Tiffany Bleu has one of the biggest cosigns in the game: legendary super producer Zaytoven. Born and raised in Atlanta, the singer-songwriter has been swooning local audiences with her vocal talents since she was a child. Hailing from humble beginnings, her style is bold, authentic, and classic — and working with Zaytoven has only made her sound stronger.
Making her debut on Zay’s Zaytown Sorority mixtape back in 2017, Tiffany has since emerged as one of the rising R&B singers on the scene. Via Familiar Territory Records, she released her debut single entitled “Smile” which garnered much attention and buzz in the industry. Remaining humble in her spirit, Tiffany’s passion and love for music is contagious to all those who hear.
Being the 1st Lady of Familiar Territory speaks volumes in itself, and she does not let him down in any way. The two’s dynamic in the studio can hardly be described in words, and they continue to create R&B ballads for the masses. The crazy part is Zay discovered her after playing for her at a funeral for Lil Bankhead, a radio host from their city.
Flaunt caught up with both Zaytoven and Tiffany via Zoom to discuss how the two are compatible, with the latter properly introducing herself to the world.
Zay, you discovered Tiffany at Lil Bankhead’s funeral. What was that conversation?
Zaytoven: Well I had to play for her singing, that’s really our first invitation. That’s how we first met, then my wife had looked her up or was talking about her music. I’m like “oh yeah, I played for her at the funeral.” Got in touch with her, sent her a beat. We did a song on a project, been going up ever since.
Tiffany, how that moment was for you?
Tiffany: That moment was life-changing because there’s so many people that wish they could be in a place with Zaytoven, let alone be signed and believed in by somebody so iconic. I’m grateful for that opportunity. I’m a girl from the ATL. I’m born and raised in Atlanta, it’s a big opportunity to have somebody like Zay notice you and believe in you enough to sign you to his own label.
Zay, what’s the dynamic working with a female R&B artist versus the trap artists?
Zaytoven: As far as trap music, that’s somewhere I’ve been placed. That wasn’t my goal or my aim to be making that music when I got in the game, that’s what I ended up being known for. I’ve always been a R&B/gospel guy, that’s the type of music I listen to all the time. I always wanted to do R&B music, so it was right on time when I met Tiff. I met a lot of people that could sing, but certain people don’t have an edge or a star quality that can go with the way I make music.
Zay, what was it about her that made you want to sign her?
Zaytoven: She acts like a trap rapper, that’s what made me like her so much. [laughs] Man, she’s like one of the dudes I’m making music for already. It’s that same edge, that same rawness, that same authenticity that attracted me.
What’s the dynamic working together in the studio?
Zay: Working with me in the studio is run and gun, that’s how it’s been ever since I’ve been creating music. Even though she’s an R&B singer — even when I did Usher’s album, I take the same approach. I’ma create music right here on the spot. Let’s do something spontaneous, let’s come up with a song right now. In 10 to 15 minutes, let’s do that again 3 or 4 more times while we’re in the studio. That’s how I am, that’s the way I like to create. Go head Tiff, what you got to say?
Tiffany: I want to let you know you are Ike Turner in that studio. You give me the confidence I never had. Working in the studio with you, I get way more done. You gave me the confidence to keep going and to get more work done. Because I’ll be in the studio for 10 hours doing 2 songs, you’re like nah.
Bring us back to when you guys created your new single, “Realize.”
Tiffany: We recorded this song in Zay mode where he actually made the beat, gave me the beat, and I recorded it right then. This project’s going to be one of my best projects, and it happened so fast. I’m glad he gave me that confidence and made me different to where I’m not focusing on one song and not getting a lot done — versus coming in, believing in myself, knocking it out, and keeping it moving. That’s what makes “Realize” and this project so special.
What’s the name of the project and what can we expect?
Tiffany: It’s called It’s Deeper Than, you can expect 9 songs. It’s a whole vibe. My first project with Zay came out in 2018, you can see the growth and a different side of who Tiffany Bleu is.
What did it mean to have your debut single “Smile” on his Sorority tape?
Tiffany: That’s the moment where I felt “okay, I’m on to something now because he straight put me on his project and believed in me that much.” He’s been giving me that confidence from the beginning, it started with “Smile.”
Zaytoven: “Smile” was the defining song for me to be like “okay, I’ma rock with her. Not just do a song with her, I want to really have her under me.” “Smile” was the record that did that for me.
Tiffany you’re born and raised in Atlanta. What was the household like growing up?
Tiffany: I grew up in church, that’s where I discovered my voice at. Atlanta’s the mecca for music, I’ve always been in tune and a part of the music, but Zay came along and took. me to the next level, introduced me to a whole new level of music and built a fanbase Being able to put out music with Zaytoven behind me, I’m putting on for Atlanta. I’m born and raised here and I’ma rep this till the death.
When did you realize you wanted to do music for a living?
Tiffany: It’s always been the play, always been my passion. I discovered I could sing when I was 7 years old so I’ve been doing it ever since, now I’m able to be more consistent with it. That’s what’s going to set me apart from the old me and the new me.
In the “Realize” visual, Zay’s telling you to put more emotions into your words. How hard does he push you in the studio?
Tiffany: That’s a real rendition of a few songs, where he felt “okay, you can do more here. You don’t have to do as much here.” That’s every day, he’s always encouraging and making me a better artist. That’s definitely everyday working in the studio. He’s not that critical though. He’s critical, but in a gentle way. I’m not in there being beat down. [laughs] But he always tells me to bring it all together.
Do you feel any pressure working with a legend like Zay?
Tiffany: I honestly do. It’s crazy because it’s been 2 years and some change, I still get a little nervous when Zay records me. I’m like “oh my God, what if I mess up?” He’ll say “mess up and keep going!” It’s not that easy when you’re working with Zaytoven.
What do you want people to get from your story?
Tiffany: Don’t be afraid to be who you are. Embrace what you represent and what you bring to the table, and try to have as much consistency as possible.
3 things you need in the studio?
Tiffany: A candle, water, and a blunt.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
Tiffany: I’m slick like a Tomboy. I’m sexy, but edgy. You can catch me with a tight one piece on because my body’s real nice. I like to show it off sometimes. You’ll catch me with a big oversize sweatshirt on with some shorts. I love me some mom pants, like the baggy pants. Those are my favorite pairs of jeans, I could wear those everyday. I have a versatile fashion sense.
What can we expect music-wise?
Tiffany: You can expect a breath of fresh air, something different than what I gave in ’18 on my last project. It’s Deeper Than is my softer side, 9 songs produced by Zay. People get to see the vulnerable, more open me. Hear some songs on this new project relatable to everyday life, I’m excited.
Zay, do you have any last words about Tiffany?
Zaytoven: Man, she’s the truth. She’s the real deal. I only rock with people who move me in a special way when it comes to music. If you think about Mary J. Blige when she came out, how rough and edgy she was but still so heartfelt and soulful, that’s who Tiffany Bleu is to me. That’s where we’re going with it.