In a few short years, Tanika Charles has gone from being one of the best kept secrets in soul music to a commanding national and international presence. Following in the footsteps of impactful musicians like Sharon Jones and Mavis Staples, the Toronto-born, Edmonton-raised singer takes an honest approach to writing music that touches on heartbreak and vulnerability, but in the spirit of resiliency and overcoming adversity. Her art is inherently autobiographical. If Tanika is singing it, she’s lived it.
Praised as “one of the big hitters” (Craig Charles, BBC Radio 6 Music), who evokes the “Beastie Boys deep funk, raw soul era” (Bobbito Garcia, NPR), this Polaris Prize-nominated artist has spent the last decade lighting up stages near and far – from Pop Montreal to the TD Toronto Jazz Festival. As delighted Sunfesters know from a January 2019 show at Aeolian Hall, Charles and her band The Wonderfuls are dynamite: they create infectious rhythms and hooks, reeling in listeners with unbridled instrumentation and vocal prowess – and with Tanika’s immutable charm.
Tanika’s sophomore album The Gumption was released in 2019 on the Record Kicks label. It picks up where her 2016 debut, Soul Run, left off, continuing her tradition of marrying classic soul with modern production styles. Across a dozen songs spanning 38 minutes, Tanika addresses moments of vindication, uncertain love, forbidden fruit and the state of the world today. The Gumption was longlisted for the 2019 Polaris Music Prize and nominated for a 2020 JUNO Award as R&B/Soul Recording of the Year.