After a globetrotting decade as a backing singer, Tawiah finally releases an album of her own. Ironically titled “Starts Again”, it is the fruit of collaborations in those years with Sam Beste and Alex Reeve of Hejira. She honoured Sam by singing the standard “For All We Know” at his father’s funeral last year. Other backing musicians at its live launch last October in her native Deptford now play in Michael Kiwanuka’s band.
Tawiah describes both the angst of coming out to a Pentecostal family, and being dissed socially for her colour, height and shape, and her unique voice trumps negativity.
Her songs are a frank autobiography in pop and soul, performed in her distinct style, a relief from the plethora of Winehouse or Badu vocal clones. The title track is possibly her most impressive performance.
“Mother’s Prayer” is a respectful plea to her mum not just to wish to see her in heaven but to recognise who and what she is here and now. “Borders” is about the physical distance of international love, and by implication, the boundaries of normative sexuality.
Check out the breadth of her work on YouTube and watch for tour dates in 2020.