TSHA: 'I don't fully believe in manifestation but I do think that writing things down has made a lot of my goals just happen'
- Kate Walker
- 11 October 2019
credit: Kiran Gidda
London-based producer reflects on her hectic summer and upcoming second EP, Moonlight
Back in May 2018, TSHA wrote down a plan for her career as a musician. Her goals included 'decide artist name' and 'DJ festivals'. Right at the top was 'make a three track EP', and 'release music on a good label' was on the '3 year' branch of her wishlist mindmap. An 18-month whirlwind later, and the London-based producer has ticked off every one of these goals and more. We caught up with TSHA the day after she got home from a hectic summer playing festivals, as she finally had some time to recover and reflect on her rapid ascension through the electronic music ranks.
TSHA's first EP, Dawn, was self-released in August 2018, and caught the ears of many, including of Bonobo (her idol) who then included her single 'Sacred' on his Fabric Presents compilation. Excitement about her music snowballed, with residencies on Worldwide FM and guest slots on Rinse FM, quickly leading TSHA to a manager and a deal with her favourite record label, Ninja Tune. 'It was like a chain reaction,' says TSHA, 'I don't fully believe in, like, manifestation, or anything like that, but I do think that writing things down has made a lot of my goals just kind of happen? I think it makes you apply yourself more, and it becomes solidified in your mind.' The momentum continued and in August this year TSHA announced her second EP, Moonlight, and released her single 'Moon', a bassy, melodic groove, crammed with breakbeats and catchy steel drum samples.
TSHA's journey with music started when her mum refused to buy her decks for her 16th birthday (the ones she had bought for her brother ended up neglected). After dropping out of a university degree in urban dance, she realised that DJ gear was becoming more affordable, and began mixing hip hop and getting her first gigs. When she realised that she wanted to break into the electronic scene more seriously, she pursued it with relentless determination, taking short courses in production and getting piano lessons to aid her understanding of music theory. 'You have to be able to write properly and understand what you're doing in order to put a track together, and you only get that from playing an instrument.'
TSHA tells me that distinctive visual artwork has always been important to her, and on all of her releases to date she has collaborated with artist Luna Martins. By sharing moodboards of her interests and musical influences, the pair created the fantastical cartoon characters that accompany her tunes. 'For the Dawn EP, it was this kind of journey idea, I wanted it to be "out of this world" – not human. The character's basically like an adventurer, but they're travelling through space and time. With 'Moon' … it sounds so cheesy, but at the time I was thinking a lot about the third eye, so that's the kind of image we came up with.'
Having smashed all her long-term goals well ahead of schedule, TSHA is now setting new aims, which include an album, and putting her new skills to good use by touring a live show. Her meteoric rise has undoubtedly been down to her ambitious determination and talent for making fresh, original music. Yet TSHA is keen to emphasise the part played by luck in her story so far: 'a lot of people don't realise that anyone could do this. I'm not trying to be all hippy or preachy, but I just want people to not ever be disheartened or to give up on their own projects if they're taking a little bit longer or if things aren't happening, because I've just been in the right places at the right times.'
Moonlight is out Fri 15 Nov via Counter Records.