Brooklyn based singer Tangina Stone isn’t one to hide her emotions. In her debut full-length album, Elevate, Tangina is vulnerable and honest about her mental illness (“Anxious”) and the issue of racism and incarceration of black men (“Black Boy”), and that’s only a small part of the (sometimes difficult to talk about) topics that Tangina tackles in her work.
It was no surprise that Tangina took a unique, poetic, spin on our Women in Music series. Keep reading to know about her relationship with music and the place she calls home, New York City.
Sometimes I feel like I am in an abusive relationship with New York City.
It can be hard on one’s soul.
It can be hard on one’s mind.
I constantly have to reassure myself of my strength and capabilities. But when I think about this and when I think about where I’ve come from, I think about the lack of opportunities that my peers back in my hometown have. Then I have to ask myself: Who is using who? I soak up every bit of opportunity that I can in this city. I come from a place where there is little to none and so this makes me feel guilty at times. Survivor’s guilt? GUILTY about making progress and GUILTY when I complain about the difficulties of making more. I carve out doors in places meant to be walls. I breathe art and share breath with people who breathe and exhale art as well.
But sometimes.. And only sometimes…
This city beats me down. I try not to succumb to it. Don’t we all?
I’ve been homeless here. Lost here. Found here. Hungry here. Mentally ill here. IT CAN BREAK PEOPLE DOWN. And then build us up, just to break us down once more. It teaches me. Hell, it teaches everyone. The world is always watching.
The truth is that there is no place that inspires or hurts me more. It breaks my heart but I write songs about these heartbreaks. And oh do these songs take me places. Places that I would never be without this city. Am I using and abusing this city? Or is it using and abusing every other artist that devotes lifetimes and entire bodies of work to it? Are we gluttons for punishment or are we privileged as hell. To be here. To breathe here.
What a time to be alive and inspired in New York City. Ain’t I a black, queer, womxn screaming “me fuckin too,” taking over stages, exceeding expectations, and forcing venues to make room for my presence on their stages, my name on their rosters. I have the audacity to live my truth and nothing but it.
Sometimes I feel like I am in an abusive relationship with New York City. Like I am being torn to shreds by the stress it causes me and the rent that just won’t go down. But in the end, I am grateful to be alive here. I am grateful to thrive here. To create community. To join communities. To be. To learn. To always get back up again, in New York City.