I don't remember how I came across Tarsha Vega's name a few weeks ago, but I became curious as to who this lady was for some reason and I discovered her song "Be Ya Self". I instantly loved what I heard and hoped that she had an album of similar stuff. Some quick research uncovered that she did record an album, but it was never released. Luckily some advance copies were released and I got my hands on one, so here you go! Tarsha grew up in the Bronx mastering acting and dancing, but her young adventures to dance clubs instilled an interest in making music as well. Through the New York nightlife she made connections in the music and entertainment world, even working part-time for the CBS Evening News. In 1998 she was introduced to up-and-coming producers Sam Hollander and Dave Schommer, then known as The Freshmaka and Duke Mushroom respectively. They were recording a drum n' bass album as The Warriors and were looking for a female MC to feature on the album. Tarsha gave them a sample of her skills and she was hired. She toured with them and also appeared on the track "The Freshest" on The Freshmaka's album. She soon began working on a demo with the duo, who now went by the name Pop Rox (they would later go on to produce many successful acts such as Baha Men and Wave, as well as Isle postees Cooler Kids. Hollander continues to produce for hit acts like Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes, Kelly Rowland and Katy Perry). The demo drew the attention of RCA and they signed Tarsha. Her first single, "Be Ya Self", was featured in the movie The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle, which got her some attention. But it clearly was not enough of a success for the label, and despite advance buzz, they pulled her album from release. Her song "What It Beez Like" appeared a year later in the film Summer Catch, but that was the last anyone heard of Tarsha's music. Which is very disappointing, considering the album is AMAZING! She reminds me one of my fave artists of all time, Imani Coppola. Like Imani she raps quite a bit, but it's all backed by a much poppier vibe and more humour than most hip hop, and she also sings. She is a surprisingly strong rapper, and her lyrics are very clever and sometimes quite deep. (The song "Rooftops" even features folk goddess Carole King, who was working with Pop Rox at the time.) I was very pleasantly surprised by this album, and I'll be giving it repeated spins. Since it's release, Tarsha has done occasional acting gigs, but her main focus has been on her internet radio show and website, theKNU, which she executive produces and hosts with her friend A. Jade Smith. The site is concentrated on a sort of life coaching through music, which isn't a surprise considering the issues she cleverly covered on her one and only album.
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