Lighter side Tailor-made for R&B
THE FRAGILE rock genius that I thought was Tailor is not Tailor anymore. Sitting in front of me at a café in the artsy Joburg suburb of Parkhurst is a strong, assertive young woman who radiates positivity.
The angst, fear and darkness that characterised her album, appropriately called Dark Horse, has not necessarily disappeared, rather it has retreated. For now.
Her new album, aptly called Light, reflects this new Tailor.
“I am much lighter now,” she agrees, her green eyes shining with confidence.
Casting my mind back to the first time I met Tailor a few years ago, her eyes were anxious, fiercely intense, ready to pounce at any moment if threatened.
“I came to understand that I need to live in the now,” she says, explaining her newfound light.
“I was asked, ‘what is the longevity of this album?’ when I first began recording and I got scared. I became quiet and still in my own life. But it didn’t come immediately.
“This album was made in the now. That’s how I wrote it.”
Light is produced by Fabian Sing and her previous producer, Matthew Fink. She is very happy with the production. However, the music is a far cry from her initial release.
“It’s tailor-made for the music I was listening to at the time which is ’90s R&B and kwaito. I also got inspired by Ukhozi FM.”
A far cry from the US-inspired alternative rock scene she previously took her cue from.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean that the music is reflected on the album. It is definitely pop music. I guess every now and then you can hear a bit of tribal sounds. I certainly want to cross over to other markets with this album.”
Tailor had a light-bulb moment at this year’s South African Music Awards: “People like AKA, Mafikizolo and Black Coffee pitch up and win all the awards. I started wondering, ‘what are they doing right?’ I got out of my box…”
This new departure saw her collaborate with Just Music stablemates, Lcnvl: I learnt so much from them,” she says. “Anyway, I left the Samas feeling charged. I thought these artists were for a different market. I am not forcing the change. It is a truthful change. I even wrote a house track, but it wasn’t right for this album.”
What has remained of the old Tailor are the layers and textures of her songwriting. Like everything about her, the music is multidimensional and complex. Her fans should not be daunted by her new sound, because it is a logical and welcome progression from the reasons why we initially fell in love with her. The journey and the music has just got more interesting.