Sexy songbird Tina on industry snakes: ‘I’m not your ‘baby”

photo by Filbert Kung
photo by Filbert Kung

Philadelphia-bred singer Tina combined her love for poetry and her love of music and has crafted her own, unique artistic voice. Born Christina Sanchez, the Puerto Rican diva had been grinding — first as a radio personality in her hometown, and then as an independent artist, releasing tracks for her fans via YouTube and SoundCloud, until she landed her deal with Sony Music. With her single “Summertime” buzzing online and as she preps to go to France for some shows and to work on her forthcoming album, the savvy young starlet shared her perspective on the music industry with rolling out.

“As a kid I was always singing in the church choir and I’ve always been around the industry doing radio and television. So I was like, ‘Let me take this seriously and do it for real,” she recalls. “I was a radio host at Latin stations in Philly working for Clear Channel Radio as an on-air personality, board operator, behind-the-scenes editor; I’ve always been around the industry.”

Inspired by the salsa and hip-hop of her upbringing, as well as artists like fellow Philly native Jill Scott and superstar Beyonce, Tina was able to tap into her own gifts as well as connect with like-minded creative collaborators.

“I’d been writing poetry since I was a teenager and one day a producer said ‘You need to be a writer.’ I started writing music and it was actually good. Me messing around with it made me realize how dope it really was!” she says. “Once I decided to do the music, it’s like the universe opened doors for me. I didn’t give myself enough credit because I was a rookie but people really took to me. I was surprised by all of the doors that opened up for me and all of the love I got.”

Some of that “love” turned out to be a double-edged sword, as Tina learned quickly that being a gorgeous woman in the music industry can make for some awkward — and exploitative — situations.

“A lot of girls in the industry go through it,” she concedes, before sharing a story. “Before I got my deal, I was talking with this A&R and he kept inviting me to dinners for ‘business meetings.’ It was getting outta hand — like six months and still no deal! There’s a lot of bulls–t in this industry and being a beautiful woman, a lot of guys will say, ‘I’ve got these connections’ or ‘I’m an A&R for this.’ And ‘I can do this.’

“I would go on these meetings to talk about my deal and the next thing you know, I’d see a picture of me and this ‘A&R’ on his Instagram and saying, ‘Out to dinner with my baby, Tina.’ What? Hold on — I’m not your ‘baby,’ this is a business meeting!”

Her advice for newcomers is simple and straightforward.

“It’s not real unless they show you something on paper,” she says. “Make sure they show you. Because anybody can tell you and you want to hear these things that sound good, but don’t waste your time.”

“Summertime” has gotten a lot of attention, a rollicking track that perfectly captures the exuberance of the warmer months of the year. Tina says the reaction she’s gotten has been phenomenal.

She says, “I enjoy making my music and seeing people dance to my music. All of the love I’ve been getting on social media…people feeling good to my music gives me satisfaction and makes me happy.”

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