Interview: Harlem Lover Tia Fuller

tia fullerTia Fuller

Beautiful music, from a talented artist, the Harlem lover releases her latest album Angelic Warrior this month. The veteran pauses to reflect on working with Beyonce’, Esperanza Spaulding, her fave thing to do in Harlem and teaching at a Catholic school.

Harlem World Magazine: Who is Tia Fuller, the Angel or the Warrior or as in the title of your new CD Angelic Warrior?

Tia Fuller: I would have to say that I am both…or at least trying to balance the two out. That is the whole concept of the title Angelic Warrior, to celebrate and strive to maintain balance of being peaceful and grace, while maintaining drive, discernment and determination in my life. The idea of ‘Angelic Warrior’ is to celebrate the angel and the warrior within, and also, celebrate all of our friends and loved ones throughout our life that have been our angelic warriors.

HW: What has been the secret to your success?

TF: Prayer, faith, vision, and a bit of tenacity.

HW: You grew up in Colorado, but moved to New Jersey two days before September 11, 2001. Does that mean anything?

TF: Yes, I think everything happens for a reason and indirectly feel that the tragedy Sept. 11 actually fueled my fire to become a musician out in the NY area. I kept hearing from musicians that “there is no work,” so in the back of my mind, I tried to hustle and create as much work as I possibly can. This inevitably led me to play on the jazz circuit, as well as wedding bands, church and temporarily teaching reading, computers and math and a private Catholic school down the street from my first apartment. Essentially, it’s about doing what you need to do, in order to eventually do what you dream to do.

HW: When you think of Harlem jazz, who are some of your fave Harlem jazz musicians?

TF: I love Mary Lou Williams, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and today, James Carter and Bill Saxton.

HW: We really like the process, when you’re playing what is going through your head (the notes your reading, nothing, or …)?

TF: I have been working different concepts, but when I play, I try to play in the spirit and the moment. So what goes through my head a little bit of everything, but essentially just trying the get out of my head and into the sound and the moment.

HW: You have toured with Beyonce’, Esperanza Spaulding, etc. did you learn anything from those experiences?

TF: Yes. They both are extraordinary artists. Beyonce taught me about the importance of presentation, creating a fluid show and not to be afraid to accept no for an answer. Playing in her band also taught me a lot about myself and how to function and maintain myself on the road. I am greatful for that experience. Esperanza is amazing as well. She has a very clear vision in herself and her band. He is constant shedding and exploring new ways to delve deeper into the music. From sitting back and just watching Esperanza, I have learned how to not rush in life…but to sit back and let it all function in it’s own. Espe and I have become good friends so we are able to just talk and she is extremely intelligent, constantly hipping me to new perspectives, books and philoshies. The two of them are amazing and I am very thankful to work with both Beyonce and Esperanza.

HW: For young musicians who would like to follow in your pumps what advice would you give them?

TF: To stay true to themselves and not allow fear to dictate the direction they want to go…but move in faith.

HW: Do you think jazz is having a renaissance in the 21st century? If so/if not, why?

TF: I think jazz is and I feel that there is a movement with a resurgence of Women in Jazz. Women have always been apart of the music and pushing the music, but now I feel that there is extraordinary opportunities given to women who are out there on the scene. After being apart of Beyonces band, Esperanza’s Radio Music Society, and Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic, the positioning of women in music, let alone jazz, if a renaissance in itself and I am so excited and blessed to be apart of it. I can’t wait to see how it is years from now. I believe that the state of jazz will only continue to grow and extend itself beyond the jazz arena.

HW: When in Harlem what is a fave thing you like to do or go?

TF: I love to go to Sylvia’s and get some great soul food.

HW: How can our readers stay linked to you and your work?

TF: My website is tiafuller.com, facebook: tiafullerjazz.com and my Facebook fanpage: tiafullermusic.com.

HW: Thank you.

TF: Thank you.

Check out Tia Fuller at on Tuesday, October 16th at 7:30PM & 9:30PM at the Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, NYC, Train 6 to 28th Street. Get your tix, visit www.jazzstandard.com.

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