Singer Tianna Esperanza takes on the music industry with GENRE-DEFYING talent.

by Jennifer Sperry 

Photographs by Derrick Zellmann

At the age of 23, Tianna Esperanza has already logged achievements that most aspiring singers have only dreamed about. In 2020, she released an eight-song album, Afro Gypsy, produced at Brick Hill Studios in Orleans by Jon Evans (Tori Amos’s bass player). 

While the pandemic impacted the album’s momentum, her single and music video “Deadbeat Daddy” caught the attention of record label BMG, solidifying her trajectory. 

Now she is a full-time student studying expressive arts therapy at Lesley University in Cambridge. “My studies mesh nicely with my passion for music,” states Esperanza, who started college in 2018 before taking time off to focus on her music career. Now back at school, she’s considering a variety of careers—touring singer, album producer, artist advocate, psychologist, even law—and the potential for grad school.  


“I want a plan B,” explains the young artist, a realist who understands that the world of music is tenuous and success is never guaranteed. “I might not always want to tour. I might want to have a family. I want to have flexibility. 

“Focusing on school is how I’ll preserve myself for making music long-term,” she continues. “I hope fans can respect that and know it’s my preparation for giving more.”

But her student life doesn’t mean she’s abandoning music—far from it. Currently she is promoting her debut album: Terror, released with BMG. (She removed her previous album, Afro Gypsy, from streaming services to rework certain songs and start fresh, backed by BMG’s resources and marketing power.) 

Named one of 2023’s “50 Best Albums” by NPR, Terror is small but mighty, with 10 tracks that showcase Esperanza’s writing prowess and eclectic form. Hip-hop and rhythmic punk and spoken-word poetry collide with Esperanza’s sweet, ethereal voice in a powerful, raw explosion. Its premiere single, “Terror,” is a cascade of emotion about sex and trauma.

In this album, Esperanza refuses to hold back, sit down, shut up, conform. 

“I would say my music is experimental. I would say it’s eclectic. And that’s a reflection of my love for all music styles,” she relays. “Some call me a jazz singer, but I’m versatile, although I have more experience with rock, blues, jazz, and folk.” 

In fact, music is in her blood. She is the granddaughter of Palmolive (real name Paloma McLardy), drummer and founder of the legendary UK punk band The Slits. Although Esperanza is not a classically trained singer, she cites artists like Nina Simone, who was denied by premier music institutes like Juilliard, as inspiration. “She knew her stuff,” the Cape native asserts. 

“Creating something awesome out of something small is a superpower I’ve learned. It’s almost nice to work from nothing,” she admits of her home-grown talent. “It’s forced me to draw from spirituality and musicians I admire.”

Born at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Esperanza was raised by her mother. Her family was part of a very extremist church, and she was never allowed to listen to anything other than Christian music. However, her mom let her listen to the radio occasionally. She heard mostly popular hits by Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, etc. It wasn’t until attending Sturgis Charter Public School, and joining its guitar program, that Esperanza started singing and hearing different sounds.

ABOVE PHOTOS: Tianna playing at the 9th Annual Cape Cod Women’s Music Fest at Payomet Performing Arts Center in Truro. Photo by Michael & Suz Karchmer.

While the Cape is close to her heart, she also found it to be a limiting, homogenous launching platform for a music career.  

“Because of my experience with this religious extremism, I felt very isolated and out of touch. As a mixed person being raised by a white family, I also felt very removed from black and indigenous culture,” she says of her origins. “So, unlike some of the other artists I look up to, who grew up in places where people are used to consuming music like mine, it was hard for me to get my foot in the door.” 

Refusing to give up on her dreams and her talent, she relied on guidance from her musical mentors, guitarist Frank Poranski and violinist Lary Chaplan, and the Cape’s artistic community. She recently received a 2024 Capacity Building Grant from the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod to help fund her upcoming projects. 

While she focuses on finishing her degree, the singer is quick to note that her creativity is still flowing. “My music creation isn’t on hold; just the promotion of it is on hold while I work to find a team that I can really connect with and feel supported by,” she reveals, adding that fans should follow her socials for song drops and performances. 

In fact, her next album is already in the works, but she’s tight-lipped on the details. “Let me just say this: fans can expect sounds they haven’t heard yet in my work.”  

Tianna’s debut album Terror is named to NPR’s 50 Best Albums of 2023.

Listen to Terror by scanning this code or visiting

Leave a Reply

You need to login to contact with the Listing Owner. Click Here to log in.