Singer Tiggi Hawke in part credits the help of her fans on social media for helping her get through lockdown. The pandemic has affected so many young artists, and completely changed the way many of them approached their own work, and Hawke is one such artist who successfully adapted. It makes sense, considering she has been creating music since she was 15 years old. With videos like “Ride or Die” drenched in neon colors and technology-infused visuals, Hawke’s style is filled with fun, but knows when to keep things lyrically introspective.
We had a chat with Hawke for The Untitled Magazine‘s latest print edition, The “INNOVATE” Issue, all about her style, sound, and upbringing, as well as how she came to craft some of her most popular songs. Read the full interview below.
Tell us what Tiggi Hawke is all about. How would you describe the overall vibe of your music?
I think the vibe of my music is a mix of things, it’s definitely very electronic and that’s a theme that runs through most of my songs and the accompanying visuals. But it’s also pop-based when it comes to toplines, and I think the two compliment each other. I also lean towards some alternative aspects production-wise which can change song to song, but overall I’d say those are the main genres I play around and experiment in!
Tell us what drove you to pursue music since you were 15 years old? Did you grow up in a very musical home?
While my mum is definitely the musical parent (you do NOT want to hear my dad sing!), they both were really supportive when it came to anything creative, and that was definitely something that made me feel very open when it came to writing and singing. That said, I never really considered it an actual career option for me, and I thought it was something that I could do maybe part-time because I loved it. But it just became my entire life and I literally can’t imagine anything else or anything better!
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I grew up with a lot of different music around me so I think I had quite a lot of eclectic influences growing up which play into how I write and create music, from rock (my mum’s favorite!) to artists like Dire Straits and Johnny Cash, then over to more classical stuff. I’ve definitely gone through
phases musically as well, but at the moment I’m taking a lot of inspiration from artists like The Weeknd, Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, Halsey, and Griff, who are doing their own thing and absolutely smashing it. It feels like they’re completely, unapologetically themselves, and it’s so inspiring for
me, especially in moment of self-doubt and artistic down time.
What projects are you working on at the moment? Any plans for an album or EP?
Recently I’ve been focusing a lot on singles, and I’ve been writing with that in mind, but I’m hoping to work towards an EP for next year. I’m really excited because it feels a bit different than being only single-focused, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how it goes!
How did you approach writing your single “Ride or Die?” What inspired the lyrics?
For me, the lyrics are very open, quite a cards-on-the-table vibe, really laying out how you feel without any holds barred. It’s quite confessional, saying how much you like this person and how much of a connection you feel with them. That said, I think it leaves space for the other person
too, the second verse is saying how you see their side of things and that while you’d love nothing more than to be with them, you understand they’ve been hurt in the past too, showing that mutual understanding.
Like many of your other videos, “Ride or Die” is drenched in bright neon colors. What’s the story behind that song and video? What draws you to that style?
I’m obsessed the aesthetic of neon and cities at night, it literally draws me in and keeps me there, and I love that I get to mirror that in my videos! This video is based around a heist with a ride-or-die partner, and then we get to make our getaway together. I was a bit nervous about filming the video but the directors were so amazing and we were completely on the same page. It made the process so much fun, and I’m in love with the result. It’s definitely influenced by the film Drive. To really focus on the futuristic aesthetic, we managed to find a DeLorean, which features heavily
in the video (it’s also a bit of a nod to one of my favorite films!). We filmed a lot of the video in a nightclub, which was crazy because I hadn’t been around that many people for a long time – it was the closest I’d been to a party in ages!
Tell us about the remix of “Ride or Die” you worked on with Lizot. What sparked that collaboration? Do you plan to release more remixes down the road?
It was amazing to work with Lizot on the remix. I love how they interpreted the original and put their own magic spin on it. It’s really different from the original but somehow they have the same energy and vibe, which is all down to their amazingness. I loved it so much we actually
did another version of the music video specially for that version! I’ll definitely release more remixes in the future, and I can’t wait to hear how they turn out.
How has your songwriting approach changed since when you first started out?
I mean, I hope it’s gotten better! I do sometimes listen back to some of the first songs I ever wrote and the internal cringe is immense, but hopefully that means that there’s at least been some progression. Overall, I’d say I’m more relaxed about writing now. I remember feeling a lot of pressure when I was in a room of people to be able to contribute something big or game-changing, and of course, that pressure doesn’t help anyone be creative. Now I try to go with the flow and let the creativity take me along for the ride; I feel freer to experiment musically and try new things, even if a lot of the time they might not work out!
Your track “High Season” has been noted as being reminiscent of Ibiza. What locations or personal experiences have directly inspired your music and how?
I love traveling, experiencing new places, and meeting people so I think locations definitely do play a part in my music. And now that you’ve said it, I can see the Ibiza reference! A couple of years ago, I released a song called “NYC,” and more recently, “Electric Sun” was about Tokyo, but also
about how I felt while I was there. I love these places but it’s also about the way they made me feel, and the experiences I had there.
What does staying ‘high’ emotionally mean to you? You’ve mentioned that it is something you openly struggle with.
Like a lot of people, I do struggle a lot with staying ‘high’ emotionally, and I’m always very open about it because I think there’s an unnecessary stigma surrounding it which adds another layer of guilt to the whole situation – especially when you start bringing medication into it. I think the more we can openly discuss problems like depression and anxiety, the closer we get to helping people feel like they’re not alone and that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It still exists for me, but I feel very fortunate to have people around me who support me and can help me when I’m at my
worst. I channel a lot of those thoughts and experiences into my music, and I hope that maybe a line might hit home with someone and they feel more seen than they did before.
I’m sure lockdown changed a lot of your initial live music plans. What can we look forward to from you moving forward?
As many gigs as physically possible!
You’ve mentioned before how much social media has really helped you out during the pandemic, can you elaborate on that?
I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with social media, I know it definitely affects my mental health from time to time, but during the pandemic it became the only way to have connection with other artists and fans (and anyone actually!). If you’d told me this pre-pandemic, I’m not sure I’d have believed you but I became super grateful for it, it definitely helped me stay a bit saner. It was also a bit of a lifeline musically, I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed playing live and feeling that connection with an audience, so to have even a semblance of that was often what
I needed to keep writing and creating.
As a young artist, do you write songs with any particular audience in mind? If so, who are they?
I actually don’t have a particular audience in mind when I write, for me it just has to be something I can personally relate to but in a more ambiguous setting, if that makes sense. I want people to be able to listen to a song and feel like it’s been written for them or about a situation they’ve experienced, and I’ve found the only way I can do that is by using my own experiences as inspiration, and really digging into the emotions I’ve felt or I’m feeling at the time.
This is our “INNOVATE” issue. What does the word “innovate” mean to you and how do you stay innovative with your music?
I think innovation is essential, I never feel completely fulfilled if I don’t feel like I’m progressing, which the pandemic definitely tried to get in the way of! I don’t think any of us have been more innovative than in the last year and a half: we’ve had to find new ways to work with people, new ways to connect with people, and to continue thriving in any industry, and I’ve been so impressed by how people have managed to do all of that. While I don’t think that all of it will continue into post-pandemic life (I personally can’t wait to get back to live performances and co-writing in person!), I do think it’s given a lot of people the chance to re-assess a lot of things and find a new
and innovative balance in their lives. And who’s to say it would’ve happened without the pandemic? Innovation really inspires me and encourages me to look forward to the future and see what we all can do next!
Do you have words of wisdom you live by?
I don’t have any specific phrases or mantras that I live by, but I think treating other people how you yourself would want to be treated is essential. I also try to be myself as much as possible, and to remind myself how lucky I am and the amount of gratitude that I feel every day, even on my worst days.
What can we look forward to from you in 2022?
Lots and lots of new music! I’m really looking forward to working on new singles, and maybe an EP, and hopefully playing more gigs than I can imagine!
Tiggi Hawke @tiggihawke
Photography by Simon Emmett @simonemmettstudio for @theuntitledmagazine
Stylist Rebekah Roy @rebekahroy_
Make-up by Emma Osborne @eosborne_makeup
Hair by Paul Donavan @pauldonovanhair
Set Designer Emma Witter @emmawitter_setdesign
Lighting Assistant Guy Parsonage @guyparsonagephoto
Movement Director Ethan Samuel Jacobs @ethansamueljacobs
DOP Martin Roach @martinjroach_dop