Tama Gucci: Survival of the Fittest

Updated: Mar 7

A pink-haired force of creativity hustles into work, clocking in and tending to the customers in the store. Tama Gucci hammers sweat and tears into his day job, and during lunch break, he scurries to business meetings in SoHo. In these conferences, Tama’s team confer with excitement, trying to come up with a plan for the future.

The Floridian artist holds outrageous talent, letting hidden themes sprawl on the branches of their musical projects. From tamascorner, Gucci’s online selling platform, to their music, they find ways to hustle in the midst of a hectic schedule. Gucci infamously worked retail jobs in Miami, and at the same time, created a mixtape called Out of Order. This melodic project led to an opportunity with Shayne Oliver’s Anonymous Club, and also opened doors in Miami’s underground scene.

With Leo placements in their astrology chart, Gucci transpires a fiery energy into songs like “Loosen Up” and “Permission.” The singer has many achievements, but through the shimmering success, Gucci digs deep for a grounding sense of solitude.

Interviewer: In environments like Miami, survival is so key. How do you find time to rest while trying to survive?

I feel like I'm still trying to find a medium. When I was in Miami, the hustle was easier for me because I do so many things. I worked a bunch of retail jobs. I was thrifting and reselling a lot to friends and people online. I started Tamascorner, which is my own thrift store online on Instagram. That's how I was surviving. When I moved to New York, I had to pick up the pace so much faster because things are more fast-paced and more expensive. It is a hard time finding the balance between like, ‘When do I rest? Should I rest?’ Especially coming from being able to rest as much as I want to, and knowing that formula down pat. I definitely had to adjust myself. Now, it's forcing me to be on the schedule, so I can rest once I feel like my schedule is completed.

Interviewer: What did Miami look like for you?

Growing up, the picture of Miami was very- I'm trying to think of that movie. It's like an old movie and they hit a lottery ticket. I feel like Ice-T is in it. Miami Vice. That's how I imagined it in my head as a kid. Everything was sunny. Everybody was always on the beach. That is a big part of Florida. But when I started to become an adult, going out and finding my own community, it definitely was way more queer and underground, but still Miami. The underground bubble became my reality of Miami. Everything else didn't exist.

Interviewer: Do you think that your career catapulted through the underground queer scene?

Definitely. The underground scene was the first to give me the chance to perform outside of my bedroom. When I decided that I wanted to take music seriously, was when I put out my first mixtape, Out of Order. That was my debut into the world as me taking this for real. The collective called Internet Friends was the first queer, underground collective that I was experiencing at the time, to kind of give me a chance to perform. [They] also introduced me to other queers who are great musicians, beautiful models, photographers, [and] stylists. We all kind of just built upon that.

Interviewer: What did that look like, though? Like you stepping out, about to carry in the scene?

At the time, I was like, 19. I told you that I was thrifting and reselling a lot. So I would go to the thrift [and buy] something really, really cute. I would try it on in the bathroom because I'm still living at home. I couldn’t be in full-about-to carry mode. I'm in a bathroom like, ‘Okay, this is cute.’ Then I will go over to my best friend’s house, Rosie. That's where I would have my little pregame moment, get into the carry outfit, [and] go out. I lived maybe five minutes from where a lot of things were. You meet up with friends and for some reason, a party, no matter how poppin’ it was inside, will always be outside as well. The queer community is very underground. It's hard to feel comfortable outside of that bubble. So I would get to that bubble then I would unveil how I really wanted to express myself. I'm grateful to have the experience of growing up there and starting my career there.

Photo by Rory Flloyd, @badboyrory

Interviewer: I think Out of Order was really ahead of its time.

I'm glad you said that because I be feeling the same way. When I made Out of Order, I made it on GarageBand. I sang a lot of those songs straight through [and] just put it out. I feel like it's having a moment now on Tik Tok. One of the songs, ‘Lower My Shades,’ is doing its rounds on Tik Tok. I saw the streams going crazy. I was like, ‘Where's this coming from?’ Then I googled it. People were making slow-motion edits of it. I felt like it was ahead of its time and now, people are kind of appreciating it more, especially since more people are becoming familiar with who I am. So it's good to see.

Interviewer: What was your life looking like during that time?

In between that time, I was working retail, thrifting, and reselling. Then I moved to New York two years ago. I was working at a hair salon as a receptionist. The minute that I got here, I did an interview for Milk Cosmetics. Then, Christian reached out to me on behalf of Anonymous Club, and was like, ‘Hey.’ Tuesday through Saturday, in between my break, I would literally leave work on my break and hop on the train to SoHo. [I’d] have a quick meeting and then rush back. Then I would work on Tamascorner. Whether it's making jewelry or completing orders, it was a hustle.

Interviewer: How did the Anonymous Club collab come about?

I modeled for HBA in 2016 at Art Basel. That's when I met Shayne. I thought that they may have known of me. Then I believe that they saw one of my covers, and it was like, ‘Oh, we really like how you go about making music.’ It just pretty much unfolded from that. It took an entire year to lay down vocals and for everything to be completely done.

Photo by Rory Flloyd, @badboyrory

Interviewer: Your song ‘Over You’ is really good. In the song, you talk about getting over a significant other. How do you get over them?

Maybe it’s the Leo in me, but I always feel like if you don't know what you're doing, just make sure you look good. Even if you're heartbroken, just make sure you look good. If you look good, that'll bring new opportunities and new things to get your mind off of the dark place that this person has taken you to.

Interviewer: Any new projects on the horizon?

I have an EP that is scheduled. Honestly, I would love for it to come out sometime at the end of this year. But who knows, it might be the beginning of next year. I feel like I just want to kind of take it to the next level.