Moni in the Middle…Interview with Tanika Charles

hyperadmin | Interviews,Moni in the Middle,Uncategorised | Friday, May 7th, 2010
I have to admit this interview might seem bit short for such a huge talent.  Not because there aren’t enough amazing things to say about the lovely Tanika Charles, but more because when you’re in her presence, it’s not even about her.  Tanika, aka Mz. Chawls, has a way of looking you straight in the eye and knowing exactly how you’re feeling.  And she called out my forever aching heart right away.  “You’re a cancer, aren’t you?” she pinpointed me.  “How did you know?” I replied surprised.  And with that signature twinkle in her eye she responded with an, “ooh girl, I just know … Trust me when I say, I KNOW”.

Full interview after the jump!

Photos: Kevin Robert Fong
Space: Rivoli, 334 Queen Street W.

After two hours of spilling my guts to someone I hardly even knew, but felt like I had known for years, I realized where Tanika’s inspiration comes from.  This woman really knows a thing or two about love’s ups and downs and silly happy wild’s.  And it’s not just her own experiences that tell the vivid and core shaking stories we have heard on “Think of you” and “Dancing with your Ghost”.  Tanika has definitely come up with some strong women who know a thing or two about soul.  Managed by the multi-talented community educator, Deejay L’Oqenz and back up singer for her dear friend Zaki Ibrahim, Tanika has travelled the world singing her heart out and speaking on life situations that all of us can relate to.  It’s almost surprising when she admits that she never meant to be a singer and actually started out as a dancer with a keen eye for fashion.  After meeting up with Zaki through a mutual friend and kick-starting their all girl group ‘Xavia Zen’ back in Vancouver, it was obvious to both herself and Zaki that there was a future for Mz. Chawls in singing.  And sing she did.  Although Toronto has been it’s usual sleepy self when catching on to the immense talent we have here, Tanika has already toured the world with groups like Bedouin Soundclash and shared the stage with the Roots, Estelle, Erykah Badu and more.

Tanika 3

So most people know you from the work you have done with Zaki Ibrahim. How did you get linked up with her?

I met Zaki through a mutual friend while living in Vancouver. Basically, the day we met we were inseparable! We had so many similarities from our choice of music to humor and style. We’ve performed so many shows together I don’t even know where to begin..The Roots, Erykah Badu, Mishka and Platinum Pied Pipers just to name a few…

You mentioned that you were more into dancing than singing. When did you start singing seriously? What were your influences?

Well, I’ve always sang around the house and at talent shows in school but I never thought to pursue it as a career. I thought I was going to be a stand-up comedian! Seriously! My friends always told me to be an actress or do voice- overs because I was always so animated! My father was a huge influence. He played a lot of Jazz and R&B in the house growing up…Quincy Jones, Bob James, Spyro, Gyra, Earth Wind and Fire, and he would make us sit down and listen to riffs that were played or notes that singers made you know. He’d wanted my brothers and I to enjoy the music as much as he had.

Tanika 2

You have a very original style that’s reminiscent of 50’s and 60’s Harlem. What inspires your look?

Ella Fitzgerald, Dorothy Dandridge and Billie Holiday..Such passionate music was made during turmoil in their personal lives. I’d like to assume it was love and heartache. Ultimately, their voices, lyrics and the classy style in which they presented themselves.

That’s my inspiration.

Canada is still catching up to you Mz. Chawls! What have been your favorite international spots when touring and where would you like to go next?

Hmm..I think my favorite spots to tour were South Africa and Belgium. I would LOVE to see the world of course, but Asia..I’d like to experience for sure!!

Shoot for the stars!! *insert signature eye twinkle here*
Tanika 4

Who are other Canadian artists you would like to work with?

SAUKRATES, I.JAMES JONES (Dope Toronto MC), Omar Khan (The Hastings Set Vancouver), Styrofoam Ones, Emma-Lee Dee, Glenn Lewis, Sarah Shafey…Should I keep going or…..

Whats next for Tanika Charles?

EP Release party May 8th @ Revival first of all… and I’m actually working on my album as we speak!

Why Rivoli?

My very first live show was at Rivoli! For a ‘Good People Party’ in 2007/08..Remember those? Such a great response considering I was new to the city.

So many great hip-hop shows have happened and continue to happen there!

Such fond memories….

Last words?

Well, this is what my dad says to me EVERYTIME we finish speaking on the phone..I’d think this is fitting for last words..haha

“Tanik, Drink yuh Milk ,Take yuh Vitamins, Doh smoke and Doh drink, ok?”(spoken in a thick Trini accent)

“OK Dad.”

Listen to your parents! They are wise.

Tanika’s pops isn’t the only wise one….Take in some Mz. Chawlz’ soul shaking wisdom tomorrow night at Revival, 783 College Street!!

Mz Chawlz Revival May 8

SATURDAY MAY 8th, 2010
The Main Ingredient @ Revival Night Club
783 College St. (at Shaw)


w/ Special Guest Deejay

feat. Resident Deejays

Hosted By

and in the STONE LOUNGE…





No Comments »

  1. […] her out here: Also read an article here on Posted by omarmusic Filed in Uncategorized Leave a Comment […]

    Pingback by Introducing Tanika Charles… « Omar’s Weblog — May 12, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

  2. I enjoyed this.

    Comment by lane-change-ticket — September 6, 2011 @ 10:05 am

  3. problem with it How to do?

    Comment by winter@boots — November 19, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  4. oh my god it is problem with it so nice

    Comment by winter-boots — November 19, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

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