It didn’t take long for Tasha Bethea and those around her to notice her musical abilities. “My grandmother signed me up for the best local music school and took me to my weekly lessons since I was six. When you know what you’re meant to do, it is very easy to block out everything else and focus on perfecting your craft,” says the R&B singer.
With the never-ending support of her family, and confidence in herself and her abilities – Tasha Bethea is hopeful about her present and future endeavors. Which were on the table as we talked about her single “Get Down,” radio from back in the day, and more in this back and forth exchange.
Kendra: You were born just as my interest in music went from casual radio listener to obsessed fangirl in the late ‘90s, a decade that has often been regarded as the best when it comes to R&B. As someone who grew up in the ‘00s, do you feel like you relished more in what was considered maybe “old school” R&B of the ‘90s, or the artists who were topping the charts when you were a kid?
Tasha Bethea: I grew up listening to all kinds of music. My older sister Jasmin would always come home with CDs full of new club songs from local DJs. She is also the one who taught me how to download music from anywhere. My parents played a lot of old-school R&B, hip hop, Motown, and Gospel. I am inspired by “old school R&B” including En Vogue, Janet Jackson, and The Isley Brothers. I am also inspired by artists from the early 2000s like Kelis, Amerie, and Aaliyah.
Kendra: With that, how did your homage to Missy Elliot come about?
Tasha Bethea: I love Missy Elliot! She is a pioneer in the game and recreating her song was the closest thing to working with her that I’d get…for now. As soon as I heard the beat to the original song, “DripDemeanor,” I felt like I could put my spin on it. I am not the kind of artist that enjoys singing covers. I could never find an artist that I could mimic. Eventually, I stopped trying to be other people and added my vibe to it. I only write to popular songs when I feel in my gut that it’ll sound good.
Kendra: Let’s talk about one of your latest singles, “Get Down.” It’s one of those songs I feel lives for a night out with your friends as it’s a good time from the press of play. Do you feel like you’re helping keep spirits high with a song like this during a time where going out with your girls isn’t possible due to closures and whatnot?
Tasha Bethea: Yes! The purpose of “Get Down” was to uplift people. I recorded the song three times just to get it right. I had to make sure I was in a great mood so that my delivery was genuine. I wanted the song to be for everyone! Even with clubs being closed, it’s a song you can blast in your house with your kids, listen to on your drive to work, during your Saturday morning cleaning, or anytime that you need to hear a fun song.
Kendra: Do you have plans to place “Get Down” on an album this year?
Tasha Bethea: I am planning on dropping a project on my birthday, October 1st, I’ll be 23-years-old and celebrating life, so my project will reflect that. I have been holding on to some good music because I wanted to get my business in order. Music is fun but it’s still a business. Now that I have a team of people working with me, I feel better about releasing more music. I am very particular about how I want the project to sound. My versatility is what makes me different and I want to make sure I showcase that.
Kendra: One thing I wanted to talk to you about that I noticed we had in common was the fact that you don’t like to be talked to like you’re stupid. For you, does it stem from being in an industry that still feels heavily male-dominated?
Tasha Bethea: Being in a male-dominated industry sucks…sometimes. The belittling is real and frustrating, but you learn to work around it. Sadly, I am so used to being ignored and having to work harder because I am a young Black woman that I don’t even take it personally. I look at it as, “that’s just how this business works” and move forward.
When you do that enough times, you become numb to the bullshit. Luckily, things are changing for the better. I can say that during my internship days, all of my male mentors were always respectable men. They treated me like they treat everyone else who works for them. I am thankful for those experiences because they molded me to be tough when handling business.
Kendra: It’s hard to have a definite answer when it comes to future plans given the current state of everything, but as far as what you can control when it comes to your career and creativity – what do you have planned in the coming months for yourself?
Tasha Bethea: I am currently the host of ‘Video City TV’ on Roku. I get the chance to interview emerging artists from around the globe. It has been awesome to network with so many talented people. Aside from the show, you can expect a music video for “Get Down” and maybe another single from my project.