Where are you located now and where are you originally from?
I’m currently living in Charleston SC. “Chucktown” as we call it. I love it here. I permanently moved here after graduating from The College of Charleston back in the day. I’m old. Hahah. I’m originally from a super small town in South Carolina called Holly Hill though. I’m a country girl for real! Holly Hill. The town’s so small we only have like 2 stop lights… Maybe 3 now. I love visiting my parents who still live there.
Who has been your greatest influence?
I’ve had so many people influence me in different arenas in my life. My family and friends are so dope. My tribe blesses me daily and influences me big time. This can be a pretty long list, but I’ll keep it brief. I’ll stick with solely music… As a singer, my greatest influence is gospel music. Growing up as a PK (preacher's kid) I began singing in my daddy's church with my sisters. Gospel is forever embedded in me. Hahaha. Some of my other greatest influences are Erykah Badu, Lalah Hathaway, Rachelle Ferrell, Stevie Wonder, and Sade. Yea.. It’s a lot but yea.. I love them all. They’ve inspired me in remarkable ways. They are all a bit of who I aspire to be as an artist. From their styles, tones, and delivery in live performances. They all make you FEEL. They move you. That’s my ultimate goal as an artist. To make you feel. I don’t care what you feel… just feel. Emotions are everything. One of the greatest gifts is the ability to be vulnerable and feel all of those emotions and not be afraid to do so. I lay it all out as a singer, songwriter, and performer. I hope my audience sees that.
What is your latest and greatest?
Hmmm… I like this question. So my latest is my EP dropping this fall. My EP #1996KindaLove will be released mid November. There isn’t an exact date yet, but please be on the lookout. This EP is special to me because it’s dedicated to my Love, my husband of 20 years. 20 freaking years! It’s insane when I say 20 years, but it honestly feels like 5… maybe 7. Haha. But yea. We started dating in 1996 became best friends and it’s been that way ever since. This EP is a look into our journey from 1996 until now. I wrote all of it and was fortunate to have some incredible producer/musician friends hook me up. TK (Thomas Kenney) and Dries Vandenberg! Love them both… amazing producers.
So my greatest is my 2 greatest creations. My daughters, Myla and Camille. Those are my greatest, hands down. Being a mom has been my toughest yet most incredible assignment God has granted me. Family is everything to me.
Are you performing LIVE soon?
I’m always performing around Charleston. I pick up gigs or solo shows here and there, so if you’re ever in Charleston, SC, check my instagram @allthingstonya and you’ll find me somewhere. But outside of Charleston, no…nothing major right now. Since I’m a fairly new artist it’s tough getting those larger scale gigs. I’m hopeful that it will come around one day. We’ll see.
What are you most looking forward to in 2022?
In 2022.. I’m looking for this freaking pandemic to go away! Hahaha!
But seriously, I’m looking forward to getting out there and performing more. Maybe a small tour… opening up for some artists. Hey…Why not right? I LOVE performing. I’ve got some other things in the works as well, but I can’t talk about it yet. But overall I’m praying 2022 brings more peace, more kindness, and more love. I’m looking forward to it all.
How did you deal with all the changes in the past two years that the music industry has gone through?
Well. I would have to say it’s opened my eyes to a lot. To be quite honest, sitting here today, I never thought I’d be an independent artist. Yea… I had no intentions of being an independent artist until I’m sitting in this pandemic and I’m writing and creating like crazy. All of these melodies and ideas were overcrowding my brain. I’ve always written songs, but always kept them to myself. Writing’s my release… my escape.. my therapy. Nikki Giovanni is my absolute favorite by the way. She’s so inspiring. But all the changes that took place in the industry made me realize.. “Hey, I can do this. Why not?” This pandemic sort of forced artists to push the envelope and just go for it. Whether it was because you needed to release stress or whether you’re hustling to make that all mighty dollar, independent artists have been on a major incline since the pandemic and some are hitting pretty hard. Kudos to all of them. Major labels aren’t necessarily needed anymore. I remember being in the beginning stages of deciding whether or not to release my first single “Limbo” I was scared as hell. So nervous. I let a good friend, who’s in the industry as well… he’s phenomenal, Cleveland Jones listen to it. He pushed me to do it, and here we are. Thank you Cleveland!
What would you say to your younger self if you could?
Keep going…. You’re on the right path. Continue to trust your instincts and follow your heart. You got this. Know that You Belong.
On a scale from ONE to TEN, how driven are you?
TEN. I wanna make the world FEEL.
When you're not feeling motivated how do you get back on track? Exercise and meditation both work for me, but writing is my #1 go to… I have so many notebooks around our house full of stuff. I just found one the other day and took a gander. Wow. It was from like 2014! It’s amusing to see what your younger self says and thinks. So glad for evolution. Hahaha. Writing’s it for me though. It really puts me in the right headspace. I even still write out daily or weekly “To Do” lists. Hahaha. Maybe it’s a ‘mom’ thing. I don’t know, but it’s something about putting pen or pencil to paper that does something to my brain. It’s like a recharge for me.
Music as well. Listening to certain artists motivates me. Stevie Wonder is my favorite to listen to when I need to be inspired or motivated. He’s a genius. Lyrically he talks about EVERYTHING under the sun, it seems. Love him. He’s magic for me.
How much do you believe LUCK plays a role in success?
I don’t believe in luck. I believe God has a plan for each of us. Everything happens in HIS time. I’m just here doing the work and enjoying the ride. What is meant for me, will be. I also feel success is, like the quote says, a journey, not a destination. Success means something different for everyone. For me?.. Yes, I’m a brand spanking new artist with a super small following, but I’m so happy and grateful for where I am at this moment, therefore, I’m successful. Living in peace & happiness is success for me. I just pray that it continues.
How can we stay up to date with you?
The best way to connect with me is via social media. I’m on IG the most.
Instagram is @allthingstonya
Facebook Tonya Nicole @TonyaNicoleMusic
YouTube Tonya Nicole
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