Tafari Anthony’s New EP “The Way You See Me” (Review)
Toronto Pop, R&B artist Tafari Anthony has just released his new six-song EP ‘The Way You See Me’. The EP is the artist’s expression of his journey through life and music, from a perspective of a man who, like many of us, faces preconceptions; and who doesn’t feel like fitting into the mold we’re so often expected to fill. The album is a polished, soft, sexy piece of music and would nicely accompany a night after a bad date, or a really good date. ‘The Way You See Me’ is available now.
Nobody I know likes to be put in a box. Especially a box based on someone else’s preconceptions. It’s easy to forget that every one of us is complicated, exists full-time in the universe, and might be more than the first, second, or even third thing we find out about one another. It took me a long time to learn that in my life and it’s still hard to hold on to sometimes, but it’s important. Preconceptions shut things down pretty quickly in most cases, one way or another, and leaves nothing in their wake but missed opportunities. It’s a mess being a human being, but here we are.
It’s said music (art) is a reflection of life. There’s a ‘cool’ factor in music, as in life, that artists – like anybody – feel pressure to navigate to ‘fit-in’. It’s an unspoken factor that we feel a need to live up to. It’s a topic explored and pondered in so many song lyrics. In the world of music, I’ve heard it described as the euphoria of letting go of writing for others’ expectations; or writing songs based on honest experiences that connect to an unexpectedly large audience. Ultimately the best way to describe it is our life-long, shared struggle to be comfortable with ourselves ultimately in the hope to be accepted and loved by others.
Tafari Anthony is taking that particular bull by the horns with his new EP ‘The Way You See Me’, as well as providing a perspective I wish I could have heard more as a teenager. Anthony is a Queer artist and I only bring it up because that’s the perspective I’m referring to. It would have been nice – having been a gay teenager myself – to hear a boy sing a love song to a boy now and then. It’s nice now. This album in that regard is probably quite successful at tackling its subject matter from the perspective of someone who may need to hear something like this from an artist they can identify with. The more queer role-models out there doing their thing, inspiring young people to be unapologetically themselves, the better quite frankly.
Here’s what Anthony said about the album in a press release, “When I think of this project and what it took to get here I can’t help but remember the challenges. I had spent about a year chasing and begging people to work with me. To no avail, I spent that year living off of “yeah totally, I’ll get back to you”, and of course they never did. I knew I had the vision in me and was fed up with trying to challenge the way they saw me. My previous work may not have fit into what’s “cool”, I was this thick black gay man doing this thing that wasn’t contemporary R&B, but yet I oozed soul from my voice.”
Having found influence in female powerhouse vocalists such as Seinabo Sey, King Princess, and Alicia Keys, Tafari delivers a classic vibe, but through a modern approach. The Way You See Me sees Tafari being unapologetically himself.
He goes on, “I feel as though this whole process has been about challenging the way people see me. Breaking the stereotype of it was really about not getting stuck in my precious work and being free to explore the various facets of me. It was about being open and honest about my stories, and quite frankly owning my queerness in my way, and again not cater to what kind of queer people wanted me to be.”
When I Come to You is the first track on Anthony’s new EP, and it sets you us for a smooth sexy vocal journey through the artist’s personality and experiences. The song itself is subtly powerful. It’s a love song – or at least a song about love. One of the most beautiful parts about this track is that I can’t decide if it’s a pledge made from passion or heartbreak. This song works on a cold night when you’re feeling underrated, and just as well in bed with someone you’d do anything for.
Centerfold is described by the artist as the ‘ultimate fuck-you song’ and as a gay dude who’s lived in Toronto since he was 18, I’m one hundred percent sure I know the guy that this song is about. Probably not the exact person, but there’s a type. It’s about that ex that was WAY more into themselves than you or, well literally anything else. This song is for those dudes, their abs, and that book they almost read once. They don’t deserve a song this good.
The next track on the EP is One For You (Feat. BLUE WILL) keeps us moving on this sexy sonic ride. This is probably one of my favourite tracks on the album. It’s one of those flirty R&B songs that you can, and should make out to, as soon as making out with people is a thing again. Please only makeout safely.
The last song on Anthony’s EP is called Feel the Love, and this song sounds like what I optimistically hope 2021 will eventually sound like. This song from what I can tell is about learning to accept the good parts of yourself; it’s about accepting that others don’t look at you nearly as critically as you look at yourself. Most importantly it’s about learning to accept love from others. I hope more of us can get on board with this kind of sentiment this coming year. Maybe songs like this will help us all get to a better place.
Anthony is an artist that knew what he was capable of in his heart and he went for it. He ignored casual critics and wasn’t discouraged by unanswered emails and phone calls that never got returned, as every young artist should. I will also go absolutely as far as to call Anthony a brave man, it’s not easy being this open in your art. Open enough to talk about/around your sexuality in a way that’s honest and productive to the greater human conversation. The fact is, that if one Queer kid who’s going through it, finds any level of comfort or any level of themselves through Anthony’s music, it will be worth everything to that kid. That’s very cool.
Tafari Anthony’s new EP ‘The Way You See Me’ is available now on all the major places you get your music fix. For more information on the artist visit: http://tafarianthony.com