Multi award-winning, chart-topping urban artist TY (Tyree Tautogia) has travelled a long and winding road since his early days making mixtapes in South Auckland with fellow Smashproof members Deach and Sid Diamond.
TY’s new music project (which is being produced with the support of NZ On Air) carries themes of love and support throughout, which reflects his positive state of mind after a tumultuous 2 years in which things weren’t so rosy in his personal life. With TY’s new music, he also showcases more of the singing abilities that have seen him reach the top of the charts, rather than being ‘TY the rapper’.
Behind the scenes of his successful album ‘ONE HUNDRED’, the pressure TY put on himself to live up to a reputation of a big shot artist from the streets of South Auckland had some detrimental effects on the way he was living.
“It’s tough, everyone thinks you’re rich for starters… but the pressure to live up to expectations the image conscious music industry places on you messes with your ego, and your perceptions about what’s important. Being a rap artist means being tough and full of bravado”.
With a young family to support and constant pressure to live up to a status, TY lost his way, and was saved by the love of his wife, his children and his church. In his new music he shows a more sensitive side, and talks of the man he wants to be, rather than the man he is expected to be.
A Papatoetoe native of Niuean descent, TY was spotted by hip-hop producer Juse (Justin Ferguson) in 2004. Recognising his talent after seeing a video of TY’s on Maori Television, Juse linked up and set about recording demos with him and developing his talents as a rapper, songwriter, musician and producer. Subsequently on a visit to the US Juse took the opportunity to play the demos to NYC NZ-expat music executive Kirk Harding. Within a week the pair had planned a record label - Move The Crowd - with TY as the first signing and Smashproof following quickly after.
Smashproof became a household name in 2009 with their triple-platinum smash hit ‘Brother’ featuring Gin Wigmore. The track made New Zealand history, breaking a 23-year record (which it still retains) by becoming the longest running #1 by any local artist on the NZ Top 40 Singles Chart with 11 weeks at the top of the chart. The trio’s debut album, THE WEEKEND, was released the same year, peaking at #3 on the New Zealand Top 40 Albums chart, with three consecutive top twenty singles. Smashproof went on to win three New Zealand Music Awards in 2009; ‘People’s Choice’, ‘Highest Selling Single’ and ‘Best Video’ with director Chris Graham.
Over the past ten years TY has firmly established himself as a solo artist, clocking up over eight million views and streams on YouTube and Spotify, across three albums; NOW OR NEVER, MOTIVATION and ONE HUNDRED.
TY has toured extensively throughout New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific, gaining an extensive fan base, including opening for Jay-Z on the Australian leg of his tour, and picked up ‘Best Male Artist’ at the Australasian Urban Music Awards in 2007. TY started his own label in 2010, Empire Records, signing artists such as Cody Wave, bKIDD and Tazman Jack.
With the release of his third solo album in 2017, having full creative control and freedom for the first time was inspiration behind the record and its title, ‘ONE HUNDRED’. The album featured the hits ‘Turn Me On’ featuring PT, ‘It’s Nothin’ featuring Donell Lewis, ‘All The Way’ featuring Pieter T and Donnell Lewis, along with ‘No Option’ featuring Manu Crook$ and ‘Discovery’ featuring Mikey Mayz.
Outside of music, TY has worked as a teacher aide at Auckland’s Rosehill Intermediate School, and has a passion for his children as well as fitness training.