As dream starts to careers go, 24-year-old Tiana Major9’s is certainly up there. Last year, her emotive song ‘Collide’ – a collaboration with Dreamville rap duo Earthgang – soundtracked one of the biggest cinematic hits of the year, Queen and Slim. She was personally chosen by Stormzy to appear on ‘Heavy Is The Head’ album standout ‘Rainfall’ and a show-stopping performance with the grime star at this year’s BRITs followed. Now she joins forces with the iconic Motown Records for new EP ‘At Sixes And Sevens’. Not a bad start, right?
Drawing inspiration from her gospel-loving family, as well as early influences including Lauryn Hill, Erza Collective and Amy Winehouse, the musician continues her confident embrace of multiple genres including pop, jazz, reggae, R&B and soul. Delivered with what she terms “a hip-hop attitude”, Tiana’s music once again focusses on universal themes. “To be at sixes and sevens means to be in a state of total confusion… love is confusing,” she says of the classic themes that given a contemporary twist.
Stripped-back opener ‘Exclusively’ shimmers gently into life with Tiana’s rich, melodic harmonies dominating throughout. Combining classical neo-soul with a groove-laden bass, the song pleads for exclusivity in a relationship from a character who knows her worth. Punctuated by spoken-word affirmations (“I’m strong, I’m resilient and I’m open to love,”), the songs positions women as equals in a genre where they’ve often been passive, silent or objectified. “[Go] out your way, make me wanna stay” Tiana asserts on the infectious winning-at-love bop ‘Lucky’: “that’s how good my love is”.
Elsewhere, ‘Think About You (Notion Mix)’ is a standout. A bouncy nod to her Jamaican roots, this sugar-rush ode to love brings some sunny escapism to a summer many would sooner forget. ‘Real Affair’ leans more to Tiana’s jazz roots with a hint of the electronica present on ‘Rehearsal @ Nine’ making a reappearance. Her harmonic vocals impress both here and on tender closer ‘Same Space’, a song where Tiana’s childhood gospel roots feel most evident.
‘At Sixes And Sevens’ is a confident step-up that showcases her growing ability to push traditional genres out of their traditional shapes and into something fiercely new and original. The list of musicians making their debuts on Motown is a renowned one. With the dream start that is ‘At Sixes and Sevens’, Tiana Major9 stands out as yet another of these illustrious names.
- Release date: August 7
- Record label: Motown Records