Music has just always been around Taija New. Whether it was singing alongside her sister or taking note of everything producers like Timbaland did, it was clear very early on that Taija New was meant to be more than a fan of music. She was supposed to create her own, and she has. With a couple of albums and a plethora of singles to her name, Taija New is always looking to push herself forward. We talked about that, defying boxes society wants to place people in, and more like her latest single, “IDKNO,” which is available now on all major music and streaming platforms.
Kendra: When did your interest in music start? Were you always the kid that was going around singing?
Taija New: When I was very young, I had to be about 3 or 4. It all stemmed from just listening to the music my parents would play; anything from the Commodores to Toni Braxton was part of their collections. I was absolutely the kid that went around singing, me and my big sister actually had a group Called Cantaigous, a blend between our names. I usually sang backup but there was this one day around about age 7 or 8 when I recorded myself singing and I didn’t pick up a mic for years after that. And even then I began rapping. I basically did everything with music except for singing from that point on like dancing or creating little music videos. I slowly but surely began singing again.
Kendra: As far as releasing music, you’ve been at it for some time now, so when you listen back to releases from several years ago like ‘Color Me Complex,’ how do you feel you’ve grown as an overall artist?
Taija New: I am a completely different artist than who I was when I began. I rarely listen back to my previous albums, I just can’t. I cringe when I hear all the mistakes! It’s like I want to fix them but those albums are time-stamped in history, so I appreciate them for the growth they represent.
However, I’m more of a forward facer who just wants to do better with whatever the next project is. I can say I’m way riskier now and more focused on growth over the fear of failure than I was with my earlier albums. For instance, if I feel a rock vibe coming on then I express myself without caring about how people feel I’m supposed to sound. That’s the beauty of music, right?
The universal aspect means it belongs to everyone and if that’s the case then anyone can express themselves in any way that moves them. I certainly do now!
Kendra: Along the way from then to now, you’ve cemented yourself as the Newbian King and even have a song entitled that. You noted that it was a way to defy the gender binary. Have you always been against the boxes society has placed on us when it comes to gender?
Taija New: I’ve always stood for owning who you are even if that is outside of the confines of a binary. When I made “Newbian King” society was not as knowledgeable as they are now. I would get into many debates on social media about deeming myself a King. People really just did not get it at the time but of course, here we are years later and there’s a lot more visibility as well as general growth in our society. I’m happy to live in a time where I got to witness that evolution.
Kendra: That’s a song from a while back, but more recently you’ve dropped some other great tracks like my personal favorite, “So Long” and your most recent, “IDKNO.” Both told me right away that you’re someone who knows how to make a song that captures the exact level of energy. Every song feels right. Did you grow up admiring any particular hip-hop producers?
Taija New: Oh wow, thank you so much for saying so. I always say every song should make you feel something, if it doesn’t I want nothing to do with it. There are so many producers, I’m afraid I’ll miss some. Let’s see…Timbaland, Swiss Beats, Dr. Dre, Jermaine Dupri, and P. Diddy are some of the names that come to mind right away. If we get into R&B then that list goes on and on.
Kendra: And where did you draw inspiration from when it came to “IDKNO?”
Taija New: Producer-wise, “IDKNO” definitely was more inspired by Timbaland records. Songs that are created to cut through the noise and provide a different flavor to the industry. The lyrical inspiration came from a bunch of places. The first would be my friends. I have the most uplifting group of girlfriends, it’s insane. We push one another to be our best selves and genuinely celebrate each other’s achievements. There’s no jealousy, animosity, or drama. So I wanted to write a song that championed the choice to surround yourself with positive energy.
Also inspiring “IDKNO” were the DMs that I received over the years from females about the men they were dating. They really accused me of wanting their man! It’s absurd and I don’t get it at all because I’m the last person they should be worried about. But it made me appreciate my group of friends so much more because we would NEVER.
Lastly, was the verse I wrote about men who would lie and say they were intimate with me for clout. The crazy thing is that these incidents were completely separate situations from the girls in my DM accusing me of their man so you can imagine my frustration. With that being said I decided to put it all in a song because I don’t want that energy around me. Positive vibes only!
Kendra: Now it’s time for a side note – with it being May, I always think of the end of the school year and all those memories of field trips, parties, and yearbooks. With that, I’d love to know what your fondest end-of-the-school-year memory was?
Taija New: My junior year of high school was really cool. I finished all my finals early so I was able to just hang out with my friends (after getting permission from my parents to leave early of course!). Just being able to “be” before anything got too serious was an incredible feeling. Loved every moment.
Kendra: Lastly, with “IDKNO” out now, what else can fans expect as we continue towards summer?
Taija New: I have so much in store for the summer. I’m literally so excited, I cannot wait to share. Keep an eye out on any of my social media @TaijaNew to be the first to see what’s in store!