THE LUCKY ONE
A Spotlite on Musician TECLA
By Lori Zimmer
I usually hate going to see bands and singers I’ve never heard of. Maybe I’m just a creature of musical habit, but it takes a lot for me to look up from the bar or break in conversation to capture my attention with unfamiliar music. So, I was pleasantly surprised when legs subconsciously took me to the middle of the dancefloor during Tecla’s performance at the RECESS Art‘s benefit earlier this summer. A little bit dance, little bit funk, dashed in with rap and with a heavy tropical flavor, I really couldn’t help it, and danced as if every song was my favorite. Constantly pushing her own musical boundaries, her music feels fresh yet comforting, creating a sound that defies just one genre.
Lori Zimmer: Where have you been, where are you going as an artist?
Tecla: I have been where my ancestors have been and I am going where no one has gone before.
LZ: When you aren’t writing music/producing/playing the piano, where can we find you?
T: Traveling, gardening, practicing yoga, dancing, participating in Native American sweat hut ceremonies, or perhaps haitian voodoo ceremonies, collecting antiques, biking, running, spending time any given beach or body of water, sipping cocktails, basically BROOKLYN.
LZ: Favorite place in New York to see a performance? To spend a Thursday night? To get a drink?
T: Performances are most fun in the least expected venues. I have recently performed and experienced a few amazing shows at The Flat in Williamsburg, one of my new favs. I like Thursday nights at Tutu’s in Bushwick, down the block from my house, so we can all stumble home with no worries…
LZ: Your latest album We are the Lucky Ones came out earlier this year. It feels personal, and almost like a collage to me- what were your influences and inspiration when writing the album?
T: Life is my influence and inspiration. This body of work is the culmination of my life experiences from childhood to present day. The lyrics and emotion of my music are comprised of painful, confusing, unique experiences stemming back to spending months and months in Haiti with my interracial family (something rare and strange for everyone in Haiti and America alike back in the 80s), going to a predominantly white private school, experimenting with various drugs at the extremely young age of 13 and throughout high school, falling in and out of love, heartbreak, broken friendships, judgement, self-doubt, basically the road to becoming the positive scorpion I have always wanted to be as opposed to the bitter scorpion I fear I have the tendency to be.
LZ: I first caught you when you performed at the Recess Art benefit,do you feel that visual arts and music should intersect more?
T: I feel that as a musical artist, I am also a visual artist. This might not be true for everyone but it is certainly true for me, which makes me believe that any performer, even someone who wears the same tank top and jeans for every single show, is creating a visual art piece with every performance. With the visual art that you surround yourself with, you create a halo of energy everywhere you go, and that is what people judge you by sometimes more than for your actual music.
LZ: Do you think New York is a good/fostering/inspirational place to come up as a female musician?
T: It has been a wonderful experience growing up and developing my career in New York City, however if I hadn’t lived here all my life I might have felt differently. New York City is beautiful and dynamic as well as ugly and cutthroat. If you want to make it here you have to fight. It is not necessarily the city that will crush your soul, but your own fear.
LZ: What did you do today?
T: I took a tiny motor boat to an obscure island off the Coast of Southern Haiti. So there!
LZ: Where will we see you next?
T: BROOKLYN BABY! Rockwood Music Hall 8/29 FREE show and live taping for all my lovers to come see and support.
Tecla Esposito is a Brooklyn-based writer, producer, singer, and keyboardist.
Written by Lori Zimmer
Photography by Jonathan Grassi
Design by Marie Havens
Tecla at home in Brooklyn, June 17, 2013, Photography by Jonathan Grassi
Clothing & Accessories:
Pages 1-3: Styled & Provided by Tecla
Necklace, Pages 2 & 3: Necklace by Nettie Kent; Styled by Tecla