by Mike Scarfo
Taina, the 19-year old rising vocalist from Lawrence, is incredibly gentle and soft spoken when you meet her in person. But over an R&B instrumental, she takes on an entirely different persona, possessing a powerfully charismatic voice that often captures intense emotion. Pair her strong vocals with an innate capability to write poetically catchy bars, and you have yourself a humble star in the making.
Taina has been writing poetry for nearly a decade, which she's translated into songwriting with natural ease. In just a short time, she's collaborated with a number of high-level producers and talents in the Merrimack Valley and Greater Boston area, specifically Jon Glass, Wizz Dakota (“Goals”), GK (“Take It Slow”), C Scharp (“No Patience”) as well as rapper Reks. Her discography at this juncture may not be vast, but it is tight and concise, including her most recent release of “No Patience” earlier this year, and two singles in 2022 (“Dangerous Bitch” & “Goals”). Her music spotlights smooth, wavy R&B production, often backed by heavy trap drums. Taina perfectly blends strong vocal runs and eclectic rap-sing bars that offer the listener an immersive experience, stylistically reminiscent of an Ari Lennox, SZA or Jazmine Sullivan.
Her latest offering "Crush" features a glossy instrumental cross between soul and boom bap, produced by Knowhere Studios' own Melks. Taina flourishes in the opening half with her versatile vocal range and introspective writing; the song originally draws inspiration from an old poem she wrote about her first crush, as she struggles to make sense of the clashing emotions between temptation and hesitation. "Crush" ultimately captures the internal conflict of the desire to pursue a love interest despite overwhelming uncertainty. Taina questions her own decisions even though she has the self-awareness to realize its contradiction, with bars like "why do I run when you call me?", when she knows all too well that she'd rather stay. To explore these emotions would only further lead to vulnerability, therefore making avoidance more appealing. The portrayal of this conflict is a feeling that many can probably relate to experiencing at some point within their lives
Rap feature Ea$y Money contributes a dichotomy within his narrative of the story as the person on the other end of this crush. He may or may not feel his counterpart's trepidation, but either way actively seeks to impress this love interest by any means necessary, whether it be financial, material, or spiritual. Feeling her hesitancy only leads to overcompensation, which can convince and reassure in some cases, but can also backfire in others. It's a slippery slope, as "Crush" essentially emphasizes how fragile romance can be, especially when faced with two individuals who have opposing agendas. It further portrays the notion that the intensity of a new love can often be fleeting if the timing is off, or just not quite right.
"Crush" is another inevitable step in the right direction for the young, talented singer/songwriter. If you haven't heard Taina's music yet, you'll be lucky to have come onto her early before she blows up. We look forward to following the rest of her musical journey.