The work of Toronto multi-disciplinary artist TEA melds visual and sonic aesthetics from far-flung corners for inspiration, but her video for "NINETY FIVE" definitively proves her pop music cred. It's an ode to the year of Tragic Kingdom and Clueless with its pastel visuals and Stefani-esque outfits and it's also a tribute to the net-rap of the early 2010s through its Japanese kana subtitles. Even if it didn't have a clip, the song's delightful, based around TEA's sighing hook, and the Toronto-shot video really shows how the city comes alive in warmer months. Watch the "NINETY FIVE" video below and read on for our interview with TEA, in which we figured out the story behind the nostalgia.
Noisey: How'd you get your start in music?
TEA: If you can picture a little girl with her young father idolizing Fresh Prince of Bel-Air everyday, and then running to her bedroom to play her Sean Paul CD whilst staring at her Pharrell poster, that was me. As I got older, being in competitive dance helped me come out of my shell. I've since learned to love the stage like it was my divine decree, and the highly imaginative part of me started obsessing over a life of music, film, and all that feathery stuff. I decided to throw myself into the arts and embrace and learn anything that came into my hands. I danced professionally, choreographed productions, artistically directed, modelled and styled in fashion weeks, and had a hand in photo and videography. Living in the background and educating myself was beautiful but it was time to finally come out and share my fantasy, my world which I had been curating for all these years.
What's the story behind the making of "NINETY FIVE"?
"NINETY FIVE" is a song that was created in a basement in about 20 minutes. I heard this beat, fell in love with the real 90s vibe, and wrote the first thing that came to me. Hearing the instrumentals made me smile so I wanted the song to be light and fun. I grew up dancing around the living room with my father to Tupac and all that good 90s hip hop, so embodying a feeling of 1995 was a goal for this track. Lyrically, I came up with my own story, that I was this bleached blonde girl from a small town, heading down the coast to L.A., confident as hell because all I ever heard was my mama telling me how great I am, and singing "I bet you'd love me, love me, love."
What was the inspiration behind the video?
I conceptualized the video off of the 90s theme of the song, and I just wanted to create vibes and capture them. I wanted to catch moments of people and places that gave me the essence of that time with a little twist of my own style. I wanted it to be pretty chill, and just make people smile! My friend owns some pretty beautiful cars, and a lot of the Toronto community came together to help make this happen which was really beautiful to be a part of.
Photo by the artist and David Forteau.
Phil is a Noisey staff writer. He's on Twitter.