In case you missed now-retired adult actress Sasha Grey in The Roots’ “Birthday Girl,” or Havana Ginger in Thundercat’s “Walkin’,” there’s an interesting crossover happening between Hip Hop, R&B and the porn industry. Take it from the site that used to annually bring you Porn Week. Given how often celebrities are accused of “faking it” in both music and the adult entertainment industry, it’s interesting to find an artist that cites authenticity as her calling card with a song at the intersection of both professions. But that’s exactly where the song “Roxy Reynolds” landed Tarvoria.
The Miami, Florida bred, Atlanta, Georgia-based songstress is part of a new wave of artists representing Debra Antney’s Mizay Entertainment imprint. Having previously worked with Jim Jonsin, Trick Daddy and others, her candor makes her the perfect fit with someone that has managed Gucci Mane, Nicki Minaj and Waka Flocka Flame. But Beyond all that, Tarvoria is attempting to carve out her own lane as a risk-taker determined to be heard, even if it includes singing about probation, Roxy Reynolds—or both. Is an industry desensitized by so much artificially manufactured material ready?
HipHopDX: Between “Let Me Hunch You” and “Roxy Reynolds,” you have some rather provocative song titles. Is that a shock value thing?
Tarvoria: Both of those records were created for a different projects. In my music, I try to create something different for each audience and for each individual. I don’t limit myself. So when I created “Let Me Hunch You,” it was related to a personal experience between me and someone I was involved with at the time. That’s how that record came about, and I guess people gravitated toward it.
As far as “Roxy Reynolds,” I actually got a chance to meet her and we became friends. I just created a record. I got introduced to her lifestyle—as far as her career in the adult film industry and how wild it is. I was doing my street record, Bedroom Bangers with Trapaholics, and I just thought that would be a nice concept record to put on the project. In this generation, not everyone is making love or involved in a romance. So I just wanted to portray that side.
DX: Not to beat the issue to death, but how does one strike up a friendship with Roxy Reynolds or any other adult entertainment actress for that matter?
Tarvoria: We were shooting a pilot for VH1, and the women were having a secrets party. We just became cool after that, because the conversation was so free. You have to look at people for who they are and not for their career or their occupation. I don’t care if you’re a stripper, a porn star, a doctor or a nurse—we all have one thing in common as far as just being human. If you’re gonna be a porn star, be the best porn star in the industry. And I’ve got so much respect for her, because I don’t look at her like that. People don’t know the real Roxy Reynolds. They only know Roxy Reynolds’ career or what the media says. But I know Roxy because she may be my alter ego, and I’m her alter ego.
That’s how I strike up a friendship with a person. Roxy’s cool. She’s just like any other female that I would meet or kick it with. And I don’t hang with a lot of girls. A lot of females that you meet in the entertainment industry get caught up in jealousy and gossip. Damn all that. Let’s get to the money. So I respect her, and we share that mentality...that’s how I became friends with her. It’s not only her. I’ve had parties with about 15 to 20 different porn stars in there. I tell people all the time, I don’t look at them like that. They’re regular people to me.
DX: That theme of being “down to earth” seems to be pretty consistent with you. How does that fit in as far as being on Mizay and having a mainstream platform? Will that prevent you from crossing over?
Tarvoria: I very much feel honored to be part of the Mizay situation and to be affiliated with the Brick Squad Monopoly. I really don’t think about those before me because I try to go into every situation just being the best that I can be. Waka has given me a lot of advice since I’ve been here. You’ve got to build your own brand and get out there and grind. Luckily, I’ve always been that way. Before I was associated with anybody, I was the only R&B artist at the trap, the barbershop, the corner store, the party or wherever handing out my CDs and posters. I love the street. And I’m fortunate to be affiliated with someone who has experience with Gucci and Waka—they’re doing their thing. I’m just glad to have the opportunity for the world to hear my music. So I’m working on my upcoming album, Street Couture, and we’re going to see what happens. Just being who I am and being myself is gonna help me. I’m not really worried about crossing over or trying to change, I’m just hoping people accept me for who I am.
DX: And who exactly are you? What’s your musical background?
Tarvoria: I’ve been singing all my life pretty much like every R&B artist—from church choir, to high school chorus and beyond. But as far as my professional career, I built relationships with a lot of other artists from Florida. I went to a lot of music conferences like “Jack The Rapper” just to try and educate myself on being a part of the music industry. I’ve always been around guys partly because I was also a barber by trade. But as far as the music is concerned, I’m like one of the guys. We could kick it, play cards…whatever. But on the musical side, I look up to people like Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliott
DX: It sounds like it worked out. Before joining with Mizay, you had your own imprint with Feel Good, right?
Tarvoria: Yeah, and Feel Good Entertainment is not just my own imprint. We’re all family, and we’ve been around each other since college. When I left Florida two years ago, I moved the entire team with me. My producers are all blood brothers, and everyone on our team is pretty much related in some form or fashion. I had a record called “Let’s Ride,” and that saying was in the first rhyme. So people used to always associate me with making music that felt good. We came up with the term “Feel Good Music” and it just kind of stuck throughout the whole time. It’s not only a name for us, but that’s the type of people we are. We’re humble, and we try to keep it peaceful. But, at the same time, if it feels good we’re gonna do it. And it doesn’t matter what type of song or what genre or era it represents. If it feels good, then we’re gonna do it. That’s really how a lot of my records are created—no pen, no pad—just going in and doing whatever feels good.
DX: How do you balance that mentality with the format of urban radio? Right now things are pretty formulaic?
Tarvoria: When we’re creating records, we don’t think about trying to fit in with anything. Sometimes it just depends on the song. Of course, we’re in a business. But, more than anything, we like to have a theme. If you look at all my mixtapes, the title fits with it. With “Roxy Reynolds,” I never expected the song to take off the way it did. It wasn’t meant for radio, and that’s why you’ll never find a clean version of that record. However, I went back in to cut a clean version later. But we never go in with the intent of creating a hit song. We just build big records and let the people decide. “Roxy Reynolds,” is five minutes long, and radio usually never plays anything over four minutes.
DX: You mentioned your team being like a family. Does that create a conflict of business versus personal agendas?
Tarvoria: Well we know one another, and we all pretty much live together. So it’s really simple. Sometimes…there’s always gonna be conflict in any situation, but it’s all about communication.
DX: Understandable. Speaking of communication, let’s talk about your single “Be Quiet.” It’s kind of confrontational. Is that aimed at anyone in particular?
Tarvoria: It wasn’t aimed at any particular person, but it was exactly how I felt. Being a female in this industry is very challenging, and you face a lot of adversity. Even in terms of your image, you have to be a certain size, and you’re supposed to wear your hair like this or that. People even want you to walk and talk a certain way. I love my city, and I put Florida on my back because there hasn’t been an R&B female from Miami in years. Many have tried, but I’m trying to go all the way to the Grammys with it. So, with “Be Quiet,” it just got to a point where I felt as long as I was doing the best that I could, then people just need to be quiet and let me do what I do. At the end of the day, it ain’t even up to us. It’s up to the people—if they like the record, then it’s all good. Forget the record. If they like me as a person, and they connect to where I’m from and what I’ve been through, then they’ll fall in love with whatever music I make. I created that record at a time that was very hard for me. The pressure was building up. And it’s a true story. I left the crib and went to the A-town, and now I’m winning.
DX: Well, let’s end things on this note. Since you’re from Miami and you’ve worked with Trick Daddy and Donk Ryders before, what’s your favorite Trick Daddy story?
Tarvoria: Once, a long time ago, Trick told me, “You know what Tavoria? You’re just like me because you don’t trust nobody. Once you learn to trust people and let go, you’ll be a better artist.” He would always tell me I sung like a rapper. It’s funny, because he told me that years ago and now I have Rap songs when before I never used to rap. So those are the biggest things I remember from working with him years ago. But Trick is real, and if he feels something he’s going to tell you exactly how it is. Of all the artists I’ve worked with, he has to be the realest one that I know. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything.
That’s the beauty of this industry. Music is a message for me. Every record I write—no matter what song it is and no matter how raunchy the song is—I have a record on it. I vowed never to be a gimmick. I want other artists or even kids to look up to me. I’ve got little five and six year olds that come up to me singing my song “Probation.” What do they know about being on probation? The only thing I can think of is that they’ve got family members that they’ve seen going to jail and being involved with the system. So we have to be mindful of what we say. And I do come to a point where I’m conscious about what I say. I did another record with Roxy called “Beat It Up,” because I was working on a new mixtape. My verse was way more vulgar than hers, and I re-wrote my entire verse. I was like, “Nah, wait. I ain’t gonna say all that.” Most of my previous stuff has been a nice type of nasty. When I rap it has to be comical.