As heard on four acclaimed singles released in 2022, Tianna Esperanza embodies a depth of talent and heart well beyond years. On Feb. 17, she will release her long-awaited BMG debut album, Terror, which is previewed by another powerful new single, “Lone Child” featuring Grammy-nominated artist Valerie June.
On the new single, Tianna shares “I had been holding on to the chant (chorus) part for years before I brought it to Valerie June. I think she asked me what it meant, and I realized the song was special because it was not meant to understand but to feel. ‘Lone Child’ is an expression of my Black American soul, yearning to know my roots and belong. Together, Valerie and I added English verses that explore our feelings on sisterhood, loneliness, and finding your tribe.”
With a sultry voice and flair for fashion, she creates compelling music inspired by legendary artists such as Nina Simone, Public Enemy, and Gil Scott-Heron. Esperanza also happens to be the granddaughter of punk legend Paloma (“Palmolive”) McLardy, who founded the London-based 1970s all-girl punk band The Slits and later played with The Raincoats.
Terror is a cathartic balance of both darkness and light, where Esperanza sings about her lowest moments and the unbridled hope that has come from processing them. Throughout, her masterful wordplay and range of vocal styles conjures an introduction that is strong and impactful. “I wanted to honor every part of me,” Tianna says of Terror. “I knew that I had a story, and for a lot of artists their debut album can be autobiographical.”
On the project’s title track, Esperanza sings in great detail about the peaks and valleys of her life to date. From the grief of losing her sibling to the tragedy of sexual assault, she goes the distance with her art. “In some ways, ‘Terror’ is just scratching the surface, but in other ways it’s letting it all out,” she admits of the track. “It’s scary starting your career like this, and I feel like I’ll be talking about that song for a very long time.”
Photo Courtesy: Shervin Lainez