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Tasha Denae: Doing exactly what she wants to

By Sean Smith

Fort Wayne Reader


Tasha DeNae is a talented songstress that you may not be aware of, but she's been singing her entire life and if she has her way the music she creates will be around for a long, long time. DeNae recently released her first mix tape and is hard at work on her debut full length album.

"I've been singing since I was a little girl. I grew up singing in church and I had my first solo at the age of seven. It was a song called 'Heaven' by Patti LaBelle," remembers DeNae, "That's when I discovered I could actually do this for a living. I've been singing since then. Doing talent shows, singing in church all the time and doing shows on the side. I used to be in UPAF and Youth Ensemble. I think UPAF is really, really great. I think Marshall does a great job at what he's doing. I used to sing with Fatima Washington in UPAF back in the day. She's doing her thing now."

DeNae is certainly doing her thing now as well. On August 18th she celebrated the release of her first mix tape, Who Am I? with a performance at Lost. "It was pretty good. It was just me and my back-up dancers. We rehearse every two or three days. They make up the dance and we get together and they teach me. Michael Johnson rapped on 'I'm Doing What I Want To.' There were a lot of people that came out to support me. I saw a lot of people out there singing my songs. I was like, 'Oh yeah!'"

Most of those people had probably heard her songs after getting some airplay on 96.3, something that surprised and excited DeNae. "D.J. Wicked played 'I'm Doing What I Want' off of my mix tape a few times. The first time I heard myself on the radio I was at home and they had called me and told me I was going to be on in a few minutes. They were going to play 'You Should Have Told Me.' So I called everybody, turned up the radio and waited. I was just so excited. I was doing the M.C. Hammer and it's a slow song, but I was just so excited. My family has always supported me and they've always had my back. They've helped me with anything I need, so they were excited too."

The mix tape showcases DeNae's versatility and also previews her upcoming album. "I worked on the mix tape for a few months. It's a whole bunch of different beats and a variety of different styles that I do. Reggae, some slow love ballads and some dance tracks. Then, it has my single, 'You Should Have Told Me,' at the end. That song will also be on my upcoming album. I've been working on the album for three or four months. I'll probably be done with it by the end of this year or the beginning of next year."

The content of the album is completely written by DeNae and the inspiration for lyrics comes from her own life. "All of my experience in life goes into my songs. Relationships and love. Love, basically. There are a few dance tracks for just having fun and letting go. It's been in the making for one or two years. I'm going to use some of my older songs and some of the new song I've written too. I've definitely wanted to do this. I've been working at some studios in town and a few out of town. I want it to be just right."

She also wants her career to be just right. DeNae considers Whitney Houston, Beyonce and Patti LaBelle to be her biggest influences, but she would definitely prefer to follow the path of Houston. "Not the Whitney now though," points out DeNae, "I want to get into acting and possibly modeling, but music first. Then acting."

DeNae tries to stay busy with performances, both in and out of the state. "Normally, I perform once or twice a week. I haven't been performing as much since I've been working on the album. I recently performed at Piere's and also in Virginia at a fair. I've been performing out of state for a few years now. I performed in New York at a theatre while I was at Indiana University in the soul review. I don't have a manager, but Michael Johnson has helped me with a lot. So has Uncle Woody. It's great. It's just the beginning. I'm ready for bigger things. I'm ready to go overseas. I want to do more and more. I'm trying to get everywhere."

Could one of those bigger things include signing with a record label? "If it's right, yeah. I don't mind doing the independent thing. I'm enjoying it right now. If it's the right deal I would do it. I know I'm going to have to work for it."

If you would like to hear Tasha DeNae's music or purchase a t-shirt and receive a free copy of Who Am I?, check out: www.tashadenae.com or www.myspace.com/tashadenaemusic

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