Tafari Anthony (Pronounced tafar-eye) was born in Toronto to Jamaican immigrant parents. His father was a reggae musician who often brought Tafari to his studio sessions around the city while his mother, also a musician, focused on work to support the family at the time. From a very young age his parents recognized and encouraged his musical talents through voice and piano lessons. They also had Tafari performing at a variety of local festivals and events.
Over the course of his childhood and adolescence Tafari was forced to accept that he would have to be what was expected of a young black man. With the pressures of fitting into the status quo, he focused on a more urban R&B sound, where he began to find some local success. However, hiding his true self from those he loved was taking its toll. Relief came in the form of a writer and producer who didn’t feel the need to force Tafari into one specific genre, but encouraged him to discover and explore many forms of musical expression. During this time, Tafari started to become more comfortable with himself musically which lead to him becoming more confident in his personal life.
Tafari started to explore his sexuality with the same freedom as he explored music, resulting in dating a guy that encouraged him to live honestly and ‘come out’ to his friends and family. Coming out created a crisis and months of turmoil within his immediate and extended family. After months of verbal abuse, threats, many tears, and being on the verge of being sent to a conversion camp, Tafari headed north to Sudbury, a small city in Northern Ontario. There he attended college and continued to develop his relationship.
Sudbury was a very different place than the metropolis and epicentre of cultural diversity of Toronto. Being in a place where he was completely unknown gave him the chance to finally be himself and not be pressured to be the person and artist others expected of him.
Tafari was greeted with a vibrant, talented and supportive community of artists, musicians, and performers. The music business, and chasing that dream took a backseat in favour of simply living and enjoying where he was and who he was there with. In a short time, he’d found a new confidence in himself, a more honest perspective, and the voice in which to make it all happen. It was time to return home and face the things he left behind – this time as his true self.
He started reconnecting with a few allies in the music scene, collaborating with other singer/songwriters, and began writing and piecing together his first EP ‘Die For You’. It was a raw proclamation of empowerment through defiance, conflict and heartbreak inspired by journey and transformation. The EP was nominated for a Toronto Independent Music Award, the track “Know Better” received regular airplay on CBC Radio 2, and was one of CBC’s Most Influential Songs of 2016. The track “Maybe When We Get Older” earned him a top 25 spot in CBC’s nation-wide music contest, Searchlight, and a top 3 nod from Canada’s Walk of Fame’s Emerging Artists program.
Tafari’s recent success is the story of struggling with expectations and overcoming self-doubt to find the courage and confidence to live honestly. #LiveYourTruth
Tafari’s new EP ‘Remember When’, coming in September 2017
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