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Meet Mariama Tatum

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mariama Tatum.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My music journey started in Chicago IL where I was born. Both of my parents are musicians so I guess you can say that music being my passion from a young age and later my career choice was fate. My mom did a great job at developing my musical ear by investing in various music experiences since I was five years old, including violin lessons, children’s choir, and even African dance. I grew up listening to her favorite artists like Quincy Jones, Joe Sample, Sade, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, and John Coltrane.

After relocating to Atlanta, GA when I was 1o years old, I continued in my musical journey by participating in the local church choir. In middle school, I was heavily involved in jazz band, symphonic band, and orchestra as a violinist, saxophonist, and jazz vocalist. In high school, I was encouraged to hone in on mastering one instrument. I decided to focus on saxophone (while still performing as a jazz vocalist outside of school) and later auditioned with Berklee College of Music as a saxophonist.

After attending the main campus for one year in Boston, MA, I moved back to Atlanta to continue my studies on Berklee’s online school. I had one of the best years of my life in Boston, and I didn’t want to leave but due to some financial hardships and costly expenses to live in Boston, I had to make the best of the opportunities that awaited me back in Atlanta. However, those very hardships that I experienced are the reason that I focused my attention to singing and songwriting.

With the help of some very creative individuals, I began to book performances in Atlanta, travel to different states to sing my music and mostly importantly, Release my first body of work, a seven-track my EP entitled MariBloom (released November 30th) Atlanta has brought about many blessings and I’m excited about what the future holds for my career here.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Seriously perusing a career in music can feel like walking in the dark. I guess navigating through life as a young 20 something, in general, can feel that way. Everyone tells you “You’re so young you have so much time to figure things out and find your path.” Even if that’s true, it doesn’t alleviate any of the pressure I feel to achieve my highest goals so I can take care those who have raised me to be the person I am today.

I aspire to find a complete team that I can trust and can lead to success in every level of my career. It can sometimes be difficult to find the right people to build with. I have to remind myself that these things take time and I’m grateful for the genuine friends I’ve made along the way. I’m a true believer in protecting my energy and space. Unfortunately, some people can start to change how they treat you when they see you progressing in life. This is the type of negative energy that I try to avoid. From a young age, I’ve learned the value and principle of being extremely supportive of people in their pursuits of following their dreams. There seems to be a mindset in the music industry that “There is only room for one” and I aim to prove that it is simply not true. Especially for females. We are put against and compared to each other. We don’t network as much as we should. We see so many men in the industry work together and look out for each other for opportunities to advance in their careers. If women made a practice of doing the same, we could begin to build a network so strong that it tackles the challenges of sexism we face not only in the music industry but in the workforce altogether.

Financial challenges always exist when you are trying to not only survive but to invest in your career. I’ve had to take on many odd jobs to save money for my projects but in the end its all worth it. To fully have creative control over what I do is so invigorating. I truly get to be apart of every aspect of my music career. I’ve become much more than a musician and songwriter in the last couple of years of being my own manager. This process, though frustrating at times, is giving me the insight and wisdom I need to be the CEO of my own entertainment company and label one day, and that’s worth the temporary minor financial setbacks I have experienced along the way.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Mariama Tatum story. Tell us more about the business.
I am a singer, songwriter, saxophonist, and producer. I am responsible for managing every part of my music business. As far as my approach goes, I usually work on a project by project basis, completing little projects in between until I reach my goal. My business consists of producing various types of creative content including records, photos, and music videos. Live performance is also another aspect of my business. It is my job to book shows with concert promoters for the purpose of spreading my music to new audiences. I also work with professional musicians to create exciting live show experiences.

I also run the marketing and promotion sectors of my business, from managing all of my social media to promoting concerts, reaching out to blogs for placements, Spotify playlists, etc. It is my job to not only manage all these parts of my business but to keep them expanding and moving forward to reach new heights I’ve never reached before.

The thing I am most proud of so far is my recently released EP MariBloom. The project was co-produced, written, and arranged by myself. It is a reflection of the last few years I’ve spent in Atlanta since leaving college. It is an anti-depression anthem that mostly anyone can relate to because it touches on experiences we all go through as humans. It is meant for those who are carefree, misunderstood and determined to reach their wildest dreams in life.

I believe my positive outlook and my ability to adapt set me apart from the crowd. Something I was highly criticized for in my early childhood was being a jack of all trades. I now think this helps me to oversee and manage the different parts of my business, from just purely being a musician to being my own manager.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Some people call it luck or God or the universe looking out for you, whatever it is I definitely feel like this plays a big role in life and in my business. When you put your mind to something, you start to see little things fall into place in ways that you never expected they would. When this happens to me, I know that it is a sign of encouragement to keep walking down my path. Just when you’re worn and ready to give up something is there to lift your spirits and you can see the other side of the tunnel.

The law of attraction is real. When you focus on the positive in life, it breeds more positive opportunities. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to look at the “bad” things that happen as lessons, so it doesn’t even feel like a negative experience anymore. I’ve learned more than anything from my suffering so in the end whether good or bad there is always an opportunity to be grateful for what I’m going through.

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Image Credit:
Nicole Hernandez

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