Singer/songwriter, Timotha Lanae from Minneapolis is doing what she loves and getting paid. Her debut album Red, combines her many passions.
Tell us about your album.
Red is a culmination of all those things I love: music, dancing, acting, musical theatre, and performing as a recording artist. I started doing musical theatre professionally about 7 years ago. I’ve written a musical called Reddington, which introduces a character called Eva Reddington. She’s in the video, Talking with Myself.
I feel like I have two sides to me, dual sides of Timotha Lanae, the musical theatre performer, actress and recording artist. I put that character in the video as a way to bridge that gap.
You’ve got a lot going on, what rules do you live by to keep momentum?
That’s a good question. I guess my top rules would be, I try to keep my relationship with God in as best shape as possible.
I really focus on my health so I can feed this vessel, which embodies my voice, my brain and keeping my love of life through relationships with my family. The love I have for music and creating it is what keeps me focussed.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m one of those people who has always loved music and singing. My mum tells me that even as a baby I was singing in the crib.
I’ve always been musical and always had to perform. As a little girl I would get my cousins, sisters and friends together and say let’s put on a show, let’s make a dance, a song, let’s do a performance.
That’s always been my recreation so I feel blessed now that I can do it and make a living from it. Basically, be like a kid as a grown up, and do what I’ve always loved.
I’ve been performing since I was a child and now Red, my debut album is a culmination of all those things. I started doing musical theatre about 7 years ago professionally, that’s a big part of my life, and also songwriting and things like that. So I just combine my love for music, my love for dancing and acting, musical theatre, and recording and performing.
I can see the links, the connection in your videos was that intentional?
The character that you see that’s kind of set back in the 1940s, that’s the main character from a musical I’ve written called ‘Reddington’.
Her name is Eva Reddington. It’s a way for me to connect my musical theatre side and my recording side. It’s a musical that we’re working on getting produced here in the States.
What was the route to recording your album?
I’ve always wanted to record the songs I’ve written and put my music out there. It really all came together when I found the perfect producer for me which is the producer for my album and manager, Ben Obi with Savannah Street Music.
I met him a while ago and we’ve been working for close to 8 years on different projects, but this is the first time I’m doing my debut album, which we have been working on for many years, for at least 3, getting it right.
So I think the missing piece was finding a producer that understood the music I was writing and really could take a project from beginning to end and that’s what I found in Ben Obi. We were able to take all the different things in my head and put it down in the studio and come up with the album.
How have you kept going when things have been difficult?
I say it’s being blessed with people around me that also believe in me. When you’re in this type of industry you have to surround yourself with positive people that also have the same vision as you, people who believe in you. With me God has blessed me to have a team, like Ben Obi, like Diane with RM2 Music, Steve Ripley with Soulfood Music.
And my family, even when it’s been hard and I’m like oh my goodness things aren’t working they just believe in me and encourage me. Sometimes you hear those words of support from your loved ones, and you’re like, oh okay I can do this.
With hard times sometimes you just wanna take a little time off, what keeps me going is that inner fire that I have for music.
What inspired you to name your album?
Red is one of my favourite colours. I really look at Red as a feeling, it’s one of those colours that evoke a lot of emotions. Some people when they think of Red, they may think of passion or fire or power or rage, it encompasses so many different emotions and I feel like each song on the album represents one of these emotions. What stands out for me is passion and love.
Your music reminds me of soul from back in the day
I love music that you can just vibe to, that’s the type of music I write naturally. I write from life experience and things that are going on with me to draw inspiration from.
On the track People Pleaser, you sing about making your own rules, that strikes very much with our whole philosophy here at The Reinvention Diva, What inspired you to write that?
I wrote that song almost as a lesson to myself. I think at heart I’m a people pleaser. I want to please all the people that I care about, sometimes that’s hard. I want to please my parents, all my close friends, my family. And I felt like I was starting to lose myself in expectations that I thought they had for me, they may not have even had those expectations but I thought that they did.
A good example of that is me pursuing music. Originally I went to university to be a teacher to work with children, because I felt that coming from a conventional family where my mother was a teacher, my father was in technology that they wouldn’t want me to pursue music, so I decided I’m just gonna do something conventional.
But I realised that they never told me that, I told myself that and so I was holding my own self back, thinking that I’m pleasing someone doing what I think they want me to do and it wasn’t even what they had said.
Finally, I realised just follow your passion and they were fine with it, they’re happy and support me 100%. Things like that I felt I needed to sit down and write a lesson to myself about really following your dreams, don’t lose yourself trying to please other people, really find what your hearts desire is and follow that, instead of trying to do what everybody else would want you to do.
You’re releasing your album here in London, how come?
I absolutely love London and the people, it’s been beautiful, the reception, the support. It’s been so well received, so you all get it first because of the love that you’ve shown.
Thank you Timotha for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us.
Timotha Lanae’s debut album, Red is out on Savannah Street Music.
photo credits: Album, Kyle Camerer and Jason Norden. London shots, Ben Obi