Bringing Life and Music Together Under the Endless L.A. Summer Sun"I find that in L.A. it's very easy to create your own family of people that have common bonds."
In the video for her catchy single "Summertime," the Lady Tigra romps on a beach in Los Angeles twirling an umbrella, sipping bubbly and wearing an outlandish hat shaped like a giant black rose. It's a tableau that captures the New York- and Miami-bred MC's fondness for her adopted home of L.A. — its sunny skies, laid-back lifestyle and fashionable creativity. "That's what the summer feels like to me here," she says. "Happy and carefree."
The accidental L.A. resident (she came to work on her 2007 album "Please Mr. BoomBox" and ended up staying) figured it was about time to write a song celebrating the metropolis. After all, it was another ode to a city that had given the Lady Tigra her musical start. As one half of the female hip-hop duo L'Trimm, she scored a Top 40 hit with 1988's "Cars That Go Boom," a tribute to the streets of Miami and its subwoofer sounds.
Yet even though Los Angeles is equally a car town, Tigra — who's been making solo music since L'Trimm disbanded in 1991 — has found more inspiration walking through her Echo Park neighborhood than cruising with the bass booming. "You can walk everywhere, just like New York," she says of the enclave on the Eastside, where art galleries, cafes and the open space of Elysian Park are right at her fingertips.
She spends most of her time at the neighborhood's Himalayas Studio, where she's found a vibrant community of independent musicians. "It's so great because everyone lends each other their talents," she says. Connecting with other musical minds has expanded her artistic perspective and sent her career into unexpected directions. "Until I moved here, I always just saw myself as an MC. I never realized how much I could do with my writing." Since arriving, in addition to her own hip-hop-inflected tunes, she's written pop songs for other artists, corporate jingles, and original music for film soundtracks.
She's even started dabbling in acting, and has appeared in several films. "I'm inspired by how people are jacks-of-all-trade here," she says. "People have all these incredible side hustles." Tigra also counts club promoter as one of her side hustles — she and friend DJ Kelly Cole throw a dance party on Friday nights in the backroom of hip West Hollywood watering hole Bar Lubitsch.
Hailing from a large and close-knit Haitian family, Tigra is the only family member out on the West Coast, yet she doesn't feel isolated. "I find that in L.A. it's very easy to create your own family of people that have common bonds," she says. Tigeorges' Chicken, a Haitian eatery in Echo Park famed for its avocado wood rotisserie, is a favorite gathering point for the small Haitian community she's found.
Whether dipping into the musical gumbo of her French-Caribbean roots or riffing on L.A.'s summertime spirit, the Lady Tigra is enjoying the freedom to express all parts of her personality. "I'm just trying to bring all of those experiences — my life experiences and musically — together."
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