#ArtistTalk: Tafari Anthony’s ‘Centerfold’ is the Ultimate Middle Fingers Up to an Ex-Lover

Tafari’s music often details love, relationships, life’s hardships, and finding self identity and worth in a world where most people feel they need to blend in to be happy.

Tafari (pronounced Ta-far-eye) Anthony is a Toronto based artist whose music blends R&B, pop, and soul. He is a creator who embodies the spirit of the modern musician. Not just a musician, but a creator. Fari has been featured in PAPER Magazine, Variance Magazine, and Earmilk, as well as having performed alongside Shangela (RuPaul’s Drag Race) and New York’s up-and-coming pop star MAX.

You just released the music video for your latest single “Centerfold“. Tell us about where this was filmed and the idea behind it. 

I had just finished shooting a video last summer for my single “My Favourite Records” with a big cast and crew. When it came time to do this video the following month, I was just thinking of ways to do it that wouldn’t need to involve a big production.

I had a meeting with the director James Hunter and we talked about various ways we could do it. Ultimately, we decided on keeping it small and focused on performance over a fully acted out story. 

We filmed the video downtown Toronto on a decently cold night in October 2019. James had actually scouted a couple of locations he wanted to use as the backdrop, but things didn’t go fully to plan. Some of the locations he scouted ended up being changed last minute, we got shut down by security at one of the parks and such. So we just went with the flow and started thinking on our feet.

I think it was perfect actually for what we wanted to convey. Because we had to just go with the flow, it really brought out that rawness in the video and challenged us both creatively.

You wear some amazing outfits in the video! Tell us more about your fashion inspiration.

Thank you! It’s a constant journey and evolution. In my first two projects, I made a very conscious decision to be neutral and so I chose to always be in white. I think it worked well for what I was doing and wanting to accomplish.

This next phase, the songs are more personal and upfront, so I wanted the fashion to reflect that as well.

The main outfit in the video is almost like the transition between the “old me” and the “new me” – more bold, and unapologetic. I’m sure I’ll get some keyboard warrior telling me I’m too fat to wear that lace see-through shirt at some point, but that’s the point. Typically people who have some meat on their bones are expected to cover up in shame and wear things to hide themselves. I’m over it! I wear what makes me feel good and sexy, and if it offends or someone can’t handle it they can just “take that shit to the next one”

Centerfold” is the ultimate middle fingers up to an ex-lover. Does is feel empowering to get this song out into the world and how important is it for you to create music from the heart?

Honestly, its scarier for me more than anything! I was very nervous about releasing it, one because of how honest it is for me, and two the sound is quite different from my previous releases. But it has been received very well and seems to be quite empowering to everyone listening – so I can’t ask for much more!

Whether the stories come from my own experience or from experiences of people I know, I think some form of honesty in music is important. That’s what people will gravitate towards and keep them wanting to know more.

If you could collaborate with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Amy Winehouse… No idea how it would go, but I just think it would be amazing to be in a session with her and see how our styles would blend. And hopefully, she wouldn’t hate me!

We are all very keen to hear more from you! What can we expect next from Tafari Anthony?

I’m hoping to release another single or two before the year is up. But given the current pandemic, I’m definitely having to re-evaluate all my plans and where I’m putting my money at the moment. But somehow there will be more, hopefully soon!

Tafari’s music has been nominated for a Toronto Independent Music Award, receives regular airplay on CBC Radio, with one of his singles being named one of CBC’s Most Influential Songs of 2016. He’s also performed with Shangela (RuPaul’s Drag Race) and New York’s up-and-coming pop star MAX, toured across North America and Asia as part of the award-winning a capella band Eh440, as well as having performed at Toronto’s Dundas Square and Massey Hall and receiving praise from Michael Buble himself.

You can learn more about Tafari by going to his website and by following him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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