Tafari (pronounced Ta-far-eye) Anthony is a Toronto based artist whose music blends Pop, R&B and Soul. He is an artist who embodies the spirit of the modern musician. Not just a musician, but a creator. Known for his sleek vocal tones, sultry melodies and music which oozes with personality, Tafari leaves listeners in awe – somewhat apt considering his name means “He who inspires awe”.
His influences range from artists like Prince and John Legend, to more contemporary artists like Lennon Stella and Charlie Puth, among others. Often described as a mix of Sam Smith and MNEK, Tafari creates deeply emotional songs that resonate across generations. “All of these artists are creating music that is pop in its own right, but also so different from each other”, shares the musician.
Having taken a break from music in 2018 to focus on creating new material which explored his own personal soundscape, Tafari returned early 2020 with the release of his pop anthems, “Centerfold” and “Live in a Dream.” Now he unveils the full six-track EP The Way You See Me, a collection of songs with Tafari following his true vision despite people’s hesitation. He confides, “When I think of this project and what it took to get here I can’t help but remember the challenges. I had spent about a year chasing and begging people to work with me. To no avail, I spent that year living off of “yeah totally, I’ll get back to you”, and of course they never did. I knew I had the vision in me, and was fed up with trying to challenge the way they saw me. My previous work may not have fit into what’s “cool”, I was this thick black gay man doing this thing that wasn’t contemporary R&B, but yet I oozed soul from my voice.”
Having found influence in female powerhouse vocalists such as Seinabo Sey, King Princess and Alicia Keys, Tafari delivers a classic vibe, but through a modern approach. The Way You See Me sees Tafari being unapologetically himself. “I feel as though this whole process has been about challenging the way people see me. Breaking the stereotype of it was really about not getting stuck in my precious work and being free to explore the various facets of me. It was about being open and honest about my stories, and quite frankly owning my queerness in my way, and again not cater to what kind of queer people wanted me to be.
Tafari has seen success with his music garnering acclaim from the likes of PAPER Magazine, Gay Times, Billboard Pride and MTV to name a few. He has been nominated for a Toronto Independent Music Award and receives regular airplay on CBC Radio, with one of his singles being named one of CBC’s Most Influential Songs of 2016. The singer has also performed alongside Shangela (RuPaul’s Drag Race) and has performed at Toronto’s Dundas Square and Massey Hall.