Tia Henderson is a singer-songwriter based in Memphis, TN. With a melodic style that fuses both Jazz and R&B, Tia’s sound is sure to bring you emotion with a message. She’s performed all over the world and is currently on tour with Tank and the Bangas. For fans of Aretha Franklin, Jazmine Sullivan, and Lalah Hathaway, Tia is sure to bring something both fresh and familiar. We caught up with Tia to ask her 5 questions exclusively for We Are Memphis Music. Read on to get the scoop.  

1. How did your time at Stax Music Academy lay the foundation for your music career? 

My time at Stax helped mold my ear as a vocalist and performance technique. It taught me what to listen to in terms of learning songs and taught me how to tap into the emotion of a song to give it that soulful feel. Also, my teacher at the time, Justin Merrick, always made sure to let us know we were soul communicators and that it meant something to know the history of the music to help bridge the gap and connect with the audience. It’s shaped me as an artist. 

2. What’s it like on the road touring with Tank and the Bangas? 

O M G! It’s alooooooooooooooooootttttttttttttttt of traveling, Ricolas, throat coat, horn warmups, random off-key song singing, many games of ninja during gas stops, accents upon accents and music making. Lol! We honestly are like a little family with musical superpowers. Everyone is so gifted and to share that on stage and sing songs that are created by an intelligent, bright and powerful woman makes me better as an artist. It’s opened me up to a more broadened perspective in terms of life and music. I love creating with them.  

3. What has been your favorite performance to date and why? 

THE APOLLO! I cried so much that day because I felt like we made it. The Apollo in the Black community is such a staple. Also, it’s one of the toughest crowds in America. If you can make it there you can make it anywhere… and we did it. I felt proud and humbled all in one. The audience was packed and stacked high. They were dancing and singing along. It was great energy.  

4. How do you think the musical legacy of Memphis has influenced your own sound? 

At 15 when I started at Stax Music Academy, I was influenced by Ann Peebles, The Staples Singers, Carla Thomas and Aretha Franklin because it was the music I had to learn for performances. All being Memphis musicians, I got to see and sit in the places where they created these pieces. Hearing the stories of how they came about. Memphis music shaped me because it taught me how to tell a story.  

5. What’s next for you? 

I am currently working on a project. Not sure when I’ll release it, but it’s coming. I’m also still working with Tanka and the Bangas and I’m awaiting the next tour once the pandemic allows us all to be together again.  

You can keep up-to-date on Tia via her Instagram account!

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