked her what I should write about. She said “your journey.” It was such a simple idea, but I had no idea that it was the catharsis I needed. To be able to reflect and see how far I’ve come allowed me to feel so much presence and gratitude.

The song expresses your belief in staying true to your path and willing things into existence. Performing on COLORS was something you’ve wanted to do for years. How do you practice gratitude when acknowledging the success of your manifestations?

Gratitude is a huge practice for me. We often get so stuck in the process of trying to achieve our goals that by the time we’ve reached them we’ve moved onto the next thing.

I could feel the power of my dreams when I watched my A COLORS SHOW back on set. It was a really emotional moment for me. I realized that yet again my manifestations had come true, and so naturally too. I was already in Europe on tour when COLORS invited me to record the show. Everything fell into place at the right time, as it always does.

The cover art for 'Better Days'

Are you currently working on new music?

I am! I’m aiming to release an EP this spring. This project is all about me embracing my duality. It’s about allowing my softness, edge, and power to merge instead of thinking I have to choose between them. I’ve always opposed being trapped in a specific genre, so this project shows the range of my world.

If you were to look into a crystal ball, what would you hope to see?

Me getting my freaking EGOT, girl! To be able to have my art achieve an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and a Tony would be insane! Today as creatives we try to shy away from accolades. For me, awards are less about the trophy and more about the representation, history, and inspiration they provide to those who come after us. It’s always wonderful to be acknowledged by your peers—the people who inspired you to get to where you are in the first place. I want it all and I’ll have it all. That’s what I see in the crystal ball.

Tanerélle is a Atlanta-born, L.A.-based artist whose A COLORS SHOW was released on Friday 5th April. You can watch the full performance on our YouTube channel.

Text: Katerina Lytras
Photography: Megan Courtis (Image 1), BAZ


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