Welcome back to Fashion Rocks, a series that celebrates dapper musicians across the globe. This week we’re featuring TT The Artist, who will be performing on Sunday, June 26th at DJ Whitney Day’s legendary “The Party,” an annual multi-sensory, music-focused Pride event held at NYC’s infamous Marquee nightclub.
From sketchbook to rhymes, performer, filmmaker, creative director, community artist and designer, TT The Artist creates a well-blended sound of Baltimore club, hip-hop and electronic dance music. Hailing from Fort Lauderdale, FL and residing in Baltimore TT’s influences of Miami bass, Baltimore club and dance music has djs across the globes tuning in and spinning her records.
In 2013, Grammy award winning dj and producer Diplo caught wave of TT’s sound and featured her on his single “Dat A Freak.” On the heels of this achievement, Red Bull Music Academy took notice of TT’s musical talents and selected her as one of 20 artists to be a part of the Bonnaroo Music Bass Camp 2015. With two tours and performances at SxSW music festival and Coachella under her belt, TT’s vibrant, party starting cross between melodies and provocative raps is sure to paint a new spectrum of colors to the music scene.
dapperQ: When did you start performing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?
TT: When I was younger, I was always inspired by art. I used to sketch and draw every day after school. I was always a performer. It was in high school when I really begin to develop my artistic abilities. I joined the marching band and would have to perform in front of thousands of people. I also begin to write rhymes during my freshman year of high school. I use to rap everyday during lunch period with a friend of mine who was also my musical mentor at the time. What inspired me most to do music was I was respected through my voice. I am inspired by art and everyday life. The most ordinary thing can bring inspiration.
dapperQ: How has your work evolved?
TT: Touring and traveling to different countries and cities has really allowed my sound to diversify and evolve. I used to focus on traditional hip-hop rhythms at the beginning of my career. Today, I like to incorporate multiple genres of music in my productions. I also collaborate a lot more with fine artists, animators and producers from around the world. When I experience different cultures, I evolve as a person and that influences my creativity.
dapperQ: How would you describe your current musical style?
TT: I am a dance music artist well known for my bold and provocative club anthems. In the past, I was searching for my lane and voice. Now, I own my sound. I also rap and sing a little too. I don’t think an artist should ever limit their sound if they feel that there is potential to experiment with other musical genres. You never know what you will discover about yourself. Who you thought you were may not be who you really are suppose to be.
dapperQ: Where are you based out of? Do you feel that your city/region influences your style? If so, how?
TT: am presently based in Baltimore , MD. Baltimore is a major influence in my music. I do a style of music called “Baltimore club,” which is a break beat genre of music derived from hip hop and house music. It’s also a big part of the city soundscape and community. It’s more than just music; it’s a subculture very alive in Baltimore and now around the world.
via TT The Artist Facebook
dapperQ: What other artists are inspiring you right now?
TT: I am most inspired by hybrid artists who are creating brands on multidisciplinary platforms. Hip-hop icons such as Kanye West and Pharrell are building creative brands. They get it. They are not boxing themselves into one lane. Fine artists such as Jeff Koons and the late Andy Warhol are two very influential artists who mastered the art of business though making art. I want that for myself. I do music, but I am also an artist who works with a variety of mediums. I want to create films. I want to host my own art exhibits. I am working on expanding my market and getting into lifestyle branding.
dapperQ: Music and fashion have always been intertwined. Some of the biggest style icons have come from the music industry, from Gaga, Bowie, Madonna and Beyonce to Andre 3000, Joan Jett, Pharrell, and the Beatles. On the runway, the perfect song has the power to convey the aesthetic of a designer’s work. Alternatively, the perfect outfit or personal style has the power to convey the aesthetic of a musician’s work. How would you describe your personal style when it comes to fashion? Would you say it is influenced by your music? If so, how?
TT: Most recently, I have been created my own designs and customizing my own clothing to wear during my performances. I think it’s very important to find yourself in what you choose to wear. Image is everything in the entertainment industry and it’s one of the only industries where there are no rules or dress codes. My custom designed pieces are very colorful and inspired by pop art, culture, politics, advertising and messaging. I love to play with typography and word art.
dapperQ: Has your clothing style evolved over the years?
TT: I am beginning to understand the importance of style and how it relates to the way people perceive you. Earlier in the development of my career, I wasn’t as focused on my image. I was more concerned about making sure the quality of my music was good. So, now I am more into fashion and I think eventually that will be another market I will expand my brand to. My style has evolved in many ways. I have been all across the board in terms of trying new looks. I have done everything from short hair, tomboy-esque aesthetics to color wigs and spandex. I was never the type of artist to change my look up for the approval of others. I simply do what I feel.
via TT The Artist Facebook
dapperQ: Who are some of your fashion icons?
TT: I love Grace Jones. Her personality and overall swag is everything. I lovc Rihanna’s edginess. I fell in love with Lady Gaga in American Horror story. She was turning all types of slayed looks. I admire Jeremy Scott as a designer. Erykah Badu has such and amazing eccentric style. My friends also are my fashion icons.
dapperQ: What is the one article of clothing you cannot live without?
TT: I can’t live without My hats!
dapperQ: What can we expect next from you?
TT: I am gearing up for the release of my debut album Queen of the Beat. I am also heading on tour for the summer to promote the album. I am making new art, writing a film and designing clothes. More collaborations and creative visuals are on the way. It’s been a great year so far and I am just so humble and grateful for all the support!
*Feature image by Tamia Caly McCalip. Wardrobe Joshua Holloman. Jacket painted by TT The Artist.