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Acclaim Digital Cover 027: TiaCorine

For our latest Digital Cover, we spoke to North Carolina's TiaCorine about creating without limitations on her new project I Can't Wait. The 'Freaky T' artist breaks down her come up, proving herself as a serious artist in her hometown and gives us the run down on the illustrious chicken spot Bojangles.

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Making waves with her undeniably fresh approach to music, TiaCorine’s unique blend of genres and styles is drawn from her multicultural upbringing, and her fearless creativity has made her one of the most talked-about new artists in the rap world. After seeing viral success back in 2018 with her track ‘Lotto’, TiaCorine swiftly secured her position as a promising prospect in North Carolina and landed her a deal with South Coast Music Group on a roster that included fellow N.C rapper DaBaby.

As “Lotto” gained traction, Tia’s newfound fame collided with her personal obligations. She was simultaneously expecting a child and pursuing a college degree, prompting a short hiatus from music to prioritize establishing a stable foundation for her family.
Prompted by her friends, Tia was once again enticed to pursue music and released her EP 34Corine in 2020, marking her formal introduction to the industry. The EP would unapologetically showcase Tia’s identity and bring her growing fanbase into her world, gaining her fans all over the internet including some notable cosigns from SZA and A$AP Rocky.

It’s Tia’s latest album, I Can’t Wait, however, that has truly thrust her from the underground into the mainstream. Her track ‘FreakyT’ and its Memphis rap swagger took over social media in the early months of 2023, positioning TiaCorine as a serious contender in the rap space. On I Can’t Wait, Tia places her creativity at the forefront, backed by a vibrant mix of beats that take cues from hip-hop, punk, hyperpop and more, while letting her personality shine in her clever and sometimes straight-up hilarious bars—mix that with a love of anime, video games and cartoons and you have TiaCorine, your new favourite rapper.

TiaCorine it’s good to meet you. Your music is going crazy at the moment. What have been some of your highlights of 2023 so far?
Definitely Grammy week. I performed at Grammy House and got to go to the Grammys. Being in the Top 40 on Billboard, being the most added song on all radio stations. Key Glock personally called me and asked me to go on tour with him. That was pretty crazy. And probably just like other shout-outs and love from other artists, Wiz Khalifa was an inspiring artist for me and to see him smoking hookah to my song and just vibing was so cool. So yeah, I probably missed a few but so much has been going on. I’m trying to count them all. [Laughs]

Obviously ‘FreakyT’ has been going crazy lately. Do you feel like when you have a moment like that, and your song starts blowing up that there’s pressure to move quickly?
Oh, yeah, for sure. It’s always like, “you gotta do this; you got to do that”. And almost like, oh, you know, we gotta drop more music. Or the pressure is like “oh your next song has to be better than that.” And I don’t kind of really let it bother me too much because I know I’m really great. And I make a lot of different sounds and I have a lot of music. I have like 400 songs. So I’m not really worried. You know, it’s like y’all chill I got this.

You’re from North Carolina, right? Can you describe to me what it’s like living out there?
I’m from Winston-Salem, North Carolina and I still live there. It’s country-ish. Small, it’s probably not as busy and fast as New York or Atlanta. But I like it, it’s a lot of back roads, you can pretty much get anywhere between like 10 or 20 minutes with or without traffic. It’s very cultured with great food and nature, cows and horses and everything like that. I really love Winston.

Where did your musical journey start? Can you tell me about how you became an artist or decided to pursue music?
I’ve been into music as long as I can remember. My dad played a lot of old-school hip-hop. And then my mom would play like 70s, 80s, 90s, rock and pop—the hits. And then at night, my mom would play classical music on the radio for us and that’s how we fell asleep. So it was always a good mixture of music. I think I started doing my first talent shows around third grade and that’s when I really started getting into music. For my first talent show, I did a dance to ‘Hey Mickey’ and then I did Ashanti ‘Happy’. That’s when I told my dad like “I want to be a singer; that’s what I want to do.” Then it went from there to playing instruments, I picked up a flute and I was actually really good at and I played all the way into high school and the love for (music) just kept growing and I started noticing certain things about songs that I didn’t really notice before.

What was it like being an upcoming artist in North Carolina? What’s the creative scene like there?
It didn’t start popping until maybe four years ago. It’s not really a big music scene, and especially being a girl in North Carolina rapping, a lot of people think you’re kind of joking or like, you’re trash. So it was a lot of earning respect and proving myself like, I can hang with the boys. A lot of people didn’t think you could make it out of Winston because who is looking at Winston? But I’ve proven a lot of that wrong. So a lot of people are like, wait, you don’t have to move? You can make it from here? It’s growing a lot more, and I love it.

How does it feel to be back home and Winston compared to when you’re travelling and working in other cities?
You know what? I love to travel it’s good inspiration but I love coming home. As soon as I get off the plane and I’m driving home and I see all the nature and trees, I love that feeling and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s where I recharge; it’s like my safe haven.

So for our readers in Australia, what can you tell us about Bo time? What exactly is Bojangles? And how badly are we missing out?
So it’s a restaurant that does chicken and biscuits, but they also have breakfast and they have these things called Bo-Berry Biscuits. It’s like a biscuit with blueberries in it, and then they put icing on top, and it’s so good. And then they have these ‘Bo Rounds’ that are like hashbrowns that come in a circle—oh my god, so crispy, they are delicious. They are famous for Cajun chicken filet biscuits that are spicy, because the hot sauce is inside the chicken. Yeah, it’s crazy.

So Bojangles asked me to make a song and then we did a commercial and it was a full circle moment because I used to work at Bojangles at one point. I was a shift manager, and after I would close the store, I’d go to the studio. Then in the morning when I would open up the store, I would rubberband my phone to the intercom and play the music I was working on. [Laughs] But wow, yeah, they supported me so much back then so when they see me now they’re like, see, we knew you’d make it! They are just so supportive so to be able to do a song for Bojangles was just crazy.

Shout out to Bojangles that is actually dope and I really need to try that.
It’s Bo Time! [Laughs]

Let’s talk about your newest project I Can’t Wait, I love your range on this project. It feels like you’ve built your own world from all these different influences that you have across different genres. Why is it important to you not to be boxed into a single genre or style?
Oh, because I would hate it so much. I guess it’s because I grew up with all these different sounds. So when I put this project together, I wanted people to fall in love with the fact that they don’t know what they’re going to get from me at any given point and that it’s okay. Like, it’s okay for me to drop a ‘Freaky T’ and then drop a K-pop song next week, because I wanted them to love me for that. You know? And that’s art — I feel like a lot of people told me “oh, you can’t do this, you have to do it this way. Like, you can’t do that.” And I said, fuck you guys and I did it anyway and I still became successful. It just goes back to my personality, I don’t like to be limited. Because why? I’m a limitless person and I want to make sure that I’m viewed as that across the board all the time.

I know you’re a big anime fan; which anime are you on right now?
Oh fun! So I’m currently still finishing up with Monster. I really love thrillers and like mystery stuff. So after I finished Death Note, I really loved how that ended so I wanted to watch another anime mystery and came across Monster and I was like yo! I don’t really know what’s going on all the way, but I like that because otherwise you can kind of figure out what’s happening next, but with this one, it’s like — we’re just chasing this man. I don’t even know why! [Laughs]

There was this other one I watched called Keijo!!!! and it’s about these girls that go to school to become fighters and they fight in the water on buoys. And they use their butt and their legs to fight—it’s just funny. Like, it’s crazy. They just be slapping each other with their boobs like what the fuck? But I fuck with it hard; it’s crazy.

You’ve been known to incorporate cosplay into your art too, the cover of I Can’t Wait features you in the Kingdom Hearts cosplay and I also noticed that in your music video for ‘Gas Station’, you were doing a cosplay from the video game Bully. Are there any costume ideas that you have that you haven’t had a chance to pull off yet?
So I definitely want to do a Dragonball Z one, like when they go Super Saiyan. I definitely would love to do Sailor Moon and also Inuyasha because I love Inuyasha. I feel like the love triangle between Inuyasha, Kikyo and Kagome — I feel like I could recreate that in a video.

How did you first get linked up with Kenny beats and what’s it like working with him?
Basically he just like DM’d me being like ‘Hey, can we make a song together?’ And I was like, uhh yeah. [Laughs] So he said when you come to LA, let’s work and I just so happened to be coming to LA the next week. So when I came—it’s crazy, because I never really watched an episode of The Cave but my boyfriend was showing me this episode and I just remember seeing the sign when I walked in and I was like Oh shit! This is The Cave. I was really nervous but Kenny made the beat from scratch and he just made exactly what I wanted I was like how the fuck did he know? Kenny was just hyping me up the whole time being like “You’re a fucking genius Tia”, he was just so nice, he had snacks for me and we were making jokes, it felt like I was with my best friend.

That’s so cool because I heard you usually record by yourself, so have you been able to adapt to recording in different environments or is Kenny the exception?
Yeah, Kenny is definitely an exception. It’s definitely a hit or miss, some studios feel very corporate and that can make it feel like work. Other times, like with Honorable C.N.O.T.E. I went to his house and the energy was cool like we were just chilling and having a good time. I usually try to work through it, but sometimes the vibe is not there.

I read somewhere that you’re also interested in acting. Is that still something you’re hoping to do?
Oh, yeah, of course. Being in a thriller is my top goal. I love thrillers, but I have to work on that, because when people chase me, it just makes me laugh. I don’t know why. I just get the giggles.

What about the rest of 2023? Is there anything you want to achieve this year?
Having my own festival here in Winston. Yeah, so I definitely want to have I also have my own festival and I want to land some type of like, movie soundtrack or like something on a TV show.

Follow TiaCorine here for more



Stream the new album ‘I Can’t Wait’ here

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