Posts Tagged ‘Laetitia Tamko’

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Halfway through Vagabon’s 2017 debut Infinite Worlds, Lætitia Tamko stepped away from her guitar. The song, “Mal a Laise,” was an exercise in atmosphere, with droning synth loops layered over reverb-heavy vocals murmured in both French and English. It stood at odds with the guitar-centric indie rock production that defined the rest of the record: It was a detour, but it almost felt like a homecoming. Maybe it was. Tamko’s sophomore effort, the self-titled, self-produced Vagabon, is a more formless affair, a cosmic journey through synthetic sounds, lush orchestral suites and lyrical self-realization.

The result is an ambitious album overflowing with generosity and empathy, warm in production and rich in theme, even if it largely lacks the punch that made Infinite Worlds so immediately memorable. But homes are made to shelter aspirations, dreams, fears, anxieties, hopes, doubts. Homes are sanctuaries, and that’s what Tamko has created with Vagabon

Vagabon’s “Every Woman,” from her self-titled album, out now on Nonesuch Records; vinyl out soon:

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Vagabon (aka Lætitia Tamko) released a new self-titled album via Nonesuch. Earlier this week she shared one last pre-release single from the album, “Every Woman,” via a video for the track. Lino Asana directed the video, which features Tamko in a clear bubble house and out in nature.

Tamko had this to say about the song and video in a press release: “‘Every Woman’ is the thesis of my album so I wanted the visuals to represent transparency and to create a world for this thesis statement to live inside of. It’s an ode to all those who feel different and who actively search and fight for space. When I was approached by Cameroonian filmmaker, Lino Asana, I was really, really excited to work with an artist from my country. There was this immediate understanding of one another. So many scenes of this video feel reminiscent of my early life in Cameroon, the chores I would do as a kid, the way we lived simply and humbly. The bubble displayed in this video represents an invitation to find yourself in this world.”

Previously the album was titled All the Women in Me and due out September 27th, but in August Tamko announced that the album title and release date were both changing. Also, the album’s first single was originally titled “Flood Hands” but was then changed simply to “Flood” and another track from the album had a title change from “All the Women” to “Every Woman.” The lyrics for both songs were also changed. This was all because a poet wouldn’t give Tamko her blessing to reference her work in the songs.

“My original album title and two lyrics were inspired by and referenced poetry by a writer I greatly admire, Nayyirah Waheed,” Tamko said in a previous press statement about the changes to her album. “When I learned that she preferred I not quote her words, I made changes out of respect for her wishes.”

Vagabon is Vagabon’s second album, the follow-up to her 2017-released debut Infinite Worlds, and is her first for Nonesuch. Tamko wrote and produced the entire album herself. “Flood Hands” (or “Flood” now) Then she shared another song from the album, “Water Me Down”  as well as a stylish video for the song.

In a previous press release Tamko set the scene for where she was at prior to recording the new album: “I was in a pretty tortured headspace when I returned home from touring Infinite Worlds. That album contained some of the first songs I’d ever written, and more people than I could have ever imagined heard it. I was proud to become a full-time musician and recognized how rare of a thing that is, but was also debilitated by the very same fact. Fear overtook me and I couldn’t write. I felt stagnant and unsure of what to do next.”

Unlike Infinite Worlds, Vagabon has less of a straight up indie rock guitar sound, with more electronic textures. “With this album, I wanted to impress myself,” Tamko said in the previous press release. “I wanted to be curious and I wanted to make big leaps as a producer. All I had access to on the road was my computer and Logic, so naturally I started writing songs electronically with what was at hand.”

Tamko added: “The drums and vocal forward approach I took on [Vagabon] is drawn from my love for rap and hip-hop production as well as R&B and folk storytelling. That’s the music that got me excited about writing again.”

“Break the rules you think you are bound by.”

That’s the recurring sentiment Lætitia Tamko carried with her through the writing and recording of her second album under the Vagabon moniker. Her first, 2017’s Infinite Worlds, was an indie breakthrough that put her on the map, prompting Tamko to tour around the world and quit her job in electrical/computer engineering to pursue a career in music full-time. Tamko’s self-titled Nonesuch Records debut finds her in a state of creative expansion, leaning fully into some of the experimental instincts she flirted with on the previous album. This time around, she’s throwing genre to the wind. Vagabon is a vibrant culmination of influences, emotional landscapes, and moods; a colorful and masterful statement by an artist and producer stepping into her own.

Following her 2017 debut Infinite Worlds, Vagabon (aka Laetitia Tamko) became one of the most distinct voices in indie rock. Her husky alto is warm and unforgettable. Now add indie pop to that faction of genres. Her next album, a self-titled effort, breezes through synthy breakdowns and horn numbers with ease, never content to be just one thing. Tamko’s voice remains each song’s focal point, especially on the bouncing pop numbers, but the album as a whole feels most like a low-lit mood. Hypnotic and transportive, Vagabon feels even more like Tamko’s arrival than her warmly received debut.

releases October 18th, 2019

Produced by Laetitia Tamko

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Vagabon (aka Lætitia Tamko)’s new album, All The Women In Me, the follow up to her breakout debut, Infinite Worlds, is an artistic leap for Tamko, who wrote and produced the entire album. Guitar-driven melodies are largely absent, replaced by hybridized analog and digital arrangements,

All the Women in Me will be Vagabon’s second album, the follow-up to her 2017-released debut Infinite Worlds, and is her first for Nonesuch. Tamko wrote and produced the entire album herself and plays all the instruments on “Flood Hands,” for example.

Of the single Tamko says in a press release: “‘Flood Hands’ is a track I originally produced and arranged for a well-known pop-duo to have on their album. Knowing I was writing this song for musicians I admire, allowed me this relief from my writer’s block. I used this assignment as a chance to flex my production muscles and write something I wouldn’t have written as a ‘Vagabon’ song a couple years ago. The result felt like a triumph for me in my progression as an artist and I just couldn’t stand to part with the song by the time I was finished.”

The press release Tamko sets the scene for where she was at prior to recording the new album: “I was in a pretty tortured headspace when I returned home from touring Infinite Worlds. That album contained some of the first songs I’d ever written, and more people than I could have ever imagined heard it. I was proud to become a full-time musician and recognized how rare of a thing that is, but was also debilitated by the very same fact. Fear overtook me and I couldn’t write. I felt stagnant and unsure of what to do next.”

Unlike Infinite Worlds, All the Women in Me has less of a straight up indie rock guitar sound, with more electronic textures. “With this album, I wanted to impress myself,” Tamko says in the press release. “I wanted to be curious and I wanted to make big leaps as a producer. All I had access to on the road was my computer and Logic, so naturally I started writing songs electronically with what was at hand.”

Tamko adds: “The drums and vocal forward approach I took on All The Women In Me is drawn from my love for rap and hip-hop production as well as R&B and folk storytelling. That’s the music that got me excited about writing again.”

Vagabon’s “Flood Hands,” from the album ‘All The Women In Me,’ due September 27th on Nonesuch Records.

Vagabon has had quite the interesting few months since her debut record Infinite Worlds was released back in February. She’s played countless shows and festivals around The States and beyond, and a clip of “Cold Apartment” was even aired on KCET recentlt. Lætitia Tamko is showing no signs of slowing with her release of her newest visual companion for the song “Fear & Force“. Shot on 35mm film, the video gives a short look into a relationship between two people and how easily it can fall apart. Hit the link above to have a gander at what may be the best music video you’ve ever seen. the video meanders through a day two people spend together. They take a drive. They take a walk in the woods and no one else is in sight. For a fleeting moment, they are the only two who exist. Then they are hurled back to reality and reminded how capable they are of hurting each other. The final shots of the film are perhaps the most stunning. They occupy themselves with another, equally delicate and terrifying relationship: the one you have with yourself.

Lætitia Tamko, who performs as Vagabon, reminds me that intimacy, closeness, is perhaps the most expansive thing there is. “Fear and Force” a single from Tamko’s debut album “Infinite Worlds” , is a heart-wrenching testament to that truth.

Hope you fallen in love with the video and Infinite Worlds record already? Wonderful, because Vagabon is going on tour this autumn with other Father/Daughter Records superstar, NNAMDI OGBONNAYA. lets hope they make it to the UK.

“Fear & Force” by Vagabon off her album “Infinite Worlds” available now on Father/Daughter Records. Vagabon is Lætitia Tamko

Vagabon finds various ways to flood the senses. It’ll either come in a harrowing lyric that sticks in the conscience, or it’ll arrive from a soft drone that gradually envelops.

“Infinite Worlds” released February 24th via Father Daughter Records.

Laetitia Tamko writes poetic indie rock that centers around her life. Under the moniker of Vagabon, she crafts insular tales that defy traditional indie structures and incorporate elements from across the spectrum of r&b, spoken word, traditional rock and bedroom pop.

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Band Members
Laetitia Tamko – Vocals and Guitar
Elise Okusami – Drummer
Maggie Toth – Bassist

Tamko: “Part of the appeal of making underground music is you can figure out your voice as you’re performing."

At a Vagabon show in February at Baby’s All Right, in Williamsburg, 24-year-old Lætitia Tamko stood onstage dressed in black, toting a sunburst Fender Stratocaster and facing an audience who looked nothing like her. A handful of Black faces in a sea of white ones. Still, the place was packed, and the crowd was there to experience her.

Tamko uprooted from Cameroon to Harlem at the age of thirteen, then again to the suburbs of Yonkers. She started writing songs in high school, after her parents gifted her with a guitar and she used an instructional DVD to teach herself how to play. She spent her time at the City College of New York studying electrical and computer engineering — a career path with enough promise and practicality to appease African-immigrant parents. But Tamko picked up pen and guitar again, secretly crafting her album while working full-time. She quit engineering, moved to Brooklyn, and stumbled into the New York’s indie rock scene, forging her own space there.

The chords she once played in the dark took the spotlight that night at her album release show. The stage is where Tamko’s passion and skill meet, and where her worlds collide.

The familiar yet fresh music of her debut, Infinite Worlds, revolves around the nostalgic sound of alternative rock from the Nineties to the early millennium. It’s charged by songs that take us inside her outsider world. She’s hiding, revealing, traveling, unpacking, and affirming that the discomfort of it all is worth the journey.

The delicateness of her speaking voice is matched by the soft strength of her singing, which she calls a “learned skill.” “I taught myself how to be good,” she said. “I don’t think I was bad but, like anything, it can be learned. And part of the appeal of making underground music is that you can kind of figure it out — you can figure out your voice as you’re performing, as you’re making music. You don’t have to be as seasoned. I haven’t taken vocal classes. I’m sure they’re super helpful, but I have found a way to use my voice the way that I want to.”

The bellows, yelps, and harmonizing on Infinite Worlds were a product of her dedication to honing imperfections. Tamko played nearly every instrument on the album — guitar, drums, synth, keyboard. On the surface, it’s indie rock. Underneath, something different is happening. Tamko doesn’t subdue her narrative, nor relinquish the weight of it. Growing up, Tamko didn’t see artists she could identify with, who looked like her and represented the skilled, unpolished musician. But the subtleties in her vocal riffs, polyrhythms, guitar strokes, and synths reflect the inner layers of the music she consumed through the years. The discography of her childhood included everyone from Cameroonian songwriter and novelist Francis Bebey and Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré to Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey. These days, she plays Migos on repeat, vibes out to Solange, and takes in as much pop music as she can, too.

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If you’re a fan of Waxahatchee or Adia Victoria, Vagabon will be your new favorite artist. Cameroon-born New York-based singer-songwrtier Lætitia Tamko makes music that sounds like nostalgia itself, with fuzzy guitar riffs, hazy vocals and ambient choruses. Her debut album Infinite Worlds is out in February.

“In my country, and in a lot of countries, people still go to the well to get their water,” Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko explains to me as she begins to reveal the metaphorical crux of one of her new songs. Tamko grew up in Cameroon before moving to New York in the early 2000s, and she instinctually refers back to her personal history to make this central point. Choosing her words extra-carefully, Tamko describes the ritual of going to a well in detail: “You walk it back to your house, you use the water or put it in a container, and then you do the same trip back,” she continues. “People don’t always check to see if there’s any more left after they’ve taken what they need”.

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