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Interview: Baby Tate Is Just Getting Started

The 26-year-old multi-hyphenated artist says ‘Mani/Pedi’ was just a mixtape; expect an album in 2023.

Dropping the “Yung” from her name to reflect her growth and evolution, as an artist and person, 2021 marked a new chapter in the book of Baby Tate. The Georgia-bred, multi-hyphenated artist signed a record deal with Warner Records and in October 2021, she put out her first major label debut single, “Pedi,” a play on the words petty and pedicure, and finds Tate displaying her animated and confident side.

As far as what's to come for Baby Tate, she hasn't even scratched the surface. Next year, she plans to release her first major label studio album. On September 30, the 26-year-old singer, rapper, producer, and songwriter released her 14-track mixtape, Mani/Pedi, the conceptual body of work that pulls together all sides of her disposition.

Then, there’s the other side of duality: “Mani,” a track off the project, that is a take on the words manifestation and manicure, taking on the R&B approach, showcasing her vocal skills.

As a child, Tate showed her abilities at a young age in family reunion talent shows. Singing wasn’t a talent that she wanted to keep to herself. Her mom, Grammy-nominated soul singer, Dionne Farris, didn’t have to push her daughter to take center stage.

“There’s a story that my mom tells — way better than I do, but this one time when I was around the age of four, my uncle was at our house, and Stevie Wonder was playing. I was singing the song and I was performing in front of them. I went and grabbed these two chairs and mom was like ‘what are you doing?’ I’m like ‘I gotta get higher.’ I stood on the chairs like it was a stage and so I think from very young, I was always like this is what I want to do.”

From third grade through high school, Tate attended DeKalb School of the Arts in Atlanta, Georgia, where she was “always deep into the arts” and explored different aspects of music like classical music, songwriting, and production.  She was also a part of the glee club, doing plays and other extracurricular activities.

Like her musical aspirations, Tate's fashion was also influenced by her mother. Be it on stage, on a red carpet, or in a music video, she’s purposely putting her best foot forward with a nice pair of heels on.

“Growing up, my mom was – and still is – so fashionable and unique. So for me, I was always introduced to fashion through her.”

Dating back to her first project, 2015’s ROYGBIV, her releases have been conceptual and intentional. Mani/Pedi is no exception to the creative system, a project she began working on in early 2021. “Mani/Pedi took so many different turns and twists and was so many other things,” she said in an interview with BET.com. “Then around May of 2021 is when I decided ‘okay this is Mani/Pedi, this is what I want to create.”

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Touring with English songwriter Charli XCX, Tate took a break from working on the project; the tour wrapped up at the end of April 2022.

The visual aspect of the project was still a focus in the midst of touring. With videos like “Ain’t No Love” featuring 2Chainz, “Pedi” and “Dancing Queen,” she showed off her out-of-box creativity. “I’m super colorful, fun, bubbly and I think all of my visuals are the same way. I try to make sure that they’re a clear reflection of me,” she explained.

By being transparent, Tate makes it easier for fans to connect with her. Songs like “Do Better,” “Yasss Queen” and the intro track “Perfect” serve as a personal audio experience that her fanbase can relate to. You can hear her ego meeting her humility.

“Yasss Queen’ and a lot of the songs on Mani/Pedi are very personal and they come from a place of reflection and growth. ‘Yasss Queen’ is just one of those songs on those days where you feel like you’re at your wit's end, just doing all the things that queens have to do and still hold your head up high. It’s kind of like that pat on the back or that adjustment of the crown — you’re doing a good job.”

In the era where the lines are blurred between what’s a mixtape and what’s an album, Tate’s latest offering creates more steam in the mirror. She says Mani/Pedi is just a mixtape and that an album is coming next year.

“I just know my capabilities and I just know the way that I created this, it wasn't in the way of an album. This is also my first project ever with Warner Bros and I just know that when it comes to album time it’s gonna be different. So, I appreciate everyone thinking this is an album, but when the album actually comes it’s gonna be kind of crazy.”

The pieces to her puzzle have always been there, it was just about manifesting the vision. Consider another piece being her collaboration with Babyface, “Don’t Even Think About It,” featured on Babyface’s Girls Night Out album. “The grace of God,” she said, is how the collaboration came together.

“His management reached out to me and they said ‘hey, we want Baby Tate to be on this Babyface album.’ I was like ‘what? Are you sure you called the right person?”

Tate is as humble as she is confident, unapologetically showing the world as much of her through various forms of the arts — be it music, fashion, and even acting (in the future), she’s just getting started.

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