Tahira Clayton

Vocalist. Song-Writer. Activist. Educator

Wait, Till Now

Hey there! Thank you for stopping by and checking in with me!

Summer 2017 has proved itself to be one for the books, a season I will surely never forget. 

As my teaching schedule slowed down for the summer I have traveled and continue travel quite a bit as a vocalist for the Band Method's Broadway Project Band. Traveling and performing with this group is an endeavor that challenges me musically and physically; all done with great fun! I look forward to joining this group in Bermuda in October of this year. 

In June,  I traveled to Washington D.C. with frequent collaborators and friends, AMP Trio (Addison Frei, Matt Young, Perrin Grace) to participate in the 2nd Annual D.C. Jazz Prix, affiliated with the D.C. Jazz Festival. We were one of three groups, the other groups being SULA from New York City and the Ernest Turner Trio from North Carolina, who performed for an audience at the University of D.C. as well as a panel of judges. After experiencing some moving performances, AMP Trio and I were honored to have received first prize of the D.C Jazz Prix. We were rewarded $15,000 and a year long professional development partnership with the D.C. Jazz Festival. AMP Trio and I will also return to Washington D.C. in June 2018 to perform on the main stage of the D.C Jazz festival. 

Later, in July, I traveled to Southhampton, Ontario, Canada for a week to adjudicate the vocal jazz division of the Southampton Summer Music Camp. This experience proved to be inspiring and challenging, helping spawn ideas to create a curriculum for vocalists who have been introduced to vocal jazz, but are just now rediscovering it later in life. I had the pleasure of working with 6 Canadian jazz singers, diving into concepts of improv, lyric interpretation and delivery, and leading a band. This group of singers performed with the entirety of the jazz camp, run by renowned educator, Mike Grace at the end of camp concert. 

After teaching in Canada, I returned to the bustling life of New York City, and geared up for a fun photoshoot with photographer, Dana Melaver. Dana is a phenomenal artist, capturing things on film I did not know was possible. The overall theme of this photoshoot was "brave proud skin," showcasing a bunch of different looks that I feel most confident in, and have grown to love. I've felt previously that I couldn't look, 'too glam," because it was "wrong" for my "genre," but didn't ever want to look or feel frumpy. I also realized I am just freaking tired of labels and having to adhere to them. I didn't want to have photos that looked stagnant: I wanted the shots to embody a new found confidence in my self, art, and style. From my wild "mind of its own' natural hair, to the more subdued head wrap I often find myself in while writing and singing, to the bright pops of colors, Dana captured my personality in a fun, funky, fashionable, and honest way. I particularly enjoyed working with Dana because of her editing style, which is very simple: if it can't be changed by make-up or light, it stays. The photos were enhanced by the beautiful make-up artistry of BP Carmouche, and styling by fellow singer/songwriter and fashionista Sarah Kervin. All of the photos on my website (unless noted) are courtesy of Dana Melaver. 

While preparing for the shoot, I was also getting things in place for my show at the Bitter End. This was to be a special show because of a big announcement I'd been holding on to for a little while!

The warmest thank you to everyone who came out to our show  at Bitter End!  I can't tell you how much the support means to me to. This legendary venue has provided a stage for Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield, Bob Dylan, Barbara Streisand, Lady Gaga and more. How incredible that I was able to play my own original music in such a storied venue. A special shoutout to the guys in my band: Addison Frei, Aidan Carroll, Andrew Renfroe, and Curtis Nowosad who brought warmth, beauty, innovation, and energy to the music. 

As promised, the BIG !*&%$@!* announcement dropped, and here it is...

My first solo record is set to come out in October 2018! I am so excited to share this project with you all. The creative process has been and continues to be so fun and inspiring. I'm pretty freakin' stoked to record my original tunes (something I haven't done yet!)

While the record itself is indeed a big announcement the bigger announcement is that, I NEED YOUR HELP! Being an independent artist is beautiful, however, the hard realities are that producing and sharing a project on a large scale is an incredibly expensive endeavor. I do not want finances to be a factor contributing to the delay of sharing, so because of that, I ask you to please donate!

If you get the chance, swing by my GoFundMe donation page to learn more about my newest project: "Wait, Till Now.” If so moved, please donate! Donating is not limited to just financial gifts, but through sharing the page  with friends and liking posts, too! Donations can be made here.  

Now that August is just about over, I am back to planning and creating new curriculum for the young music makers of New York City. I continue to hold teaching positions at both the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and Bach to Rock, specializing in contemporary choral music as well as private voice/piano lessons and early childhood music. I look forward to all of these interactions and the music that these remarkable experiences will inspire. 

As always, thank you for stopping by to check up on what I've been up to! There are a few irons in the fire that I am excited to share with you soon. Check back often to stay updated on the "Wait, Till Now," project and for more updates on my gigs and teaching appearances!