This week, DARLA is opening ears to New Zealand based Rapper/Producer, TAPZ who has introduced us to the genre of Noir R&B music — a blend of Rap, Grunge, and Punk. After fleeing the war torn country of Zimbabwe at a young age, TAPZ began a new chapter of life in Auckland where he was introduced to technology that inspired him to express himself through the art of music. "If you haven't heard me yet, you will hear me soon," TAPZ confidently stated at the conclusion of our conversation about his influences and the world-changing ambitions that fuel his creations. The message behind his music has proven to be powerful early on in his career, gaining support internationally from the creative scene of Zimbabwe, all the way to the U.S. and many countries in between.
Read more from our exclusive interview with TAPZ that takes a look inside his journey and debut EP that is expected to release later this year.
DARLA: How would you describe yourself as an artist?
TAPZ: I make Noir R&B punk music that's like watching a thriller film.
You have a really unique sound and unique visuals as well... What's the inspiration behind that?
Just my life. Having to move from Zimbabwe to New Zealand at such a young age gave me a lot of insight on my perspective of life; my perspective when I didn't really have much. I wasn't experienced with the internet, I didn't even know that computers existed... And then when I moved to New Zealand, I was introduced to technology. I suppose that perspective really had a creative effect on me. Also, when I moved to New Zealand I couldn't really speak English so I resorted to technology and being creative to communicate how I felt.
What influenced you to start making music?
Just a need for language; a need to be understood through English. I was learning English in New Zealand... I grew up speaking Shona, which is the native tongue in Zimbabwe.
What was it like breaking into the industry and getting to work with some of your established peers such as 6lack and Vic Mensa?
It was cool. I've always known that I was going to be an international name. I aspire to create music that can really speak to the kids of the world. Like, how I couldn't speak English in Zimbabwe but when I listened to Michael Jackson, I could understand everything he was saying through feeling and emotion. When I started to make music and I started to make it to places like America and India (one of my first shows was in Russia)... It was just reassuring that my music can come from a place like Zimbabwe to New Zealand to Russia to America. My goal is to speak to all the kids of the world.
Tell me about the new project you're working on. What's it inspired by?
The new project is inspired by love. It all started with a woman; this woman is a fire to touch and she's also warm to the heart. It kind of explores the whole idea that I've always been attracted to doing things that I know I shouldn't. When I was young, in the village where my grandparents lived, they would cook on a fire. My grandad was always saying, "Don't touch, don't touch, because it will burn." And I'd always do just that. So this is like, I am attracted to her and she resembles the fire. I don't want to touch her because I'll burn, but I want to touch her still. If I'm too distant, then I'll be cold... And if I'm too close then I'll burn, but I still need her warmth. So it's like that. Plus me coming to terms with love and what love means to me; being inspired by a woman that doesn't even realize.
What's the name of the project?
I can't disclose that yet, but the name is in one of the songs that I've made. It's enclosed in one of those names, somewhere.
What's a memorable or notable experience from your career thus far?
A memorable experience for me was meeting Zane Lowe.
You were featured on his Beats 1 show, right?
Yeah, my song, "Killa" actually debuted on there which was really dope.
What do you want your music to represent to the world?
The truth — honesty. I want people to relate. I want people in Australia to relate, I want people in South Africa to relate. I want it to represent freedom, relate-ability, and honesty. Overall, I want my music to be like an umbrella of love.
I understand that you're really dedicated to bringing the Zimbabwean culture and certain things about it to light. What are some important issues you hope to raise awareness for through your music?
That we should care about everyone's well-being and there are a lot of things that we can all do to help. Not just there, but in a lot of places. I'm just trying to make people aware. What they choose to do with that information is up to them. I just want to be honest about how it is there and I know that's going to piss off the higher power in Zimbabwe, and that's going to piss off the higher power in Africa... But I'm just trying to be honest. I love my journey.
If you could give a younger version of yourself a piece of advice to motivate you, what would it be?
That you're not alone. I think that many young people feel alone growing up and go through all the shit we're not taught to go through. I think that shit like that should be taught in schools; shit like love, and embracing your differences... Young kids are treating people differently for being different and you should, like, go to detention in school for that. I feel like we should be taught not to treat people differently for being different. My end goal to this journey of being an artist is to communicate that.
"If you haven't heard me yet, you will hear me soon."
Get a look inside TAPZ' world by following him @TAPZgallantino and stay updated with upcoming releases!
[these things take time.] the poetry book available on amazon.com.