Freedom’s Rap-Artist-in-Residence shares her creativity and productivity secrets!
It may come as no great surprise to know that we are quite a productive bunch here at Freedom. We do like to practice what we preach, after all! This means that we prioritize the things that matter to us – building a great product, providing an exceptional experience, and ensuring that we preserve time for rest and play, too! Those company values, combined with our fully remote workforce, have resulted in an exceptionally interesting team, full of multi-talented, creative, and super-productive people!
We are extremely proud of the small, but mighty Freedom Family, so we thought it was about time that we share the stories of some of our awesome employees!
If you’ve tuned into the Freedom Matters podcast, you may well be familiar with the earworms, Kid Again, and Smile, lending some laid-back, positive energy to some of our episodes. But you may not have realized that these feel-good tracks are in fact by our very own Tanajah Lea, Customer Support Specialist and Rap Artist Extraordinaire!
Tanajah, who grew up in Maryland and is now based in North Carolina, has been involved in music since an early age, and her adventures in home-recording lead her to a career in tech. She now balances her day job at Freedom with her music, having recently returned from several festival performances in Europe.
‘Tanajah’ means ‘attention’ in Hindu, and with her attention-commanding live performances and meticulous dedication to providing an excellent customer experience, it seems no coincidence! Sharing her productivity secrets and advice on preserving time for creativity, may we have your attention please, for the inimitable Tanajah!
What’s your favorite thing about working at Freedom?
My favorite thing about working at Freedom is that I get to talk to people from all over the world! It is a really cool experience to be able to talk to someone from Amsterdam and then five minutes later, you’re talking to someone from Germany; I love it!
How did you end up working in both music and technology?
It all happened by chance, honestly! I’ve always been a part of music in some capacity. I started playing piano when I was three years old, Saxophone when I was nine and I picked up drumming at the same age.
When I went to high school, I gained an interest in music production and received my first digital audio workstation (DAW). I taught myself how to record and engineer myself, which eventually helped once I made the switch to Hip Hop. Learning how a computer functioned taught me how to properly use the DAW to my advantage.
Because I spent so much time working with computers, a previous employer asked if I would make the switch to Tech Support instead of working in Operations. I’ve been working in technology ever since!
What does an average day at Freedom look like for you?
The average day at Freedom for me is troubleshooting various issues. Because I have a dedicated task, my day is pretty routine. Now and then, I experience problems that are outside of my normal questions, but it is a very rare occurrence! I like this because it allows me to develop relationships with our Freedom users.
What are some of the challenges of balancing a music career with a day job?
I think the biggest challenge is balancing your time. My day has to be structured very specifically so that I can give my all to my job and give my all in my music career.
My typical day starts at 7:30 am and ends around midnight, and sometimes later if I am preparing for a big show. Having a music career is more than writing songs and performing. I have to register copyrights, register my performances with a PRO (Performing Rights Organization), plan studio sessions, video shoots, and photoshoots.
Another challenge is finding time for myself. I rarely have any downtime outside of work and music, so I do find myself missing out on time to hang out with my friends, or to grab a nice dinner with my boyfriend. It is a sacrifice that I choose to make, so I am not sad about it. However, I do hate missing out on time with my friends.
What techniques do you use to stay productive?
I am really big on making weekly and daily task lists to keep me productive. I have my list broken down by the hour, so I know how each hour of my day will be spent. This allows me to know exactly what needs to be done each day, and I plan out my entire week on Sunday so that I don’t have to plan each day every day.
What conditions or processes do you have to help guard time and space for creativity and exploration?
I like working in a dark and quiet environment. For some reason, light is a huge distraction for me, especially overhead lighting. Unless I am cooking, I typically only use blue and green LED lights as the lighting in my apartment. Those two colors have always been calming to me. I have light strips in every room in my apartment!
To protect time for creativity, I always allow myself two hours a day to be creative. Whether it is writing music, or producing a track, I allow myself that uninterrupted time to just be and to create. I am very intentional with that timeframe because being creative is a big part of who I am. On days where time can seem rushed, those two hours allow me to escape the reality of the world and allow me to be in my own creative reality.
What are your biggest distractions and how do you conquer them?
Social media is definitely my biggest distraction! In a world where your music career is based on your social presence, it can be hard to stay away. In general, I am not big on social media, but as an international performing artist, it is the best way to stay connected with supporters from all over the world.
Freedom has been the best way to tackle the distractions of social media. I only allow myself an hour and a half a day for all social platforms, and that is so that I can study the analytics of my posts so that I have a better understanding of my fanbase. I don’t know where I would be without Freedom!
What things outside of work do you consider essential to your productivity and wellbeing?
Meditation is very important to me and the first 35 minutes of my day are dedicated to that. With such a busy schedule most days, I need those 35 minutes to focus on myself! You can learn so much about yourself when you meditate.
I also have to work out for 30 minutes at least 3-4 times a week. I’ve noticed that when I am not active, my body feels sluggish and tired. I also try to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight every day – it just does something positive for my mental health!
What (or who) is your biggest inspiration?
BEYONCE! I have loved Beyonce since I was in elementary school! Before I was a Hip-Hop artist, I was a drummer and when I was a kid I always said I would grow up to be Beyonce’s drummer!
Through studying her behind-the-scenes footage, I learned how much of a hard worker she was. She is the inspiration behind my work ethic. I have always said, “If Beyonce can do all that she does in the same 24 hours I have, I can get things done too!”
What upcoming music projects and/or events do you have coming up?
I am currently working on a new project called, Vibes Never Lie that will be released in March of 2022, and I will be headed back overseas for more festival shows in 2022.
I had the pleasure of going to Denmark in 2020 and 2021 to create music and perform at some of the major festivals in the country. This year, I was fortunate enough to perform at Spot Festival, det turkise telt, Aarhus Volume, and headline my own show!
I am really excited to expand my performance opportunities throughout Europe in 2022!