Albany Park native Tasha Viets-VanLear’s 2018 debut album, Alone at Last, is full of soulful tracks so intimate they feel like ripped-out diary entries. But the 26-year-old singer now understands there’s a ceiling to that approach. “People who have listened to my music enough maybe have an expectation of what I will give them,” she says. “That feels a little bit awkward. I just have to think about what I’m choosing to share and what I’m not choosing to share.” Tasha, who has opened for Jamila Woods, will headline Lincoln Hall on November 30.
On her professional breakthrough
“It wasn’t until people were writing about my music and wanting to come to my shows that I finally felt like this was a career. It changes things when you get outside affirmation.”
On lyric misappropriation
“I have this song ‘Lullaby’ that is explicitly for black girls — I say the words ‘black girl’ over and over again. But I’ve seen on Instagram nonblack women post lyrics from the song and take the ‘black girl’ part out of it, then say, ‘Wow, thank you so much for this song. It speaks to my soul.’ OK, you can like this song and listen to it, but you don’t get to choose what it’s about.”
On performing live
“I feel much more comfortable live than I do recording. I’m able to tap into something different and deeper when I’m in front of people. There’s a reciprocation that happens there in the room that feels sacred to me.”