Simone Richardson talks to Teshay Makeda about her musical influences.
Born and raised in Clapham with a musician dad from Jamaica and her mum, a singer from St. Vincent, Teshay Makeda grew up in a very musical household.
Both parents are Rastafarians. Teshay means Queen of Sun and she brings sunshine to everyone that hears her sing.
“I discovered I actually could sing when I was about seven years old,” she says. “I was doing shows in the community and would sing songs in the school choir. I knew I could do something which I enjoyed and others did too.”
Reggae was naturally a big influence for her. “My Dad was one of the music leaders of my youth, with a group of us who were in bands where some sang and others played instruments,” says Teshay.
“I was performing reasonably regularly and singing lots of reggae music, which, as I look back, I realise kept me really grounded.”
A record that really made an impact on her was one her Dad brought home – Aijuswanaseing (say it out loud) by Musiq Soulchild.
“It changed my life and it was soul I had never heard before,” she says of the November 2000 release.
Teshay’s inspirations include Bob Marley, Erykah Badu, and Lauryn Hill. Others connected to the “uplift” of her own voice are Chronixx and Janelle Monáe.
She says “Using my voice in a way to share messages is MessenJah. I have been so blessed to perform.”
Look out for her in Brixton listings.
Teshay is now referred to as The Empress of Roots Soul and is going to be out there – big time – as her voice is a blessed gift.