Picture a street scene with a group of friends hanging out, talking and laughing. In the midst of this camaraderie, they start freestyling and DJing. This is the sort of scene that inspired Tanya Stephens to get into the music business as she was one of those people who used to hang out on the street with friends doing freestyle songs.
To Tanya it was 'a hobby' that she enjoyed, but never really decided she wanted to be in the business. The hobby grew on her and then 'somewhere along the line, it just evolved into a career.'
Originally hailing from St. Mary in Jamaica, Tanya Stephens, born Vivienne Tanya Stephenson, grew up in St. Mary and Ocho Rios. Unwilling to reveal her age, she states she is 'sixteen plus a few.'
Her early influences came from 'every musician.' She listened to a wide variety of music, namely 'Smokey Robinson and Buddy Holly & The Crickets.'
Her fans must surely be grateful that DJing never stayed a hobby for Tanya as she turned it into a profession around 1993 when she recorded and released her first track that was included on a compilation album called 'Further East.' Her track was called 'Is This For Real.'
Although this first track did not catapult her directly into the public eye, her first album produced by Barry O'Hare on the X-Rated label gave her the publicity she needed. Called 'Big Tings A Gwan', the album and title track of the same name were popular during 1994.
Since then she has released two more albums entitled 'Hype Type'(1997) and 'Rough Rider'(1998). From these were spawned the hit songs 'Goggle', 'Big Ninja Bike' and 'Yuh Nuh Ready Fe Dis.'
Due to her writing most of her own lyrics, she needs ideas and gets these from 'everyday life' and her own experiences and those of others. This could account for the fact that a lot of her songs contain lyrics pertaining to women. There is a message in this as she feels she tries to 'bridge the gap between males and females.' The common saying that 'it's a man's world' is something she hopes to change stating 'if there's any way I can contribute to changing that myth, then I will do it.' However, although her music might pertain to women and changing the man's world myth, she does not target a set audience with her songs.
Photo courtesy of RudeGal.com
Garnering her popularity meant Tanya performed at all the major shows in and around Jamaica including Sumfest and Sting. She has worked with the likes of Bounty Killer and Lady Saw on duets and more recently with an up and coming artist, Real T.
She might not have done many collaborations with other artists, but Tanya has worked with a plethora of producers including Dave Kelly, Tony Kelly, Bobby Digital, Shocking Vibes and Jeremy Harding of Too Hard.
Producers have not been the end of the line in terms of variety, Tanya has also worked with most sound systems in a dancehall setting including Stone Love, Renaissance and Jaro. The latter being her favourite sound system although she listens to 'everybody and every sound.'
Currently, she is working on an album due for release through VP Records and has started producing herself for her own label Insomnia. She is working with other artists and plans to release singles as well as albums off her label. One person she is considering voicing as a singer for the label is Carlene, former Dancehall Queen.
Her accomplishments as a DJ give her a 'fulfilling feeling' due to being 'appreciated by so many people.' However, she advises her fans to 'get a job, a career', especially the younger female fans she has as she feels they are 'the best fans to give advice to.'
Her future plans see her working on her label to make it the best dancehall label and making 'the whole world insomniacs' like herself.
So, watch out people as this insomniac is aiming to spread the lack of sleep vibe to all through her music!
You can book Tanya Stephens by calling (Jamaica) 876 931 0973.