Since emerging on the international scene in 2017 with her debut Soul Run, Tanika Charles has revealed herself to be one of the best kept secrets in soul music. Both on stage and off, Toronto-based Charles presents an immutable charm, at times endearingly abrasive and honest in her vulnerabilities. Tanika returns in 2019 battle tested and ready to reveal the latest chapters of her life since graduating from local favourite to international success.
In early 2016 Tanika independently released Soul Run within Canada. The album went on to receive nominations for the Polaris Music Prize and a Juno Awards nomination for best R&B/Soul Recording of the Year. In 2017 Soul Run was released internationally by Italian funk/soul label Record Kicks. The critical reception was overwhelmingly positive with Now Magazine giving it a 4/5, Exclaim! Magazine rating it an 8/10 and Music Republic Magazine giving it a perfect 5/5. Songs such as “Endless Chain”, “Love Fool” and “Soul Run” received regular radio rotation in the Canada, the US, the UK and France.
“I heard Tanika Charles and it just reminded me of that Beastie Boys deep funk, raw soul era”
- Bobbito Garcia, NPR
Tanika’s sophomore album The Gumption was released May 10th, 2019 through Record Kicks. It picks up where Soul Run left off, continuing her tradition of marrying classic soul with modern production styles. Across a dozen songs spanning 38 minutes, Tanika addresses moments of vindication, uncertain love, forbidden fruit and the state of the world today. “It’s a little more mature,” Tanika reflects on the album overall. “It’s not feeling guilty about being up front, not being afraid to address situations that aren’t comfortable for me. I’m comfortable in my skin now in a way I never was before.” The Gumption was long-listed for the 2019 Polaris Music Prize and nominated for the 2020 Juno Awards R&B/Soul Recording of the Year.
Tanika was born in Toronto, Canada to Trinidadian parents, but energy sector opportunities soon brought the family out west to Edmonton, Alberta. Music was a constant in the Charles household. Her father would return from two weeks on site with the latest jazz records for Tanika and her brothers to jam out to. A few years later Tanika’s eldest brother would be the first to coach her on how to sing and how to record a song. But the allure of the road and perhaps deep rooted nomadic notions pulled Tanika off the prairies and over to coastal Vancouver as a young adult. There she did some backup singing, and learned what tour life was like, but it wasn’t until she returned to Toronto that dreams of becoming a professional artist began to come to fruition. She recorded her first EP What?What!What?!, assembled her first band, and quickly became a fixture of the local music scene. At the same time, the world took notice of that scene, and of Tanika too.
“Impressive vocal qualities, winningly honest lyrics, and a contemporary twist on classic soul sounds all point to great things”
Backed by her band The Wonderfuls, Tanika has embarked on numerous tours since the release of Soul Run. Those tours took her across Canada many times over, as well as into eight other countries. Together they impressed crowds at such festivals as Rennes Trans Musicales, NXNE, Lärz Fusion, Pop Montreal, Canarias Jazz Festival, CBC Music Fest, TD Toronto Jazz Fest, Birmingham’s Mostly Funk, Soul and Jazz Festival, the Pan Am Games, and many more. Tanika has also appeared on television both as a reoccurring guest on CBC Kids, and as a lounge singer on Global TV’s Bomb Girls drama series. Her music has been featured on HBO’s Less Than Kind, ABC’s Rookie Blue, The CW’s Seed, CTV’s Saving Hope, CBC’s Kim’s Convenience and Workin’ Moms as well as in a nationally broadcast KFC commercial. In 2017 she made her theatrical debut in the touring production Freedom Singer, and returned to that role in February 2019’s Now We Recognize.
“One of the big hitters.”
- Craig Charles, BBC6 Music