“Some people like to sing or want to sing.” says Hartford, CT-based Capsicum CEO and A&R Director Roger Meltzer, “but Tashina McKenzie needs to sing. It is the very air she breathes.”
“I didn’t ask for this talent,” says Kingston singer-songwriter-performer Tashina. “It was given to me for a reason. I believe it is to inspire the hearts of people worldwide just as others before me have done. The way i see it, I’ve got nothing to lose; this is my passion. I believe I have a message to impart to others through my music, i believe it is one of the main purposes i am alive and on-earth today.
“Ever since i was a little girl, I always used to always pretend that I was a superstar like the ones in the music videos I used to watch. I would make-believe I’m onstage with my mop stick as my microphone or with my hair brush in front of the mirror.
“A lot of people kept telling me I have really good voice — my friends and even people I didn’t now.. At school, at home, I was always the entertainer; people would pay me to do songs for them and crowds would gather around me. Sometimes while at school, I used to skip class” and go into the bathroom and put on mini stage shows; teachers would put me up to do songs at devotions and special school functions. I was always singing, every day, all the time.”
Co-written by Meltzer with his former Philadelphia International Records/Sound of Philadelphia staff mentor Bruce Hawes and the late Capsicum artist Sal Anthony, and co-produced by Meltzer, Osborne “Ifield” Joseph and Joseph Everton “Reality Weekes, the track features the incomparable Derrick Barnett or bass and George Ziegler on lead guitar. It was originally released as a fusion of r&b, funk and smooth jazz with Anthony on the lead vocal and Elan Trotman on tenor sax.
Tashina’s international influences were Maria Carey, Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton and Celine Dion and, in Jamaica, Bob Marley, Shaggy, Beenie Man and Diana King.
“This fantasy stuck with me throughout my childhood years and continued into my teens. I started writing songs by age 12, and I actually did my first recording at the age of 15 at the Tuff Gong Recording Studio in Kingston.
In 2005 the death of her older brother Romeo McKenzie impacted her greatly. She wrote a song about it entitled Scared and Terrified. With the melody in her head, although it wasn’t until 2008 that an official recording was done.
“Since then, I never stopped writing songs and I never stopped singing, I couldn’t; it has always been my saving grace, when I’m down I sing to lift me up, and when I’m up, singing keeps me up. It is and always has been my comfort and my special friend nobody can ever take away. I sing every day and every chance I get.”
In 2007 Tashina made her first step to starting a career in music when she entered the Digicel Rising Stars competition talent show with over a thousand contestants. She placed in the top ten and in the finals, 6th. This exposure gave her national recognition and exposed her talent to many new fans, including, the internationally renowned song writer and music producer and Grafton Studios owner Mikie Bennett, who took an interest in her music career.
Tashina became a part of the Grafton Music Family where she learned about the music business and was groomed and tailored to become an industry professional, and It was there she finally recorded Scared and Terrified along with a number of other singles such as Naw Lef and Concerned Citizen which features Queen Ifrika and also Naughty Eyes featuring Nicky B. In 2010, she recorded several EDM songs with a producer in France. DJ Blue. Have Some Fun and Bad Gal Whine were featured on the album “Caribbean Spirit” receiving a lot of attention and heavily rotated on radio to help popularize the name Tashina in France.
In 2012 she entered the Jamaica Song Festival competition celebrating Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence with an original song entitled Jamaica Beat Dem Bad. She won second place and also walked away with sectional prizes for ”Best Performer” and “Top Favorite” in the voting polls. In 2015, she entered Magnum Kings and Queen Dancehall Talent competition and made it to the semi-finals in a nationally televised show which gave her even more exposure and popularized her original song Naw Lef.
By then, her recording craft and performance artistry were fully developed, working with producers like Dean Fraser and Patrick Roberts, and having done over 20 singles inclusive of covers and collaborations with top acts such as Merciless and Sizzla Kalonji. It was this body of work that first brought her to attention of the Hartford, CT, USA-based indie Capsicum Records.
“I have decided to give it my all, everything I’ve got. I’m not giving up, I am going to claim what is mine, she says confidently.
Today, Tashina has earned the respect of many top musicians, producers and artists, radio DJs and some of the best ears in the industry.
Says Meltzer, “Follow her, watch her, join her as she fulfills her musical destiny.”