Artist Profile: Ms. Teaze talks female empowerment in hip-hop

This interview is part of a new series by CanCulture Magazine, called Artist Profiles. We reach out to underground Canadian artists all over the country to talk to them about their music, inspirations and future plans. We want to give them a voice and recognition for their work in the ever-changing landscape of the music industry. 

Photo by Erin Buhr.

Photo by Erin Buhr.

By Latoya Powell

Alberta-based hip-hop artist Ms. Teaze announced, during an interview with CanCulture, that she will be releasing a new album by the end of winter 2018.

Hailing from Red Deer, AB, the female lyricist has encouraged and empowered many people’s lives. In fall of 2015, Ms. Teaze released her debut mixtape titled Unity, Empowerment, Respect. Since then, she has performed at venues and music festivals such as; Edmonton Hip Hop Awards and the One Love Music Festival. Ms. Teaze has also been the opening act for many well-known artists such as Wu-Tang and Lloyd Banks, breaking barriers within the province’s hip-hop scene.

Check out CanCulture’s exclusive interview with Ms Teaze as she shares her journey, gratitude and message of unity, empowerment and respect.

Q: Why did you decide to start rapping?

A: "I was sitting in a chair in the basement, and I went into my brother's room. I grabbed the NAS CD, popped it in and Hate Me Now featuring P. Diddy came on. I kept on replaying that song over and over again, because I couldn’t believe how amazing it was. I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I want to be a rapper. This sounds so cool!' Then I started going for walks by myself and I would just freestyle while I was walking."

Q: How has being a female in the industry impacted your career?

A: "I love being a female in the industry. At first, I had to claw my way for respect. I asked one of the main DJs (to put) me on. When I did,  he was like “eh,  who are you? I’ve never heard about any female.” I (said), “Give me a chance! Give me a chance!” and he gave me a chance. There are not a lot of females in the industry, but I started to get the respect then the rest is history. It was great."

Q: What do you think is the highlight of your career, so far?

A: "There's so many great things that I’ve got to do. The highlight of my career was meeting and opening up for Jadakiss; that was pretty amazing. For years, I was talking about it [performing with Jadakiss] with my brother and he was like “no, they’ll never be allowed in Canada.” I’ve liked him since I was 15. My brother got me into him.  I phoned (my brother) and I said “guess what?  Your sister is opening up for D-block.” It was such a special moment in my career. I’ve been so blessed like, it’s unbelievable."

Q: How would you describe your image?

A: "My image is, I’ll wear whatever the hell I want. In fact, I was performing at the Hip-Hop Awards in Edmonton last year. Everyone was dressed to the nines and I’m like, “you know what? …” I took my shoes off and I performed on stage with my shoes off. I do not care what people think! I feel comfortable in an Adidas sweat suit or a white t-shirt and black pants. You’ll never see me dress, you know?  … just so sexy. Not to degrade anything of what’s going on. But I do see female artists in the industry that are a lot bigger (and) they (choose) to sell their bodies a little bit and I will never do that. That’s just not who I am. But I need a pair of nice fresh kicks; that’s my favourite!"

Q: What kind advice would you give to women who are in a male dominated industry?

A: "I have my CD that I’ve released it’s called Unity, Empowerment, Respect. That is just so powerful to me - unity empowerment and respect. I believe that women in this industry need to really be themselves. I always say be unique, be yourself and be somebody. Those are three that I think are powerful. Be yourself - don't wake up in the morning and act like someone else because this industry can kill you. Being a female too, there are males that are getting jealous; you have to kind of see that and say, "Hey I’m not out here trying to dominate you or anything like that. Let’s work together." Unity, right? I’ve been so blessed to get the respect that I want in this game."

Q: In some of your songs you talk about overcoming insecurities, difficult relationships and situations. What is something you are most proud to have overcame and why?

A: "Music has saved my life and it’s just such a powerful message. If I didn't have music, I wouldn't know where I would be. I’ve overcome lots of things. My life is not a walk in the park. I have seen things that people wouldn't even believe, but I have music as my outlet. That is my safe spot, because nobody can take that away from me. That’s why music is such a strong passion for me. You can break up with me, you can take my belongings, my home and (I can) lose a job, but you cannot take my voice away, unless you take my voice box. That’s the one thing musicians have and no one can take that away from them."

Photo by Erin Buhr

Photo by Erin Buhr

Q: What is your favourite song, published or unpublished, and why?

A: "I really like my song Last Laugh. I released it a couple years ago and it’s powerful to me. I got out of a long term relationship with my first love. I wrote that song right after and even today I’m inspired by my own music, which is kind of rare. A lot of people have came up to me and (said), “Your music has helped me.” That's why I make music, for people to be inspired and kind of relate to me."

Q: What’s next for you? 

A: "December 1st I am opening up for Sean Kingston and that’s going to be a great show in Red Deer, my hometown. I’m (also) releasing a CD. I can’t wait! I already have the name for it and I’m not going to get too much into it. But I’m going to take my time on it[CD] because I feel like I can take my time. I have enough respect to fall off for a few months and just come back. I want to take my time and get it out by February. Be on the lookout for my new CD."

Q: Anything else you want people to know?

A: "You can do anything you set your mind to. If you have a passion please follow it. Depression is so out there right now, it's unbelievable. Find a passion, stick to it and work hard."