A writer, a poet, an artist and a true inspiration, Tylibah is certainly a name worth remembering. Born and raised in Brooklyn, this multi-talented artist stands at 25 years old with a list of accomplishments some of us only dream of. Although Tylibah is currently not signed to a label, she is certainly on her grind and making things happen. Already working with artists such as, Busta Rhymes, Dead Prez and Twista, Tylibah is sure to leave a dent in the music industry.
Although Tylibah has been working and grinding to get her name out there, she was able to give Right On! Mag and EXCLUSIVE interview!
Interviewed by: Violet Berisha
How old were you when you discovered music as your passion?
Well, I grew up in the church; so my first influences with music came from the church. My mother is a singer, my brother plays the piano, and my other brother plays the drums. I come from a very musical family.
If you could get signed to any label, which would it be?
I would really want to be with a record label that actually understands the vision of Tylibah. Not just Tylibah the artist, but Tylibah the brand.
What do you plan to bring to the table as far as music goes?
I think I’m bringing a very fresh look from a female hip-hop perspective. I’m bringing authenticity, which I think has been missing in the game for a while.
How do you plan on making yourself stand out in a room full of so much competition?
I think I just have to be me. I’m someone that is very deeply connected with who I am. I don’t strive so hard to be different, I’m just Tylibah.
Many artists struggle trying to get ahead in this business, what has been your biggest struggle thus far?
My biggest struggle I think has been, not allowing myself to be exploited by people that may have ulterior motives. Also, being able to stand firm in who it is that I am. A lot of people have said, “Tylibah, you need to change your name, it’s too complicated to pronounce,” but that’s not my vision for me, that’s their vision for me.
You’ve also already written a book, can you tell the Right On! readers a little about that?
The name of the book is Streets in Poem Form, a Compilation of my Thoughts. It was self-published in 2006. It’s a book of poetry, which is broken down into three sections; Political, Personal and Social. The book is almost designed like an album, because you know poetry is like lyrics. I wrote the bulk of the book when I was in High School, so you can see the progression of the book from who I was to who I was becoming.
Do you write ALL of your own music?
I do write the bulk of my music, but I do have to give it up to all the managers in the studio, the producers and my brothers because sometimes it’s a collaborative effort.
How do you feel about where the music industry is right now?
I feel like it’s in a GREAT place right now. Big ups to people like Nikki Minaj. All we heard were crickets for a while, as far as the female MC’s are concerned. She came out with a bang, and did her thing. Big ups to people like Drake and the whole Young Money crew. I think we’re in a really really good place right now. I think it’s time for people who are on their grind to be heard.
What artist would you compare your style to (musically)?
Wow that’s a really good question. Lauren Hill did a mix tape with a phenomenal Dee Jay named, Jay Perriere, and she was just so raw and honest. So I think lyrically I can compare myself to her, from the perspective of being able to say what I want to say.
What artist would you like to work?
Janet Jackson is my number one. But I’d also love to work with Kim Burrell, who is an amazing Gospel singer.
Where do you get your inspiration from for your music?
I get my inspiration from my everyday living. I’m very connected to my family, the struggle and where I grew up.
Who is your ALL time favorite artist (only one)?
Wow, I’d have to give it Queen Latifah.
What would you consider your genre of music to be?
It’s definitely hip-hop, with a mixture of R&B and Soul.
What is a motto that you live by?
Mos Def has a record on his album called, “There is a way”. It’s a really simple record. It basically just says, “There is a way, no matter what they say.”
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the music business, how do you stay grounded and keep yourself out of trouble?
Usually when people see me, I’m with a certain group of people, which includes my manager and my mother. I just stick with the people that I know and the people that have been working with me for a while. I surround myself with people that wouldn’t be scared to say, Tylibah, cut it out!
What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years as far as your career goes?
Great question! Well, I plan to write more books. I’m actually currently in the process of writing another book now called, Tyliba’s Total Girl Guide, which is a book for girls between the ages of 8 and 17, that talks about everything from hair and hygiene, to clothes and music.
I also want to just travel and tour the world and get my music out there. I want to be able to meet EVERYBODY that is a fan of my music. I want to go everywhere and perform and let people get to know Tylibah as an artist.
Did you go to college?
Well, I didn’t finish, but I did go to NYU for TV journalism and performing arts. I also attended the New Federal Theatre, which is a school that Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman attended.
You started writing your book at the very young age of 20, how did it come about?
Well, when I was younger I moved from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn to a small town in North Carolina named Garner. It was such a culture shock to me, to move from this big city to a VERY small quiet town. I had a teacher in school by the name of Ms. Johnson, who told me I should learn how to write. So that’s what I did, I started writing. When I got back to New York, my mother asked me, Tylibah, what did you do in North Carolina? And I told her, I wrote. I wrote songs, I wrote lyrics, I taught myself how to count bars, I taught myself how to sing on key, I taught myself how to do all of that. And my mother said, I think we should get some money together and you should publish a book. So that’s what I did.
How successful has the book been?
Oh my God, every time I think about it, I feel so blessed. In the first year of publication, we sold 15,000 copies. Also, just recently, I got a contract with the Department of Education in New York, and my book is used in 36 schools as a guide to writing poetry.
How do you balance work and your social life?
My friends usually call me like, Tylibah, I haven’t heard from you! It’s hard, but this is cultivation time. It’s time for me to expand Tylibah as a brand, as an artist, as an entrepreneur and as an entertainer.
Do you have any plans of coming out with an album?
Absolutely! I want to do an album with some of the artists that I love and appreciate.
What advice would you offer to other young females trying to do what you do?
Don’t compromise. If it’s meant to happen for you, it’s going to happen. You don’t have to do anything outrageous, like put out a sex tape or anything. Just be who it is that you are, and if it’s in the stars for you to be a star, then you’ll be a star.
What artists are you featuring on your latest mix tape?
Pharaoh, who is one of my mentors. M-1 from Dead Prez, Remo da RapStar, Fred the Godson, and many more!
Anything else you want to add about your mix tape?
Well, The MIXTAPE came out on November 14th, so go out and get that! There are 10 records on the mix tape and there’s also a video called, Where ever you are, which I’m very excited about. The video showcases me singing on the hook, and it definitely shows the softer side of Tylibah. There will be about 4 videos in total off the mix tape. You can also check out the videos at YouTube.com/Tylibah.
Where can people go to find out more information about you?
Or just simply Google me!