TAHIRAH AISHA HINDS’ true passion is dancing and performing. Born in Chicago, Illinois, to talented Barbadian dancer Danny “Diallo” Hinds and American mum Bernadette Campbell Hinds, also a dancer, Tahirah started dancing at age three with her dad’s Sundance Production Multiple Performing Arts Company.
Tahirah has accumulated a plethora of accolades over the years in dance, including the J.S. Chick Afrikan Centered Education Achievement Award in Kansas City, Missouri, in 2001, the Christylights Dance Academy Summer Dance Participation Certificate in 2004 in Castries, St Lucia, and most recently in 2007 she received a NIFCA Silver Medal Award for “L’amour au-delá de la mort” in dance in Barbados.
She also shared the stage behind Capitol Records-signed artiste Jaicko at the Barbados Music Awards for two consecutive years, 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.
She has a bachelors degree in fine arts from the University of the West Indies in theatre and dance with a minor in music. Tahirah has studied with countless professional tutors from West Africa, the United States, Europe and the Caribbean; she has also toured and performed throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Dancing professionally for 16 years, she took a break the last three years to focus more on her music career.
Locked in studios recording her album and also performing weekly with the band Strategy, Tahirah has been working tirelessly, putting in the ground work to make her big singing debut. It will be “all” Tahirah, 20, on her first album and the name Naked has been running through her mind for the album title.
Tahirah moved here in 2001 but has been back and forth perfecting her craft. She not only sings and dances – she can act and even write songs.
“I prefer singing”, she admits. “I never felt my parents forced me to keep on dancing. I really loved it. But I made the choice to do singing.”
Her skill as a vocalist isn’t new to the Barbadian stage. She performed at the 2007 Cavalcades and then in 2009, with the band Double Xplosion for the Crop Over season.
She calls her stint with Strategy thus far “an experience. . . . I started out [with them] in January. I love the musicians in the band”. Tahirah has gelled so well with the band that they only rehearse once a week, she says, while doing two shows a week on the West and South Coasts.
She says her voice “gets classed in the R&B genre” because her voice is “jazzy”.
Tahirah says her focus and determination is what has gotten her so far to date. While giving me a taste of her musical prowess, she broke the news that she is the lead actress as Dhaima in the off-Broadway musical Love, Life, and Happy Endings written and produced by Barbadian Trevor Pretty.
This role, she says, was in the making since she was 11 or 12 years old.
“Trevor taught hip hop a few doors down from where I was training in my father’s class. I wanted to be in his class but he told me I was too young, come back in five years’ time.”
Tahirah was determined to work with Pretty, so come back she did when she was about 16 or 17 years old. For every production Pretty staged, Tahirah auditioned.
Pretty knew her abilities as a dancer, but not as a singer. How she got her big break is like a fairy tale come true. A girl who had a singing role fell ill and Trevor was frantically looking for a replacement. Tahirah was early for rehearsals and was in the room stretching and singing the piece.
“Trevor was shocked when he came in and heard me,” she said, laughing. “He was also mad that I didn’t tell him from the start that I could sing.”
Tahirah filled the vacant role and hasn’t looked back since. She has improved her vocal range by dedicating time to her craft. She says she is always practising and has made music her number one passion. She hopes at the end of the day to be signed to an international record label and be a multi-skilled performer – she already has dancing in the bag.
But for now she is rehearsing for the opening of the musical June 10 in New York and hopes to hit the stage with a spectacular performance. So get set to see her name in lights off-Broadway.