Tamia Makes Canadian R&B/Soul History At 2013 Grammys

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To hear her tell it, the news that Canada’s Tamia is up for best R&B album and best R&B song for her Beautiful Surprise full-length album came as somewhat of a shock to the Windsor, Ontario-born artist.

It sounds cliché, but being nominated for an R&B Grammy is truly a beautiful surprise, the Canadian soul singer tells CBC Music.

As the first Canadian female vocalist in history to get the nod for best R&B album — a feat that even fellow Canadian artists such as Deborah Cox and Melanie Fiona have yet to accomplish — Tamia is indeed the sole Canadian-born artist within a stacked R&B field this year, with names like Anthony HamiltonMiguelTrey Songz and Elle Varner.

“Somebody told me that I’m the first Canadian female to be nominated in the best R&B album category,” she says. “And that’s kind of cool. After so many years, to have a first again has been a great experience.”

Released this past August, her fifth studio album made its debut at number six on the U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Tamia says she’s simply happy to be making music again, adding that she was on the road wrapping up the 30-city The Single Ladies tour with R. Kelly when she got a phone call from songwriter and Beautiful Surprise collaborator Claude Kelly, who told her the Grammy news.

“It’s been great. I felt very honoured and humbled,” she says. “It feels good to know that people are noticing the work you’re doing. I feel like the little engine that could.”

The Grammy nomination is particularly satisfying, being an independent artist as well, she notes. “I do kind of feel validated and it felt good that people are watching and seeing what I’ve been doing. It isn’t easy, especially as an independent artist and label.”

Currently living in Los Angeles, expect to see Tamia in attendance at the Grammys this Sunday night.

“I’m just going to have fun and enjoy the night,” she says with a laugh, adding, “it would be awesome if I can take one home. That would be great.”

Win or lose, Tamia is determined to keep things moving. She notes that come Monday, she will be shooting the second video for Beautiful Surprise with the song “Give Me You.”

“I’m also looking forward to more touring, overseas and in Canada as well. I love performing — that’s the best part and I’m looking forward to doing that.”