Exactly one year ago today, Tiana Major9 was celebrating her first top 10 R&B single on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart for “Collide” featuring EARTHGANG.
This evening at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, the Benny Cassette-produced track is in a tight race to win Best R&B Song.
It’s hard to believe that the London native had reservations about recording the song. While she didn’t pen the age-old love song herself, Major9 was persuaded to sing it for a few reasons.
“The lyrics and melody resonated with me,” Major9 tells Rated R&B. “Olu’s voice was also beautiful. I had to lay my magic on it.”
“Collide” appeared on the Queen & Slim soundtrack, as well as last year’s At Sixes and Sevens. The acclaimed project was dubbed one of Rated R&B’s 30 best R&B albums of 2020. It’s an honor that fills Major9 with much gratitude.
“I feel blessed that people are enjoying the music that I make. You can never predict how you will be received,” she says.
One particular reason her music affects listeners in such an authentic way is that she is not afraid to be openhanded in her vulnerable songwriting approach. “Music is my release. If I’m feeling something, it needs to go into a song,” she says.
Though Major9 grew up in East London, discovering R&B and other forms of Black entertainment from other parts of the world wasn’t unfamiliar. It helped that she had Sade Adu to look up to as a resident songbird hero.
She recently covered “The Sweetest Taboo,” one of the biggest hits from the iconic band named after Adu. It was a no-brainer for Major9 to remake the song.
“Sade is a Black British icon. She’s a global superstar, which is something I’m working on becoming,” she says.
Major9 is well on her way to making herself a household name. It’s a career that she has longed for as long as she can remember. She made a point to pursue music full time after she realized “looking for part-time work and balancing my music career got boring.”
What’s not been unexciting for Major9 is her love for collaborating. She recently joined Lucky Daye for “On Read,” from his duets-driven project Table for Two. She wasn’t aware Daye had his eyes on releasing an EP, but she’s happy for the opportunity to duet.
“We got in the studio one spontaneous night and created a great song that happened to fit the vibe of his project,” she says. “I’m a huge fan of his, so it means the world that he would put me on his EP with other amazing women in music.”
With all the growing success she has had up to this point, Major9 reveals the biggest change has been her team’s growth.
“It just used to be my manager that I would talk to about music. I have to talk to more people now than I’m used to, and as an introvert, it can be a lot. Everyone around me is there to help me elevate, though, so it’s not bad, just new,” she says.
March is Women’s History Month, and Major9 finds herself applauding Jazmine Sullivan, Lauryn Hill, and the late Amy Winehouse as women in music who’ve inspired her to be an emotionally honest artist.
These days, Major9 has her sights set on taking over the world with more “[new] music, new visuals and hopefully tour once they open outside up again.”
If you’re anything like us, then you’re equally as excited for the next move in Major9’s promising future.