Tlya X An isn’t just an artist – she’s a world.

The Bristol-based, alt-pop producer and vocalist is lighting up the underground scene with each new entry to her catalogue – the latest of which, “Mi Mind Unknown”, further marks Tlya as a thrilling new voice cutting through the noise.

Fluttering between sounds and moods, “Mi Mind Unknown” hears Tlya navigate the industrial-leaning track by weaving her vocals through the dark-pop production to sonically bring to life her personal evolution which inspired the song. Part vulnerable and part empowering, the club-ready “Mi Mind Unknown” shows us the complexities of Tlya’s psyche as well as the beauty of her songwriting skills – transforming pain into a rambunctious ‘heartbreak on the dancefloor’ moment.

Meanwhile, a DIY music video for “Mi Mind Unknown” conceived and directed by the artist gives us a glimmer into her potentials. Physically embodying the trippiness of the song’s electro-heavy production, the freedom of Tlya’s movements against a backdrop of rhythmically flashing scenarios pulls us deeper into the intricacies of the track.

With the rising artist fastly racking up accolades and festival slots for her multi-faceted creations, Tlya X An is undeniably on her way to the top. The newcomer gave us the tea on “Mi Mind Unknown” and surviving as a DIY 360 artist, as well as why she feels festival organizers need to ‘do their research properly’ – read on for more.

SheBOPS: What inspired your latest track “Mi Mind Unknown” and how do you feel it marks your evolution as an artist?

Tlya X An: “Mi Mind Unknown” was inspired by a failed romantic encounter that changed how I feel about myself and what I’m capable of. The main evolution that came from this process for me is allowing space for more vulnerability in my lyrics and owning my story and my truth. 

The song’s title suggests a sense of mystery and exploration. How does this theme manifest in the music itself?

The song is about self-empowerment and living life to the fullest, no matter the circumstances. This manifests musically through the constant evolution of the production. Each verse, chorus and C-part keeps evolving, with added new layers and depth. This represents the journey and self development that came through the experience that inspired the song. 

    The music video merges a Y2K aesthetic with a modern DIY approach. What drew you to this combination?

      I wanted to create something beautiful, fun and entertaining, using the bare minimum. This not only matches with my current aesthetic being a 360 DIY artist and my current inspirations, but also the message of the song: do your best with what you have, always come from an honest place and the magic will come. 

      Directing and editing your own music video must be intense. How do you balance the roles of artist and director?

        There is no balance, it’s pure chaos. 

        How does your visual artistry intertwine with your music?

          Tlya X An is a world. The visuals I make allow me to explore that world through another framework. Each visual inspires new music and each track inspires new visuals. I believe this is a privilege I have that allows me to present another layer to my listeners, as we are putting the pieces of the TXN puzzle together.

          What changes do you hope to see in the music industry regarding gender equality and representation?

            As a female-identifying producer working in a male dominated field, I know how hard it can be to confidently own your craft and feel like you belong. I hope to see more men collaborating with female and non-binary producers and not just as vocalists (we tend to be able to do both for that reason). Of course, I also want to see more equal opportunities for women and non-binary individuals in the industry as a whole, as we are not quite there yet. I hope to see more men speaking up about issues of lack of diversity both ‘on stage’ and ‘backstage’. I think it’s also so important to encourage women and non-binary individuals to explore roles that have been typically considered ‘for men’, such as music producers, artist managers, sound engineers, VJ’s and so on. Creating environments where women can learn such roles is non-negotiable. That’s why companies such as Saffron Records are drastically changing our industry for the better, creating spaces for women and non-binary folks to meet other creatives, learn and grow, while feeling safe, welcomed and deserving of the title. 

            Having played several festivals yourself, what steps do you feel festivals and event organizers can take to ensure gender diversity in their lineups?

              Do your research properly. There are so many incredibly talented female and non-binary artists out there. Bookers need to go beyond who they know, explore outside their ‘recommended’ and take time to research. Representation is so important and, to be honest, I think they are missing out if they don’t. 

              What would you like to see change in terms of media representation of women in music?

                The amount of pressure to be, look and act perfect all the time. It’s hard to break free and love yourself when you’re under so much pressure and, when you’re an artist, you have thousands of eyes on you. On top of that, we have to deal with society’s expectations of being some perfect untouchable beings, which is so tiring. This creates a vicious cycle where, even when we learn not to care about what other people think, we become our biggest critics, expecting perfection from ourselves at all times because it’s what we’ve been taught and seen while growing up. Let women be humans and, most importantly, be artists. 

                How do you think the music industry can continue to change in order to become a safer and fairer place for women in music?

                  I’ll start by saying that there has definitely been some improvements when it comes to women and minorities’ safety and representation in the industry, especially when comparing today to twenty or even ten years ago, but it’s undeniable that we have a long, long way to go until we can to see solid change in the industry. 

                  The first step is education and equality of opportunities, which doesn’t just translate to having more women and non-binary folks on line ups, but it starts from educating and empowering creatives early in their careers and in life. Women and minorities should be raised to believe that they too are capable of reaching the same positions that men can reach.

                  Then, of course, we should aim for fairness, inclusivity and diversity backstage too! Diversity of line ups has improved since a few years ago but we still don’t see enough female CEOs, directors, managers, sound engineers, VJ’s, bookers, etc. 

                  Another thing to mention is treating women like you would treat men. We’re tired of seeing talented women in high positions, such as artists, managers, bookers, stage managers and more, not being taken seriously. Do better! Ask yourself: ‘would I say that if I was speaking to a man?’

                  I believe that it all starts with our society as a whole. We need to change society’s perception of equality from the root. Until that changes, our industry will struggle to become fully fair and equal. 

                  Looking ahead, what’s next for Tlya X An after the release of “Mi Mind Unknown”?

                    Expect the unexpected. This will include new music, trippy visuals, surprising collaborations and fun shows, for now. I can’t give too much away but I’m super excited for the next few months ahead. You can catch me live at Bristol Beacon for ‘Bitch, Pride!’ on Saturday 13th July, plus a special show announcement coming later this month.

                    “Mi Mind Unknown” by Tlya X An is out now.

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