Over the last two years, Tiffany Majette, aka Orion Sun, has become renowned for delicate melodies that are often offset by poignant lyrics about grief, faith and queerness.
Her latest single dirty dancer is a sweet, soul-soothing ballad about the emotional to-and-fro of going through a tough break-up. In her typically tender vocal style, the 26-year-old croons: “I’m a dirty dancer /If only I could pull my pants up /I just wanna be the one you want to dance with,” alongside seductively smooth guitar playing.
“I was in a certain state of mind with regards to a break-up I had around October last year,” she says of the song, Zooming in from her cosy-looking studio in Brooklyn. “A lot of things were leading up to that moment, and I feel like I Iearned a lot about myself.”
The Philadelphia-born musician’s new EP Getaway was largely inspired by notes Majette kept in her diary. “I’ve always been repulsed by narcissism, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised that self-esteem is really important,” she explains. “That has definitely trickled down into my art, trying to get my shit together like, ‘look, what makes my flaws amazing is that I’m working on changing them!’”
To celebrate her EP’s release, we quizzed Majette about growing up in Philly, artistic growth and her signature recipes. Get your 100% fill below.
10% Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?
I was born in Philly, my mum always says during the blizzard of ’96. She didn’t even know she was going to make it there, but I’m happy she did. I was born in the cold. Then I was raised in South Jersey, and I’m really grateful for that, even though I had a lot of angst growing up. It really connected me to nature, which is something that hasn’t left me. Now, I’m based in Brooklyn, New York. After living in South Jersey, I did move back to Philly for a while and that’s where I found myself creatively. But coming to New York was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
20% At what point did you realise you’d be able to do what you love for a living?
My music teacher passed away in 2012. I keep a picture of him up here in my studio. That was the summer going into my junior year. It wasn’t a matter of like, “Oh, I can do this”, but more that he saw something in me. We were going to work together that summer, but something happened and he died.
I started skipping school, nothing really mattered anymore. Then something just clicked. My mum was like, you need to get up, go for a walk, go outside. When I was working myself out of that situation, I was writing a lot of poetry. I wrote a poem about the whole situation and the principal at my school asked me to share it with some of the other teachers. I couldn’t contain it. That’s when I knew that art and writing was the best form of communication for me. I felt like I had an angel with me at that point and I didn’t want to do anything else. I tried doing other stuff, I had multiple jobs, but music was the only thing that stuck.
30% What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?
“Decide what kind of artist you want to be.”
40% What kind of artist do you want to be?
I want to be free and to set my own standards.
50% Love, like, hate?
One thing I love very, very much is my dog Corduroy. I like going for walks by myself. I hate waiting in line. It’s a problem for me. I’ve been known to put everything back on the shelf in the grocery store if the line is too long.
60% If you’re cooking food to impress someone, what will you make?
Tacos. I make pico de gallo and guacamole from scratch. That’s going to go over amazingly. Also, some of the best food I know how to make is breakfast food. My grandma also taught me how to make the best french toast. So either breakfast or tacos!
70% You rule the world for a day. What went down?
I would put soda in all the water fountains! I remember some kid said that when he was running for “office” in like third grade, and everyone voted for him. On a serious note, it’d be really cool to just get the healthcare thing out of the way. That would be the first port of call. Like, what the fuck, America? Then I’d force Jeff Bezos to end world hunger or he will be abandoned in space.
80% What’s the strangest DM you’ve received?
Most of them make me happy, but one of them was like, “Can you pay for my piloting school? I’m Black and this is really important.” Then they were like, “Just kidding, can you send me $700?” I didn’t respond but I have a PayPal link on my Instagram and they actually requested that money from me on there. Weird!
90% If you could go back and watch one musical act in a specific era of their career, who would it be and why?
OK, I’ve got three, I’ve got to break the rules. In no particular order: Lauryn Hill at her peak, before MTV Unplugged. I’d need to see Miseducation. Then Billie Holiday – I’m obsessed and she’s my grandma’s favourite, too. Minus the racism and everything, it would be amazing to be in that suave space, just sitting in front of Billie. Strange Fruits would have been way different to hear back then than it is now. It would have felt almost illegal. My last one would be Kanye West in his 808s & Heartbreak era. I wish him the best right now. But I can’t deny how important that album is in my own musical history.
100% How do you feel you’ve evolved creatively over the last couple of years?
I feel like I’ve allowed myself to be helped. I also have gotten a little less precious with things when it makes sense to. I’m still very precious about a lot of the things that I make, but for instance, I’m not the best bass player. So I’m at a stage in my artistry now where unless I want to, I’m going to source that, which has changed my creative process tremendously.