Today’s Song: London’s Tertia May Lights “The Fire” with Smoldering Hot & Soulful Passion

Tertia May
Tertia May
Smoldering R&B and soulful passion awaken in Tertia May’s “The Fire,” an irresistible, intoxicating assertion of self that inspires us to stay true to ourselves, rise above the fray, and bring our dreams to life.
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Stream: “The Fire” – Tertia May




There’s something inspiring about seeing (or hearing) an artist own their ambition: Of bearing witness to that unapologetic can-dowill-dodon’t-try-to-stop-me attitude that blazes its own trail, come hell or high water, no matter what obstacles lie in the way. It’s not about hubris vs. humility; it’s about self-confidence and drive, pursuing your craft and truly believing in yourself. These sentiments are infectious, and when done right, they pay it forward – encouraging young artists to stay with it, keep pushing themselves, and never give up.

This holds especially true for Tertia May’s latest single, which expertly balances laid-back vibes with uncompromising tenacity. Smoldering R&B and soulful passion awaken in “The Fire,” an irresistible, intoxicating assertion of self that inspires us to stay true to ourselves, rise above the fray, and bring our dreams to life.

The Fire - Tertia May
The Fire – Tertia May
Money moves yeh that’s where you’ll find me,
I just wanna stack my paper make some P’s,
I ain’t compromising nothing for my dream, no.
I’m working hard on getting paid,
You drink and get laid,
Out every weekend wonder why you’re still in pain,
Gotta keep the focus read my bible every day,
I keep turning page, while you’re still at your age.
There’s a place we can go, it’s a mighty place.

Released September 15, 2021, “The Fire” is the lead single off Tertia May’s forthcoming EP, TM Radio (out November 12th via Twisted Hearts Records). An increasingly ever-present voice in South London’s R&B and neo-soul scene (in addition to her own releases, she recently featured on Jake Isaac’s Honesty and Folamour’s The Journey), Tertia May is a powerhouse of raw sound and emotional fervor alike. Her first two EPs – 2018’s Kind of Purple and 2019’s Not from concentrate – see a multifaceted artistry blending sounds and bending genre boundaries, exploring everything from personal growth and identity to loss, love, anxiety, purpose, and more through colorful, expressive and substance-driven lyrics.

Tertia May © Mark Hilton
Tertia May © Mark Hilton



Her first offering since early 2020’s Mahogany Sessions cover of Queen’s “Cool Cat” (taken from 1982’s Hot Space), “The Fire” is a radiant burst of inner drive immersed in waves of heated hip-hop production (courtesy of May’s longtime collaborator, lo-fi producer and co-writer Subculture). Subdued trumpets and glistening pianos coalesce with bustling bass work, old-school hip-hop samples, and a strikingly dramatic drum kit to create an absorptive, relaxed lounge experience: When May first begins to sing, one can’t help but imagine her glowing in a dimly-lit, smoky room. “I ain’t compromising nothing for my dream, no.

A vessel of emotion and beacon of clarity, her soulful voice penetrates the hazy funk, hitting the ears with an intimate immediacy. There’s no distance at all between artist and listener here as May spills herself into an introspective reverie, shining bright in a groovy, bold, and self-assured chorus:

Yo who is coming for the, who is coming for the flame?
I’ma occupy the fire I’ma stack em higher, I’ma make a change
Yeh who is coming for the, who is coming for the flame?
I’ma occupy the fire I’ma stack em higher, I’ma make a change

“Before I had even written any words to this song, we started playing around with the beat, which automatically came with this fiery, attitude, hip-hop kinda feel,” May tells Atwood Magazine. “In the session, Subculture and I were discussing the future of my career and what I want it to look like. We touched on how it can be difficult to stay focused on your craft when we live in a society that just lives for the weekend, and how even the closest ones to you can become bitter and jealous of the lifestyle that you live. I guess this song is my alter ego giving sass to the ‘haters’. I like to think that my drive to be successful in my career is the forefront of everything I do, so this song is a take on that; ‘who is coming for flame?’ is my bite back.”

Tertia May © Mark Hilton
Tertia May © Mark Hilton



I like to think that my drive to be successful in my career is the forefront of everything I do, so this song is a take on that; ‘who is coming for flame?’ is my bite back.

We each ride at our own pace,
Don’t stop this length I’m waved yeh
You just mad cos I sold out all my shows
You can watch me through your phone,
When you’re in your house alone
And your girlfriend ain’t giving you what you want.
Cos I been thinking about this on the daily,
You can’t break me,
Jealousy doesn’t really suit you baby (yeh).
It’s been a little crazy lately (yeh).
I’ve seen a couple things like (yeh).
Even lost a couple a friends (yeh).
When you step please step correct (yeh).
(Next time you go outside,
remember you walk in the shadow of my thunder)

As she relates, “The Fire” is like May’s very own “Shake It Off”: A personal anthem of self-worth that denies the naysayers their airspace, doubling down on the artist’s own convictions. “You can’t break me,” May explains candidly, the words slipping out like melting gold off her tongue. “Jealousy doesn’t really suit you, baby. It’s been a little crazy lately…” Later on in the verse, a deep pitched-down voice says simply, “Next time you go outside, remember you walk in the shadow of my thunder.” Tertia May is here to stay; she’s not going anywhere but up.

Heralding a new era of sorts for May, “The Fire” is both the glimmer and the spark – a profound expression of artistic integrity that sets the stage for her forthcoming third EP, TM Radio. Listeners can look forward to more undeniable, exceptional soul-stirring songs in the months to come. Now that “The Fire” is lit, it’s sure to burn for a long, long time.

Yeh who is coming for the, who is coming for the flame?
I’ma occupy the fire I’ma stack em higher, I’ma make a change
Yeh who is coming for the, who is coming for the flame?
I’ma occupy the fire I’ma stack em higher, I’ma make a change
Mind your business, you cannot decide
How I do this crazy thing called life
I’ll be in the swimming pool, with some good friends
You’ll be at the yard being depressed
Cos you’ve invested time in your interest into my life.

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:: stream/purchase “The Fire” here ::
Stream: “The Fire” – Tertia May



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The Fire - Tertia May

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📸 © Mark Hilton


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