Harlem-based singer-songwriter-fashionista TANSU has spent the last eight years working on her forthcoming EP. Scattering songs and memories and emotional states across her discography, TANSU has taken nearly a decade of life in New York City and given it to us in bits and pieces. From the “freshly warmed blanket” “Easy Love” which she released in November to her Valentine’s Day release “Love Alone,” The City is now right around the corner.

TANSU wears her music in the way she speaks and the things she wears, her enthusiasm for life and figuring out to match it to a melody. Music may be her first love, but fashion is her native language. “I am a firm believer that fashion and music are both performing arts,” she shared. “I’ve always been a singer, but in New York, my nine-to-five has always been in fashion.” TANSU has worked for high-end brands like Ralph Lauren and Christian Louboutin and is currently part of the shoe team at Saks Fifth Avenue (which she reminds us has its own zip code, 10022-7463 (or 10022-SHOE if you know T9).

In the morning, TANSU is the It girl telling herself, “You’re going to put yourself together, and you’re going to look cute. You’re going to wear something that you know will get you compliments because it’s going to make you feel good throughout the day,” and it’s not rare for her to find herself listening to her new music with her vintage dealer in New York City. TANSU takes fashion seriously in the same way she takes music seriously in the same way she takes New York City and all the memories it holds for her seriously. There’s emotional resonance in people and places and clothes. Speaking with TANSU, that much is obvious.

“You can feel very naked when you’re singing, incredibly incredibly vulnerable,” TANSU told us, elaborating on the ways that style and performance overlap. She’s not afraid to tap into that vulnerability. In fact, “Easy Love” was written after a wedding that TANSU attended in 2020 (her first public outing outside of lockdown). She got a DM during the wedding from someone with shocking news, a mutual friend had passed away. Joining collaborator and friend Dave Rublin (American Authors) in the studio in the aftermath of the news, they talked and wrote and tried to process their loss. The song “Easy Love” grew out of a need to make music to grieve and to create something to honor a departed friend. “It was the way that I was able to cope with that point in time.”

“Easy Love” is one stop in a tracklist that chronologically takes listeners through TANSU’s life, framed by New York City. TANSU has received a lot of positive feedback about “Easy Love,” from her friends and family, people who knew her departed friend and those who didn’t, and the feelings it conjures of happier times. It’s a song that she says people interpret in different ways, but ultimately these interpretations come back to comfort. She says that’s all built into the melody. “Each song is dedicated to a different emotional experience that I’ve had in one relationship or another,” she said. “Easy Love” is about those warm, easy moments when everything is right and you’re surrounded by love.

The thing about The City is that it isn’t all about TANSU, not really. “One thing I really, really, really love about music is that I can be there for someone in a very dark time without even knowing that I was there,” she told us. “…I’m proud to be releasing this EP after eight years because I know that this music will live longer than me, and I love being able to reach out to people through this.”

“Every song is a different tone. The City is a fabulous compilation of my relationships over the past eight years in New York City. There is an overlying message in emotion and feeling because I’m incredibly emotive, and I wear my heart on the tip of my fingers…’Easy Love’ is for a friend that was lost way too soon and the happy remembrance of her. The first song on the album, ‘Love Alone’…I wrote that on the heels of my breakup with my ex-fiance…The song after that is called ‘Truth About Us,’ and [that] is kind of the epiphany and understanding that we were not good for each other even though we thought we were…”

TANSU credits “the overall vibe and energy” of New York City not only for how her relationships have been shaped over the last eight years of life and songwriting but also for the way the emotions translated into the project. Currently based in Harlem, TANSU is as much in a physical home as she is in a musical one. Stubbornly in love with soul and R&B—as a toddler, she refused to eat her dinner unless “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston was playing—TANSU has immersed herself in the neighborhoods where so many of the styles that she loves were born and grew up. From the East Village to the Lower East Side, TANSU has lived across NYC, but nowhere resonates with her work quite like Harlem, its art, and its history. “It’s got the deepest roots.”

She knows what her roots are and she has spent a lot of time practicing and growing, so she could create music like this, music that sticks with people, that fits a moment in just the right way—the perfect outfit from someone with taste that has lost all pretension or anxiety. “Growing up and kind of playing with fashion, I was discovering what I liked and what I didn’t like, and I would wear huge logos. I would wear like a little Burberry coat with an Abercrombie T-shirt just cause I thought that’s what I needed to do in order to be a fashionable girl,” TANSU explained, using fashion, of course, to explore her music. “I no longer need to do that. I wear clothes that I know look good on me regardless of their label, regardless of the tag because it’s what I like because I already know I’m fashionable. I think that’s the same for music. I write what I feel based on what I hear and the music I grew up on…It’s not specifically R&B. It’s not specifically pop, but it is specifically me.”

Now that The City is on its way into our ears, TANSU wants to meet her fans around the world. TANSU is Turkish and loves to see that she has gained a following in Turkey as well as places like Germany, Austria, France, and other parts of the world where she’s been there for people without having ever met them.

The City is out on March 20 (TANSU’s father’s birthday, yet another person she’s honoring with this project). You can listen to moments from The City like “Easy Love,” “Love Alone,” and “Downtown” now.

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Veronica Good has been with Showstopper Magazine since 2016. When she isn't keeping you updated on the latest trends, she is at home with her many pets or probably playing The Sims 4. Veronica has a BA in English and an MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, and her work can be found in Archarios, Tempo, and Scapegoat.