We had the good fortune of connecting with TeJah Gowins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi TeJah, how do you think about risk?
Taking risks and being in the music industry go hand in hand. Music is subjective, right, and our current industry is heavily influenced by relationships, numbers, and networking. As a creative you never know where your next burst of inspiration will come from, who or what group of people are going to connect to you and your art, or your longevity in your medium; therefore, every decision to put out music, send music to artists, and sacrifice sleep, finances, and social life is a constant risk you have to take towards progression – and not everyone is going to understand that. The important thing is that these are risks that potentially get eyes on you and get you into rooms with valuable people.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been a musician since I was about 3 or 4 years old. I took piano lessons up until I was good enough to read, play, and learn music by ear then I took a break to do my own thing. Throughout my years, I went on to play in every band and drumline I could, picking up clarinet, vocal techniques, and becoming a percussionist along the way. I went on to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where I fell in love with creating and producing music. At Berklee, I soaked up so much musical knowledge from so many dope musicians just by being in the vicinity. I think my musical upbringing is very telling of my approach to making music now. I pulled from all these specific experiences, different genres of music, and my love for hip hop and the South that in turn helped mold me into a producer and musician. It took some years to hone in on my sound and find the comfort and confidence in my beats to feel like I could be included in an ever-changing modern music industry, which is something you do hear often when music producers speak on the beginning stages of their careers. The key was to always just keep going. You’re going to have those times when you need to express yourself creatively and not have “hits”. There will be times when you don’t feel creative at all or times when ideas don’t come together the way you’d hoped they would. I would often turn to completely different hobbies to give my ears and brain time to reset, then come back to my ideas later.
I gave my shoutout to Big Boi for seeing and hearing that “something” in me early on. He created a space where my music was always welcomed and made the famous Stankonia Studios in Atlanta my studio haven.
In nurturing my passion, I’ve learned to allow my experiences and interests to set me a part from other creatives in my field. Musically, I find ways for appealing harmonies and enchanting melodies to bond with hard hitting drums, 808’s, and percussion that definitely remind you of the Dirty South. I’ve been called a “Quiet Storm” before, and that’s definitely a persona I can relate to within the music industry, especially as a woman in hip hop. I’m chill, swooping in unexpectedly, but hitting hard.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m a huge foodie… and so are my friends! So most of our outings will probably revolve around going to different Atlanta food gems for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert. We’ll have to do Toast on Lenox for brunch, people watch at The Battery over daiquiris, and then drink and play games at Punch Bowl Social. Slutty Vegan is a must! We’d walk the Beltline and stop by Guac & Margy’s for some good guacamole and strong margaritas. On a chill day we’d definitely catch a movie at IPIC Theater downtown and then shoot over to The Works’ food hall to explore the 25+ vendors and shops. Lately, The Battery has been an exciting place to be – there’s an activity for everyone, including numerous restaurants, bars, shopping, The Braves, and a movie theater.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shoutout Big Boi, one half of the Grammy award winning, legendary rap duo Outkast, for being one of the first influential people to see that “something” in me.