What is your name and what city do you rep?
My stage name is Tuu Ra. It’s a spin-off of my spiritual name Turraqet, which is an ancient African/Kemetic name. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I am proud of my Jamaican and Haitian heritage.
Tell us about your latest releases, what inspired you to create them?
My latest releases are “Extraordinary” & “LuvMiNuh”. I recorded & released “Extraordinary” back in March, which is my birthday month. March is also women’s appreciation month, which is who the song was written for, women. It’s a romantic appreciation piece about a woman, who I describe as having qualities very much like Auset/Yemeyah, a nurturing goddess of the waters.
“LuvMiNuh” is a song I dropped afterward with a cinematic style video directed by Alexander Pardo out in Los Angeles. In the song, I’m telling a story about a couple, pretty much a King & Queen. The Queen’s name is “LuvMiNuh”. The King expresses his gratitude for LuvMiNuh holding things down in the home & community while he’s away handling matters in foreign lands hence the line in the chorus, “You hold down the throne when I’m gone & you send me good energy, LuvMiNuh.”
What is unique about you and your music?
I bring you clean & catchy. I make music for my peers, grandmothers, and aunties lol. My focus is to maintain a sound that’s trendy and exudes levels of positivity. I study a lot of metaphysical teachings so whether it’s obvious or not, it’s always incorporated in my works. My strength has always been writing & visual storytelling. So a lot of my songs are actually stories that I wrote from visuals that came to my mind either from dreams, meditations, or inspiration.
What shaped your music?
I started rapping & making beats when I was 14. A lot of this inspiration came from my father who is a musician. I witnessed him play instruments, compose, sing, & record his own music in the Kompa & House music genres. He also taught me a lot about spirituality so I was drawn to many conscious Legend MC’s like Rakim, Krs One, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, & Lupe to name a few.
My mother is a school teacher. I’m certain my writing & communication skills stemmed from her because she was very strict when it came to reading and writing. I played trumpet and piano in school and a handful of my peers were gifted with music. All of this & more shaped what you hear from me today.
When did you realize you were going to make music professionally?
Besides encouragement from my father the more I shared my music as a teen I truly started to recognize my gift. I had released a handful of singles then my first project called “Nu Perception” which is still up on SoundCloud. I produced all the beats on the project as well as a lot of my singles around that time. Later I dropped a beat tape called “The Hip Hop archives”. One of my first concerts I attended was Talib Kweli performing live. This motivated me to set out and do the same. I started going to open mics around my way, shows in different boroughs and because of my love for traveling, eventually different states. I’ve performed at the Multi Cultural Arts festival, The Legendary SOBs, schools, libraries & a handful of other venues in nyc. While doing all this one day I said to myself “I’m really serious about this” and decided at that moment to keep the momentum going. I’ve come to a point where I have started my own label/production company Ifenla Music Group which is a team of international creatives & world artist.
What type of music do you listen to?
I listen to HipHop of course, Jazz, Neo Soul, Reggae, Dancehall & some Afrobeats to name a few. My taste for different music is what eventually led me to explore more than just rapping and producing and start developing my singing ability & collaborate with artist that have inspired me.
What inspires you to write music?
I’d say life, spirituality, experiences, different cultures, traveling and most definitely my conscience. When I’m not creating music I feel guilt. It’s just in me.
What do you do when you don’t do music (creative or otherwise) and that you are passionate about?
I’m a father, so for me spending time with my daughter. Travel, even if it’s just a city over, this is very therapeutic for me because I’m very sensitive to energy and sometimes the city can be a bit much. I practice Qi Gong, which is similar to Tai Chi, I meditate, I paint and draw from time to time. I have a heavy interest in business and money. I have experience as a financial advisor & life insurance agent and to this day have relationships with some of my clients, I’m into investing, real estate, & trading forex. Reading is a must for me. I thirst for information and wisdom.
What is happiness to you?
Happiness to me is a choice. In other words we can always choose to be happy. Our choices are always separate from our feelings, therefore our feelings shouldn’t dictate our decision making. Emotions have no intelligence, it’s just raw energy.
What do you wish you were told when you first started making music that you think would help artists just starting out?
The music industry is a business and talent is a very small percentage of it. So learning the business, building a team or becoming part of one will do wonders if you’re serious about music. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself and it’ll come back to you in the ways it should.
Tell us about your upcoming projects.
After my trip to Ghana, Africa for the Year for Return and collaborating with a few Afrobeats artist I decided to have this next project be focused on Afro-fusion genre.
I’m working with a producer in Nigeria right now, Sarmyfire, who’s worked with some big names in the afrobeats industry. We have a couple bangers on the album. I have a handful of international artist on the album, Rory Sky from London, Fasache, D’Nyra in Nigeria, Nova Amandlah from Zambia, Zeamat from Gambia & J’Neka from Trinidad and a couple surprises. This is exciting for me because just 2-3 years ago I was mainly rapping to now developing my singing in a different genre and working with different artist across the world. So I’m really looking forward to sharing this project with my audience. Great things take time.
Where do we find your music / music projects?
Some of my older works on SoundCloud, Bandcamp, & YouTube. My recent works of course on all digital platforms, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube etc.
Any last words for the readers?
Yeah. “The humble calf sucks the most milk” words of my late Grandmother Beryl. Big Love.