“I realized from an early age that this is what I want to do. Music was all I wanted to do” … these are the words of three-time Belizean Female Vocalist of the Year, Tanya Carter, who by the age of 5 was already listening to Burning Spear, Dennis Brown, Earth, Wind and Fire, Bob Marley, Tina Marie and Roberta Flack. Coming from a musical family, where her great-grandmother, grand-mother, mother and father were involved with music in some way, Tanya’s love for music came almost naturally.
Although, she was too young to be part of the choir at Grace Primary, her superb voice earned her a spot at just 4 years old: “I had it pretty easy, at Grace you did arts all day. They put me in the choir at about four years old because I had a strong voice and I just knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life”.
The songstress went on to the Edward P. High School where she joined the choir and was introduced to classic and operatic singing. Despite, these influences Tanya was determined that she would become a Reggae singer: “At that time Reggae was bad boy music and it wasn’t really accepted and that is what I wanted to do no matter what anyone said to me”.
At 18 she recorded and released her first song ‘I Wanna Get to Know You Better’, which was a Dancehall/Reggae fusion and she was surprised that it became a hit: “When you write songs that are so true, songs about life…people appreciate that”. Despite the success of her first single, Tanya was hit with a harsh reality and had to make a hard decision: “I got some backlash for choosing this genre [Reggae] and a lot of people were telling me that I sound like Whitney Houston and they wanted me to be the next Whitney; and I could make way more money doing that. But there’s no fun in that. I wanted to be like Dennis Brown. Why sing something you’re heart isn’t into?”