Artist Profile: Award winning reggae artist Tanya Mullings

Reggage Artist Tanya Mullings By: Tanya Bailey
August 18, 2009

A Multi-Award winning artist, Tanya Mullings has graced the International Reggae Charts for over 20 years. I had the chance to speak with Tanya about her recent release Music is My Life, her late father Karl Mullings and more.

Tell me a bit about yourself?
I’ve basically been performing all my life, took dancing lessons from a very young age, sang in choirs as well as acting in school plays. Always had an all around love for the arts.

What is your Reggae legacy and what does it mean to you?

My reggae legacy has become my identity. The Marley’s are the world renowned family of reggae, then you have Morgan Heritage who is the royal family of reggae, and then you have Mullings and we have been titled as Canada’s first family of reggae.

Who are some of your favourite musical artists and why?

Garnet Silk, who was a good friend as well as an amazing artist.  He has touched me musically like no other has.  His message will continue to live on forever. Marcia Griffiths who I just have so much respect for and I’ve looked up to her ever since I came into the business.

Tell me abit about the film "Heart Beat" by the creator Frances-Anne Solomon. How did you become involved in this project?

I received a call from Frances-Anne Solomon saying she was doing a documentary series, which showcases Canadian-Caribbean musicians and explores the hearts, minds and worlds of Canada’s most dynamic musical creators.

I was so touched when she wanted to have a whole show on me. It allowed my fans and the world to get to know me more on a personal level, and hear my story. For those of you who haven’t seen it you can find it on you tube Tanya Mullings "Music Is My Life" documentary.

Your last album is titled Music is My Life, Is there a story behind the title?

My last CD Music is My Life is the last project my dad [Caribana co-founder Karl Mullings] and I were working on together, he passed away before it was completed. We never had the chance to talk about the title of the CD. My dad used to wear this t-shirt all the time that said Music Is My Life, which I now have framed in my office. So that’s how I came up with the title for the CD.  It was dedicated to him.

You have performed in various parts of the world from Montreal to England.  How has that helped you in your craft as a musician?
Performing all over helps me a lot. The vibes from the crowd brings so much out of me and makes me a better artist.  Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to be on stage with some of the biggest entertainers in the business. I like to just sit back and soak up everything from them to learn more to better my craft. It’s funny, some of the artist say they’re there watching me to learn and here I’m doing the same.

You have worked with some great Reggae music icons including your father, Alton Ellis and Jack Scorpio, what was that like? What have you learned from those experiences?

Working with some of the greats like of course my father Karl Mullings who taught me so much and was my number one supporter. Alton Ellis was a joy – he taught me technique, expression, the business and performance. To have him tell me I have it at a young age and that I was going places is an amazing feeling. It was an honor to work with him. Jack Scorpio recorded my first album – to have the opportunity to be in the studio with such a veteran is an honor in it’s self, it was great working with him. As well as multi platinum producer Bobby Digital Dixon who gave me my biggest tune to date "Love Thang" on the Real Rock Riddim. I’ll never forget the day I walked into his studio voice the tune in one take and from that day forward we continued to work together.

Do you feel that female artists in Reggae are embraced enough compared to male artists?

I think female artists in reggae are embraced more now than they used to be when I first started. I think that we’re just outnumbered by the man in the business.

You are the co-host of Rebel Vibez on CHRY 105.5FM, how has that been?

I have been along side my sister Carrie Mullings co- hosting Rebel Vibez CHRY 105.5 FM for one year and a half now it’s going really well.   It’s all about pushing Canadian talent. It’s also nice to be a part of a station that were the first to push out my music and who continue to push my music since 1989.

What does Caribana mean to you?

Caribana means a whole lot. Caribana represents a great deal of history to the Mullings’ family. Our late father Karl Mullings was a founding member of the festivities
back in 1967.

Whats next for you?
Next for me is a single that’s going to be released September.  It’s a cover of Alton Ellis tune, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," which was an honor to voice –  so look out for that. I’m currently working with producers in France, Germany, England, United States and of course Jamaica so lot’s of good works to come.

For more information on Tanya Mullings, check out

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