Tia P.: Voice of the New Generation

Artist Talks BET’s ‘The Next Big Thing’

Taking us by storm with her hit ‘Come Together’ featuring spirited recording artist B. Slade, Tia P. continues turning heads of those known for solidifying careers of some of the world’s top artists. A skilled drummer, actress, poet and singer-songwriter there’s no surprise this powerhouse has earned her place in the forefront of millions. Nearly halfway into its first season, Tia P. stands firm in her spot on BET’s music competition ‘The Next Big Thing’ which premiered July 9, 2019. The network’s newest reality music competition showcases national talent judged by industry icons music-mogul Damon Dash, super-producer Zaytoven and industry exec Tina Davis, known as ‘The League’. The show’s premise is a ten episode artist development boot camp in search of the next superstar offering the winner a record deal on the spot.

Other industry executive appearances have been Serge Durand of Capitol Records, Tuo Clark of Def Jam and Ericka Coulter of Epic Records. Empire Records CEO Ghazi is also on the roster for making a deal. Fostering artist development, ‘TNBT’ welcomes weekly Celebrity mentors who so far have included Joe Budden, Tamar Braxton and Jeremih (episode also featured Big Boy/Big Boy’s Neighborhood). Future Celebrity mentor appearances include Lil Kim, Remy Ma and a segment of the late great Nipsey Hussle.

In competition, this driving force of endurance is no stranger to hype-demands. Coming from a long line of creators and thinkers, Tia P. brings a certain presence welcoming rigorous challenges testing skills and unwavering determination. As with any competition, challenges intensify with progress. In review, some challenges have caused quite the uproar between contestants. While some entertain the competition merely as an experience to push careers forward, actions of others prove otherwise indicating desperate natures of a must-win. Reality TV platform, however, this is not a game.

First few challenges:

  • Cypher Challenge – Joe Budden (Ep 2)
  • ‘Control Your Instrument’ – Tamar Braxton (Ep 3)
  • Working in Pairs and Live Radio Run – Jeremih & Big Boy (Ep 4)

On edge to find out who becomes BET’s next sensation, I recently caught up with the poetic-songstress discussing her early experiences on the show, its impact on her career and lessons learned thus far. Here’s what Tia had to say:

Who knew what to expect after the first episode. You made it but tell us, during elimination round what were your thoughts when called to come forward with the first group?

The real drama has yet to unfold! Haha! Wow, thinking back on that first episode, I never planned on being eliminated. I honestly don’t think I ever considered that, not because of arrogance, but because of the confidence I have in my craft as an artist. Of course as contestants get eliminated, the focus is even harsher on those who remain. My mindset was not to get into the comparison game, but to focus on me, and showing the judges every aspect of my artistry.

Yes. Staying focused is critical and those on the panel can identify those serious about their art. Coming from a family of talent how did it prepare you for working up close with industry icons?

It groomed me to appreciate great music and all the elements that make it such – no matter the era, genre, or race that produced it. That appreciation translated into a work ethic to have the musical mannerisms, knowledge, transparency and heart as the greats I was exposed to – even in my own family.

It’s clear those humble beginnings have kept you in peace and it shows. The piece you delivered during first call was so interesting. Beautiful, actually. A style of poetry/song. With the majority likely to perform the typical song or rap, what was the motivation for what you chose to present?  

Thank you! That’s actually the opening verse of my song called “Revolution”. The title really encompasses why I chose that verse, to revolt against the typical flow, cadence, and content the majority of rappers/ artists have lazily adopted. I actually changed a pronoun in one of the lines to Dame Dash’s name to make it even more personal for that specific intro challenge. The original line is “I pray you open your eyes fool”. For the episode, I replaced fool with Dame. It wasn’t to make them seem interchangeable, but to grab his attention specifically.

You’re very prepared and determined to remain in your truth. I like that. Tell us, what are two core practices that you follow as you navigate through the music industry?

First, never making money the motive. Of course I want to make money doing this, but it’s not why I do music. I love it. If your motive is anything other than that, the music industry is the wrong place to be.  Second, be humble. Everyone is connected to somebody in this industry, and the likability factor in many cases trumps the talent factor. No one wants to work with an A-hole in music or otherwise.

Some of the wealthiest most intelligent people in time have said the same, don’t do it for the money. Follow the passion and the rest will come. Tia, still early in the season but can you share three things you’ve learned about yourself on this journey?

Well, I learned TV is a lot of “hurry-up and wait”, hehe. I also learned early on I was a threat to many of the contestants because they kept mentioning my name in their cypher raps in episode 2. Lastly… ahh… I confirmed my dislike for performing in groups, especially when you have to be judged. It’s the same reason why I didn’t like group projects in school. I’d rather be critiqued by my own merits. But ya know, ya can’t have it all!

Groups are a challenge in and of themselves. Being responsible for others is not so simple. After the first performances, all contestants were met with the high expectations set by the judges. Was your expectation different from when you first stepped in the room?

Not really. I could tell they had their favorites, but it didn’t intimidate or make me want to get to comfortable. Their expectations weren’t anything my team and I wouldn’t or hadn’t already placed on me. I don’t even know what mediocre is.

Moving right along (smiling as I love that response). As an artist, you’re on even when you’re not on. How do you maintain when you just want a regular day?   

Sacrifice of personal time and privacy comes with the territory with my journey, and for many others who do this like me. However, we can’t give from an empty well. I have to find time to pray and read my bible daily. That’s a biggie. God is the source of my gifts and I know he’d never put more on my plate than I can deal with. I also have common sense and if I want a regular day I take a day. I come back refreshed. Some stuff you can’t just work through. You have to take a step back to regain focus. There’s no shame in that. I surround myself with the type of energy I don’t mind rubbing off on me, with people who are loyal and love Tia more than “Tia P.”.

You’re so right. Our lives have become so busy but sometimes you do have to stop and regroup to keep from losing yourself. With so many willing to do the inevitable to succeed what keeps you ethical and grounded?

You know how people say “I’m just saying”? Well, no one in my family just says anything. It’s out of love, though. They’ve instilled a certain amount of self-respect and dignity that just won’t dissipate for anyone. I want to be a role model, not just for kids but for all people of how you can achieve success without selling your soul. The journey may take longer, but the reward is much greater and earned. At end of the day, I’ve got to be able to lay my head down and sleep at night knowing I didn’t trade in my character for a leg up.

I believe you’ve touched lives in more ways than you can imagine. More than ever, the entertainment space is filled with those that cater to present buzz. You’re very unique. Please share how you’ve been able to maintain your uniqueness.

You hit the nail on the head with “present buzz”. I’m here to be a lifelong conversation, not just present buzz. I don’t know how to not do me. Seriously. I’m so comfortable in my skin, I think it’s a contagious ‘comfortability’. That’s cool in and of itself. These day’s people are inspiring people to hate, spend money, look like this celeb, fix this, etc. Who’s inspiring people to be comfortable?! This girl!!!

A lifelong conversation. Longevity, not something many seem to strive for anymore. Something else that sets you apart. “Tia P.” is uncompromised. The term “Unapologetic” has weaved its way into conversations of those feeling most proud about who they are what they stand for. As an artist with her own story to tell, what does this mean to you?

To me, it means going after what you want without fear of opposition, without fear of failing (publicly and privately), and without fear of trying to please everybody. When you know your purpose and you are walking in alignment with the one who gave you destiny, there’s nothing to be apologetic for – unless you never use the gifts in the first place. I just know it.

Yes, spoken like a woman who knows her calling and understands her path. Thank you for sharing your experiences and truth with us Tia. As always it’s been a pleasure.

Tia P. is soulful, classy, authentic and raw. Crowned BET’s ‘The Next Big Thing’, or not, she’s already won the hearts of millions. Who gets the deal? Be sure to tune in to BET every Tuesday night, 10/9 CST.

  • Tia P.’s music is available on all platforms.
  • Social Media – IG: @iamtiap and Twitter: @iamtiap
  • Music, Website and Social Media links: https://myurls.co/iamtiap
  • Official Website: iamtiap.com
  • Tia P. is an Artist of 6X Entertainment: www.6XEntertainment.com – For booking, press or media inquiries contact C. Von & Marty Arnold: mgmt@6xentertainment.com

Video: ‘Come Together’ featuring B. Slade:


About Kalandra Robinson 16 Articles
Bay Area native and John F. Kennedy University Alum, Kalandra is a Writer and Podcast host. She enjoys research and writing on industry topics in entertainment, lifestyle, entrepreneurship, business and emerging technologies. Other aspirations include writing an independent film.

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