Interview with Tea Fannie (Sled Island 2024)

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Tea Fannie at I Love You Coffee Shop on Wednesday, June 19 2024.

Growing up moving around the country to four provinces and nine cities, Tea Fannie had a unique upbringing. Starting her career in Edmonton five years ago, she has since moved to Calgary and now calls it her home. Tea Fannie is excited to be a part of Sled Island for the third time.

Tea Fannie & The Collective performed Wednesday, June 19 at 8:30 p.m. at Commonwealth, and will be performing on Sunday, June 23 at 7 p.m. at The Palomino.

Special thank you to Take Aim Media for organizing the Sled Island 2024 Interviews, and I Love You Coffee Shop for hosting us.


Emil Duguay: Yeah, so if we could just get firstly started with just a bit about yourself and, like, tell me a bit about who you are, which is pretty big of a question to start off with.

Tea Fannie: Who am I? Yeah, I rap, I sing a little bit, little bit. Now, I’ve been doing music for five years now, and I started pretty late in my age. So I just decided, if it kept progressing, then I’ll keep going and it keeps progressing, because we’re here at Sled Island on CJSW.

Emil Duguay: Yeah so, how did that process start? Because I saw online that first, as it would you’d got into poetry and kind of got into music and hip hop and rapping like that, that way. But what was the process from going from that to now?

Tea Fannie: It’s funny because I would write poems all the time, I would submit to like those online poetry things under like an anonymous name, and then I would sign up for open mics and sit in the back, and when they would say my name, I would, like, look around like the person’s not there, like I had massive stage fright. So then I got married, and then my ex told me, obviously we’re not together anymore. But he was he told me that I couldn’t rap. I like, try. I was thinking about it, and I rapped a verse for him, and he was like, yeah, it’s not for you. And then after we separated, I was like, scratch that. And so it was out of like, spite that I really started. And then, yeah, like, friends pushed me to go to studios. I thought I would be, like, a recording artist, not really a performing artist. And then I had, like, an artist in Edmonton, ways. He, like, basically pushed me on stage. He’s like, No, you have to come up with a 15 minute set, and you’re opening for me, and that’s what we’re doing. And so the fact that, like, my knees were shaking that whole, like, first time, because, like, stage fright, you know, I mean, but I didn’t throw up, and I didn’t die, I didn’t pass out. And so I was like, Oh, maybe I can actually do this. And then when I watched the video back, you can’t even see my leg shaking. So I was like, oh, maybe it’s just all in my head, yeah? But so after that, then I just kind of kept going. So that was your first kind of big show, yeah, that was my first ever. Like, I couldn’t even do karaoke, like, that was my first, but I got over it. Like, you know, my my parents drove all the way from Calgary, my best friend drove all the way from Calgary to come support. So I had like that, and then it was like, after I spit, like, the first two lines. We were at a venue where, like, it’s, it’s basically, like, long ways, but then it, there’s a separate little, like space where people are at the bar. And after the second line, people started trickling in from the bar and coming towards the stage. And I was like, so that, like, kind of gave me the okay, and yeah. And ever since then, I was just like, I’m just gonna keep going and see what happens. And I haven’t stopped since then.

Emil Duguay  

Emil Duguay: Cool. So that initial, like, built up energy from the fans pooling in, yeah, kind of gave you more confidence, I guess, 

Tea Fannie: Yeah it was a little bit of validation, like, oh, maybe I’m not trash, you know, yeah,

Emil Duguay: That’s, that’s such an interesting story from, like, you’re a spite out from your ex husband to, yeah, being given a set and being anxious to now.

Tea Fannie: Like eh, now I feel like I could just, like, if there’s something that I’m scared to do or whatever, like, even just asking questions or asking for help or whatever. Like, that stage fright kind of just was the catalyst for me to be like, okay, maybe I can do like, anything, yeah,

Emil Duguay: So you’re, I guess I can kind of imagine you’re kind of shy throughout your younger years. And

Tea Fannie: You know what’s funny? So, like, I grew up military, so we were always moving around. So as shy as I was, my birthday was also the beginning of the year, like, school year, so I had to, like, always, like, not reinvent, but like, just try to, like, fit in or make friends or whatever. So and I was always like, captain of my basketball teams, volleyball teams, yeah, so I don’t know, like, I’ve always felt shy, but for some reason, I’ve always done like, cool things. I was valedictorian of my junior high school. Like, I don’t know, I don’t know, always given leadership roles, but still, yeah. But I’m like, I Yeah, but I’m like, Well, I guess I’ll do it because I’m here and you just kind of do do stuff,

Emil Duguay: yeah? So now kind of moving on into more Sled Island, kind of theme, Sled Island, um, could I know a bit about your, like, your experience with Sled Island, and have you done festivals alittle similar to it? yeah, just Yeah. What’s, what kind of relationship do you have with Sled?

Tea Fannie: Sled Island gave me my first ever money for music, actually. So, like, think it was, it was during covid. They were doing, like, some playlists, and they were paying artists for their songs. And that was my first taste of Sled. Because I was like, Oh my gosh, who are these guys? Like, cool? I did a song for my dad, and I got paid, like, for it, and I got to pay the producer, like, it was cool. And then the year after they did, they did this thing was, like, postcards from Sled where they videoed, and then they showed it on the drive in screens at High Park, yeah? So that was, like, my first performance with Sled. Then the year after that, I opened for Princess Nokia, and that was like to a sold out crowd of 1200 that was my first big show like, and I, I feel like, with Sled they’ve always make me rise to the occasion. And even with this set tonight, I’m like, how am I going to elevate my performance? What am I going to do? And so I have some, has some tricks and stuff tonight. I’m excited.

Emil Duguay: So this is your third year now?

Tea Fannie: Kind of, actually, yeah, because I did the covid one, and then Princess, Nokia, and then here. But I didn’t do it last year, but I think I hopped on about four stages last year anyways, from, like, friends and stuff, you know,

Emil Duguay: like your perform, you performed a little bit last year yeah?

Tea Fannie: Like, it would be like a verse on someone’s set or something, like, you know, just like one song, yeah?

Emil Duguay: So you’re still, you’re still active, you’re still prevalent.

Tea Fannie: I have to be sled Island is such, like a part of my career and my soul now. So, like, Yeah, I’m such a I’ve been a fan of sled

Emil Duguay: Cool. Um, so what would you say, like, your relationship is with Calgary and, like, our music scene, because I know you’re not from here, and I saw that you were born in Victoria, I think, and then you moved to Edmonton, or moved all around because of your, like, military parents, yeah. But, and then also, we’re in Edmonton for a brief time. So like, yeah, like, How’s Calgary been for the arts, for you, and as an artist?

Tea Fannie: I mean, it might just be because, like, like, I technically started music in Edmonton. I hate to admit it, whatever. Shout out Edmonton. But no, I grew up in Edmonton, basically, so I started there, and then after the first year, I think I moved to Calgary and actually changed my rap name. Because when I first started, my rap name was she just like, S, H, E, it stood for some have everything. And then when I moved to Calgary, I was like, I want something new. I want something closer to me. And so my real name is spelled like T I F, F, A N,N I, E , so I just did T E, A, F, A, N, N I E, yeah.

Emil Duguay: So did you you thought of your name on your on your own? 

Tea Fannie: Yeah, yeah. I was like, What is this? Because the first name was given to me. And I was like, I want my own name, yeah. And then I recorded my whole own album by myself. And like, yeah, I was on a whole kick to, like, put out two albums in one year. They’re not even, yeah, that was like, they’re not even on stream streaming platforms anymore because they were pretty DIY. But yeah, that was my 2020,

Emil Duguay: And then yeah, and so, how would you like? How would you say, I guess Calgary is different from Edmonton. Or have you had any right?

Tea Fannie: That was the question. Thought that was the question. So this city is so much better. Sorry to say, not. Sorry. The art scene is wild and it it’s growing in every single aspect. Like, like the people who are in the film industry are, like, going all around the world to do their art, you know what I mean? And, like, showcase it. The fashion industry is, like, there’s people that were in, like, was it, like, a was it Paris or something like the big fashion one that’s in the UK, or whatever we had, like, filmographers, you know, it’s just, it’s every single aspect, even like the roller skaters are like, traveling around doing, you know, teaching stuff like Libby’s, killing it. So the the twerkettes doing the mapuka, like they’re not just teaching, like twerking, they’re teaching the history behind it. And then they’re also traveling around. Like, every single piece of art that people are doing in the city is, like, booming, yeah. And then the fact that I was able to go to think it was like a black film festival, and it was at globe cinema, and it was, like, sold out, full, and I was like, this is, like, amazing. This is my city. This is my city. It’s growing. Yes, there’s still a lot of things we need to work on, but I can see the potential, and I just want to be a part of it, you know.

Emil Duguay: Yeah, I like how all the shout outs you gave to the different art forms are very unique, like rollerblading and fashion.

Tea Fannie: It’s every it’s literally everything, like, you know, the painters, the you. I don’t know producers, even, like, our producers, like music producers, are doing big things. So, like, I don’t know this is really cool. Yeah, it’s really, really cool.

Emil Duguay: So do you see more room? I guess this is a bit of a big question. But do you see more room for, like, your career to grow here, as opposed to Edmonton? Like, do you see a lot of Yeah-

Tea Fannie: I would I still love Edmonton, like, I’m still, I’m literally going up there, you know, in a couple couple weeks. But as far as the art scene, the camaraderie and the love here is a lot higher and better, whereas Edmonton, it’s like, maybe more, a little bit more clicky. Here you’ll have like, artists going to other artists shows and like supporting and talking like it’s not just me that’s geeking about my friends, like, I’m sure that there’s people out there geeking about me too, you know? I mean, it’s really, it’s like a whole cool environment that we’re a part of. No shout out YYC-

Emil Duguay: Not to hate on Edmonton.

Tea Fannie: But, yeah, not to hate, but I’m hanging go Oilers, not really. Just kidding. No, I, you know, I grew up Northside Edmonton, just like Mouraine, so it’s fine,

Emil Duguay: Yeah. And dipping more, a bit more into your career, here, is there anywhere, like, any place you’d like to go with it in the future? I know you’re you mentioned because you had a single drop recently, didn’t you?

Tea Fannie: BBO, oh, you know, yeah.

Emil Duguay: Any future projects or works coming and future career staples you want to hit?

Tea Fannie: I’m so excited, because I wanted to do something different with this album. So I actually dropped the intro in February, then the video in March, and then we dropped the BBO in April, and then the video we did like June 1, because we missed May. I was busy, I’m sorry. Then we’re gonna drop another song in July, and then have the video out in August, and then the album will be out in September. So we’re doing, like, a constant, active kind of thing. Usually, I’m just used to like dropping things just randomly. I just like surprises, but I wanted to see what happens if we did it this way. So it’s a whole different thing. Plus this album is, like, my favorite piece of work so far. It also includes Junior T who is a dope, dope, dope producer. He’s out in Toronto, but we met here, actually, at catfish, the wizards place. And he just, we just, like, really started vibing. And so every time I went to Toronto, we would just record random songs, and we ended up with this 12 song album four years later. So it’s just something I’ve been working on in the background, and I didn’t want to put it out until we had, like, proper funding behind it. So thankfully, Canada Council funded it, and so it was able to, like, finally come out, but if it happened any earlier, we would have had less songs. So like, I’m kind of happy, but how the timing worked out. And, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s nicely, like, okay, so even, like, the keyboard that you you’ll hear in the album, all of those keys, is the only one king who tours with Jesse Reyes, so he’s, like, a dope keyboard player, you know? I mean, and then Junior T is, like, her tour DJ, so it’s just the production. And then he was actually not, no, he was the part of the Polaris prize a couple years ago for a studio monk. So it’s just, I’m the production on this is insane. And then on top of that, every single session was like a what do you what’s on your mind right now? What do you want to talk about? What like, you need to get more deep with your music. And so it just turned out to be this body of work that, like, I’m proud of everything I’ve done, but this one is just, like, different. Yeah,

Emil Duguay: It’s a long time coming. You’ve been working on it for, yeah, four years.

Tea Fannie: Four years, yeah. And like, people come to my shows, they’ve heard certain songs in it, so but even when the album comes out, we’ve added so many things, like even rap again, that I’ve been performing for probably three years now. You’ll hear harmonies in it for the album and Janice Urban, who’s a politician in Edmonton, we took a speech from her, and she approved it. So now she’s now, technically, she’s a hip hop artist, I guess.

Emil Duguay: Yeah. And I, I know that you’re also a very lyrical artist as well, and that you like to put a lot of thought and effort into what you’re what you’re speaking on.

Tea Fannie: Yeah, thank you. Thank you.

Emil Duguay: I try, yeah. And I also noticed that you have a lot of like you, you’re really, a real collaborative artist, and you like to work with a lot of different people around 

Tea Fannie: I’m a collab Well, I can’t say that on CJSW, but I’m a collab person.

Emil Duguay: Yeah, um, is there anything else that we missed, or anything that you’d like to. Uh, also touch on as as an artist, or anything also to expect on the album, like with the theme of it. Yeah, because I know it’s your like your it’s your biggest baby for so much into it with the last four years, and love it so much. But yeah, so is there anything else that you’d like to touch on a bit on that?

Tea Fannie: I mean, it’s just gonna be a dope album. It’s, it’s very Voltron. There’s a lot of artists on it. Unfortunately, it’s not a lot of Alberta artists. Because, like I said, I was going out to Toronto to do it, the Catfish The Wizard is the only Alberta artist. I think that’s that’s on it, because he’s the intro and the outro. It’s called it’s all love, and because everything around it kind of has to do with love, like whether it’s my love, hate relationship with cannabis, or never being loved, or just the love, the, you know, all the aspects. So it’s, it’s kind of cool that I’ve been so, like, anti love. So this one will be, it’s literally, it’s all love.

Emil Duguay: Yeah, kind of facing the music in a way, and saying, finally, I’m gonna make a project about love in general.

Tea Fannie: Yeah, yeah. So it’s cool.

Emil Duguay: Is there anything this Sled that you’re going to be doing different from the other previous years? Or is there anything you want to try, or you just excited to perform?

Tea Fannie: Well for the rap party, I was inspired by KtheChosens Rap party last year performance, so I’m going to do like a jam session. So we’re going to do roulette with Catfish, and he’s just gonna play any random song on his laptop, and we’re gonna jam to it, outperform it, and then if there’s artists in the crowd, they will be pulled up. So yeah, we’re just gonna do that. And then for Commonwealth tonight, we’re gonna be it’s gonna be pretty cool. We got Easy G coming to beatbox. We got Elisa coming from Edmonton. We got Toby St. Claire on the base. Also, we have a track together, so we’re going to premiere that tonight. And, oh my gosh, I don’t know there’s so much. I can’t even remember everything, but yeah, there’s a lot. Yeah, Gabby and MK, of course, mkg, I can’t wait Catfish the Wizard can be lit Awesome. Yeah.

Emil Duguay: I’m looking forward to it, yeah, if there’s anything else, yeah, thank you so much for hopping down here today and being at I love you coffee shop, and I love you coffee shop. Thank you.

Tea Fannie: Thank you. Bye.