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beauty is pop culture // sex rules the world 

  • Ennie Fakoya.

A Celebration of Girlhood: Tancia’s ‘Flowers’ Wants You to Blossom.

Updated: Apr 4

Photography,Lighting & Creative Direction: Mary Ngwu @maryngwu_ Lighting assistant: Alex José Sievers

From Choir to Chart-Toppers: NIGHTSTAND explore Tancia's Journey Through Music and Girlhood.

Tancia, a singer-songwriter born in London and raised in Switzerland, is ready for Spring. She wore bright-coloured clothes on a rainy day to welcome the new season, and her new track ‘Flowers’.

As she delves into how her love for music came about, it’s obvious that there was no end or beginning. She has always been a musician. Her father's influence set her up for a career in music, from organising concerts to bringing her backstage to see the artists.

She was adept at singing, and, like most young Black musicians, she sang in her church’s choir. “The good thing about church is that you have to show up once or twice a week. You have to go to rehearsal, and that all leads up to Sunday.” In forming this kind of routine, she was also showing up for herself.

Tancia had the advantage of knowing her way around music at a younger age. It helped her work through the technicalities of the craft whilst maintaining what she believed to be the core of a good singer; “Have a good ear for music and to listen to others.”

The Immigrant experience is often focused on a need to prove technicality. More rules, and papers, less love for talent. 

“I had this stage in my life where I wanted to go to the music conservatory. I still remember the open day when you could go and visit the school and sit in on classes. The class I was gonna go to was just full of white kids that looked like their souls had been sucked away from them. I just thought to myself, there's no way I'm going to explore music here.”

Flowers, Tancia’s most recent release, is her way of exploring heartache. The song was a very personal track; “it was a heartbreak. And I just had to get it out. When I found this beat that my friends made, it just worked perfectly for everything I had to say. That's how it came about. Through a relationship that hurt me.” She says with a laugh.

The song’s dream-like quality was born for Spring. With airy backing vocals and orchestral melodies, it was the perfect recipe for music that asks you to listen to yourself, what you need and what you have to let go of.

The title of the track, 'Flowers', became what it is now for several reasons; “The original beat my friend made is called Flowers and my name comes from the word Hortensia, meaning hydrangea. It seemed to me that this song was the first time that I let myself bloom on a track like that and in a music video where everything's DIY, I was figuring things out as I went.”

The permanence of intentional naming was important for Tancia. She doesn't know many people with that name, and its singularity gives her the power to represent her blossoming in her style of music.

Photography,Lighting & Creative Direction: Mary Ngwu @maryngwu_ Lighting assistant: Alex José Sievers

This self-fulfilling prophecy has stemmed from a place where Tancia uses her music to release. Flowers is a song about questioning; in all her music, Tancia is trying to unveil those emotions. “By getting it out, it eventually turns into ‘oh, this is what I accomplished with it’. And now I can move on.”

Similar to the dream-like beat, the sound bite at the song's beginning was also created by the producer; “Flowers symbolise the ability to transform time and space.”

In the video, Tancia's background stays the same as she goes from one outfit to another, from doing her makeup to eating food. She's going through the motions of this experience and her roots never change. It's where we go back to.

Some would argue that experiencing girlhood is being exposed to several forms of heartbreak. The song is presented as a dialogue in one form but it manifests itself in most parts of our existence. This idea of exposure shines through in the visual as much as it does in the lyrical.

“When I thought of the music video, I looked at the concept of how throughout history, people used photo booths as a way to self reflect, because it was one of the first cameras that people could use to take pictures of themselves before we had smartphones, before everything else."

The journey of this self-expression, looking at and into yourself is prominent but can also be harrowing. We break the fall of having to face ourselves by laughing about it, romanticising it, and regardless of what others say, it’s an effective way to understand what you’re made of. 

Photography,Lighting & Creative Direction: Mary Ngwu @maryngwu_ Lighting assistant: Alex José Sievers

Girlhood is a complicated experience for Black women and Tancia’s energy and willingness to have fun is what we need more of.

The song has resonated, with plays on the NTS radio show turned travelling arts club Palm Wine Club, a recent feature on the French media platform Konbini's list for new releases alongside names like Olivia Rodrigo and Tyla, a collaborative pop-up with Jen’s Plants and Florist in Brick Lane, the song's impact is getting the recognition it deserves.

The internet-inspired visual style relates to the attitudes of many young adults who are turning to nostalgia for their moments of fun. Crafting the perfect HTML codes for your Tumblr page in 2015, in the solace of your poster-ridden bedroom. We crave this kind of intimacy, this extreme display of individuality.

There is, however, this pressure to be online every waking moment. As a former marketer, Tancia notes that she feels like making music is more of a business at times, which was to be expected, but if she had to choose, she would find inspiration through her own carved corners of the internet.

“I don't enjoy posting on social media like that. But I still remember when I was younger and the Internet was my safe space.” Tancia regards Pinterest as the centre of this safe space, her “green grass of the internet. It’s my park.” 

"I was just looking for images that I related to; memes and things I find funny. Things that remind me of my mental health and what I've gone through and what have to keep going through and I had this big mood board, so I just chose the ones that resonated the most in the moment.”

There are facets to this song that will speak to those who are heartbroken and those whom we probably haven't found yet, and its timeless sound will speak not just to the heartbroken, but to everyone trying their best to figure things out. 

 Are you passionate about exploring the intricate worlds of beauty, sex, fashion, wellness, and culture? Do you belong to a marginalized community and have unique perspectives and stories to share? If so, Nightstand Service is eagerly seeking contributing writers like you! Get in touch:


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