Premiere: Tafari Anthony Dives into Love on Empowering Debut Album ‘When I Met Your Girlfriend’

Tafari Anthony © Joshua Rille
Tafari Anthony © Joshua Rille
Toronto’s Tafari Anthony discusses music, polyamory, and his breathtakingly bold debut album ‘When I Met Your Girlfriend’ – an empowered, liberating, and unapologetic embrace of love’s endless depths.
Stream: “Heart Race” – Tafari Anthony




It can be quite rewarding and inspiring to see people who are able to love freely without boundaries or confines of what we’re told romantic relationships should look like.

Breathtakingly bold and achingly unapologetic, Tafari Anthony’s debut album is an exhilarating embrace of love, intimacy, and connection.

The Toronto singer/songwriter has always poured his full self into his art, but never has he sounded as vulnerable, as raw, or as refined as he does on When I Met Your Girlfriend. Diving headfirst into his relationships and explorations with polyamory, Anthony delivers his heart on a platter through sixteen vivid, visceral, and emotionally charged indie pop songs that seamlessly blend catchy melodies with cathartic and confessional lyricism.

The result is a soul-stirring, seductive record that feels at once liberated and empowered – driven by raw passion and drawing from real life experience, Tafari Anthony bares it all as he finds his stride, soaring through love’s beautiful, endless depths on When I Met Your Girlfriend.

When I Met Your Girlfriend - Tafari Anthony
When I Met Your Girlfriend – Tafari Anthony
I took the train to Etobicoke
Wanted so hard not to let it go
Overthinking every note you wrote
Boy you got me f’ed up
Maybe it’s just insecurities
Redirecting everything I see
I wanna chill, and just let you be
Lost in my emotions
I’d rather wait a week for a good answer
Than get the wrong one in a hurry, sir
So, take your time in the moment
Just take your time
You make my heart race
Butterflies, so alive,
got me acting stupid, b
ut I like it
You make my heart racе
Hypnotized by your eyes,
don’t know what wе doing, b
ut I like it

Released November 10, 2023 via 604 Records, When I Met Your Girlfriend is a stunning best-foot-forward for Tafari Anthony that hits harder and harder the more you listen. Active in the music community for the past seven years, Anthony is already a mainstay of our pages: In featuring his third EP, The Way You See Me, in 2020, we praised the Toronto artist for “unveiling intimate moments through a soaring immersion of evocative dance pop, R&B, and soul.”

Today, Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for When I Met Your Girlfriend‘s sophomore single “Heart Race,” a song that has quite literally become the beating heart of this majestic and ambitious endeavor over recent months. A buoyant, infectiously danceable song about falling in love, the track sees Anthony reflecting on an unexpected – but welcome – new romance.

Tafari Anthony © Joshua Rille
Tafari Anthony © Joshua Rille



The album takes you on a journey of self-discovery. Falling in love in new ways, and an eventual heartbreak or two.

“‘Heart Race’ is that pivotal moment when you are getting to know somebody and you’re starting to feel all the romantic feels. Neither of you have really defined it, but you both definitely feel it,” he tells Atwood Magazine. “I was dating this guy and things moved very quickly, but yet seemed like the right pace. It was my first experience dating somebody outside of my husband and so of course it was very scary but also quite exciting. This man was actually the one who opened my eyes up to my more polyamorous side. Though in hindsight I think I’ve always kind of had this mindset when it comes to relationships, but maybe not the words or examples to apply it to my life. When I met him, I let him know exactly where I stood, and I knew that he was polyamorous, but that wasn’t where my head was at initially. He started calling me his partner very quickly and it just felt good, so I went with it. I guess you could say he made my heart race.”

Last night when you held my hand
A small gesture never felt so grand
One kiss, and now I’m your man
Scared but we still fall in
So I leave, and it’s undefined
But that’s okay, ‘cause you live on my mind
Just lay your body right next to mine
Don’t matter what we call it

Directed by Matthew Miller, “Heart Race” is the second part of a three-video arc (starting with “Doesn’t Have To Be So Hard“) that narrates the love story of the two leads, portrayed by Anthony and Lyle Chan.

“I really wanted the video for “Heart Race” to feel fun, light, and heartwarming,” Anthony explains. “I wanted to stick true to the stories and show what a polyamorous relationship could look like. I think a lot of people assume it’s very complicated and awkward. Of course, it can be sometimes, but I don’t necessarily think it has to be. In this video you basically get to see one of my partners meeting another partner and how “normal” something like that could be. I think the more we can normalize alternative styles of relationships, the less people will be afraid of it and the more people will question what they actually want for their lives.”

I’d rather wait a week for a good answer
Than get the wrong one in a hurry, sir
So, take your time in the moment
Just take your time





Anthony “meticulously co-produced” the entirety of his album together with a suite of producers (including his longtime collaborators Brandon Unis & Bradley J. Simons), bringing his artistic vision to life through every aspect of the record.

“At no point in creating this was I trying to fit some kind of trend, trying to really impress anybody but myself, or saying or doing anything that I didn’t stand by,” he says.

While making this album felt like something akin to a musical diary – Anthony wrote many of these songs in real time as his life was unfolding – now that it’s out, his ultimate hope is that his music helps others feel seen, similarly empowered, and comfortable to exist in their true skins.

“I feel like there was a full story to tell here,” he shares. “I hope when people listen to the album, they feel seen and feel that it’s okay not to just be one version of themselves. We’re multifaceted as humans and the album doesn’t just span one genre or vibe. It may seem all over the place musically, but it’s just an honest representation of what I enjoy and what feels good to me. I think people should do more of that; what feels good to you, what makes sense to you rather than what you feel people want from you or what you feel like you need to be doing.”

You make my heart race
Butterflies, so alive,
got me acting stupid, b
ut I like it
You make my heart race
Hypnotized by your eyes,
don’t know what we doing, b
ut I like it
You make my heart race
Tafari Anthony © Joshua Rille
Tafari Anthony © Joshua Rille



Blaze your own trail, march to the beat of your own drum, and most of all, live unapologetically.

That’s the message of Tafari Anthony’s When I Met Your Girlfriend, and it’s as good a reason as any to listen to this breathtakingly bold debut. Atwood Magazine caught up with Anthony, one of our 2023 artists to watch, to chat about music, polyamory, and more. Feel the love in our interview below, watch the “Heart Race” music video exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and be sure to listen to When I Met Your Girlfriend in full on your preferred music service.

“This album is the best version of everything that I have done so far,” Anthony smiles.

“It’s unapologetically me.”

— —

:: stream/purchase When I Met Your Girlfriend here ::
:: connect with Tafari Anthony here ::
‘When I Met Your Girlfriend’ – Tafari Anthony



A CONVERSATION WITH TAFARI ANTHONY

When I Met Your Girlfriend - Tafari Anthony

Atwood Magazine: Hey Tafari, thanks so much for this catch-up around the premiere! For starters, congratulations on the release of your debut album! If you don't mind sharing, what's the story behind When I Met Your Girlfriend?

Tafari Anthony: Thank you so much, Mitch! It’s been such a wild time releasing this album. Musically it’s been done for a while, so it always feels a bit surreal that it’s out in the world now. The album is kind of like a musical diary. I was writing in real time as my life was unfolding, and I was exploring polyamory for the last few years. Typically, I’ve written from experiences in the past or from friends’ experiences, so this was a much different approach for me to have the time and space to be writing songs as everything was unfolding. The 16 songs actually span about four relationships, though there is one relationship specifically that spans the majority of the album.

The album's title – When I Met Your Girlfriend – is already so intoxicating. What inspired this name, and how, for you, does it capture the spirit of these songs?

Tafari Anthony: I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what a title would be for this project. I wanted something that was clearly queer and would at least allude to the idea of polyamory without being so blatantly obvious. This line was actually something I had sitting in my notes for a while and I ended up putting it into the very last song I wrote for the album, “Steady, Waiting, Hoping.” Even then I probably went months with a long list of titles trying to figure out what could capture the spirit of the album. As I was narrowing down I realized that I had written this title or some version of this title about five times in that list. At that point it just became obvious that this was where my head was at and I felt it had a good ring to it, it would evoke a lot of questions, and I felt like it perfectly captured the feeling of the project.

You released three stunning EPs before this epic 16-track record. How does your LP differ from those EPs – did you know you were in the midst of a larger project as you were making it?

Tafari Anthony: Thank you so much, you’re always so kind! I don’t think I’ve said this publicly but I’ve definitely said it to a couple friends in passing; I feel like this album is the best version of everything that I have done so far. What I mean by that is I feel like those three EPs all kind of explored different sides of myself musically, but for me they definitely feel like exploration. I completely stand behind all that work and I still love them, but I had a better sense of myself, and what I wanted to sound like on this project and so I trusted myself more when it came to every aspect of it.

The project started off as an EP collaboration with Brandon Unis and Bradley J. Simons. At the top of 2020 when I was releasing The Way You See Me, I was already writing new music. By the time Brandon and Bradley approached me I felt like I knew I was ready for a full length album but the reality is always, where’s the money?! They offered me an opportunity to work on 6 songs together to do an EP so I decided to go with that. But I told myself that if I were to find more support I would expand it into an album. Thankfully that happened and that brings us to where we are now.

“OPEN, PASSIONATE, & SMOOTH”: TAFARI ANTHONY STUNS & SOARS ON ‘THE WAY YOU SEE ME’ EP

:: FEATURE ::



Obviously I've known you and your art for quite a while now, but how do you feel When I Met Your Girlfriend introduces you and captures your artistry to our readers who may not be familiar with the Tafari Anthony oeuvre?

Tafari Anthony: Well, I think the album is unapologetically me. At no point in creating this was I trying to fit some kind of trend, trying to really impress anybody but myself, or saying or doing anything that I didn’t stand by. So, I actually believe those who are discovering me for the first time will discover a lot about me through this album – musically, and also through the stories.

This record sees you transcending whatever genres might have been previously used to define your art. How do you describe your sound these days?

Tafari Anthony: I never know how to describe my genre, and that’s the truth. We need a genre that is just, “This is how I feel, so this is what you’re gonna get!” I never want to be an artist that feels stuck within one sound. All the artists that I really love are able to jump genres whenever they feel like it and do them in ways that still feel like them.

But since we’re in a world where things need to be categorized, I’d say the best place for me is Indie Pop. This genre is kind of like a singer-songwriter with more pop sensibilities, but also the freedom to be more edgy and explore outside of the confines of the soundscapes of a traditional singer-songwriter and pop artist.

Who or what were your “north stars” while you were making this album? Did you have any reference points or ideas, a vision for what you were seeking to create?

Tafari Anthony: Honestly when I first started writing this album I was just trying to process my life. There wasn’t really a moment where I thought it needs to be this or needs to be that; it just needed to be. Once I started diving more into the production of course we had references and I had referenced artists like Daniel Bedingfield, Kacey Musgraves, John Legend, Tayla Parx, and much more! The references were as eclectic as I hope this album feels. As it was coming together, I knew I wanted the album to feel grand, big and expensive! But at the start of the process I try to let the songs dictate to me what they need to be before diving into all that.

Tafari Anthony © Joshua Rille
Tafari Anthony © Joshua Rille



“Heart Race” has already emerged as a fan favorite – and in many ways, this song is like the beating heart of the record, situated dead center in the middle of the album. What inspired this position, and where does this song fall, for you, on the wider spectrum of this album?

Tafari Anthony: “Heart Race” is that pivotal moment that everyone can relate to. We’ve all had at least one moment where we are dating somebody or just starting to talk to somebody and you can feel that it’s developing for you and you can kind of feel that it’s also developing for them, but nobody wants to say the thing. It can be very scary too open up your heart and also show yourself to others in a way that once they see you it can’t be taken back. Or once those words I said you also can’t take those back. So it can be very easy to just live int he “what ifs” as opposed to laying it all out on the line where you become much more vulnerable.

I’m so glad you caught the positioning of this song on the album because I spent, no lie, months working out the play order for the record! So, “Heart Race” is at the middle of the album because after that moment is when everything shifted. It was the moment where I could no longer hide how I was feeling, nor could he. And this is where a lot of that turmoil started because one of us was much more open and willing to do the thing while the other, and this is just an educated speculation because I’ll probably never get the real story from him, scared himself out of love. Which totally sucks for me but made for a great album, so hey, here we go!

You've said this song is that pivotal moment when you start having all the romantic feels. Can you talk about what it was like to write this song, and how you went about bringing these feelings to life through your music?

Tafari Anthony: This will sound weird, but a lot of this album I honestly can barely remember writing because so much of it was just me singing out what I was feeling. This was one of my first Zoom writing sessions I had with an amazing writer, Breagh Isabel. Pretty well as most songwriting sessions go we just started to talk about life and what was happening and we landed on this because at that moment I was really starting to fall for this guy and unsure of how to tell him. Also trying to navigate this feeling of being super lovey-dovey, it’s odd for me! I’m very much a realist and I can be an affectionate person, but it had been a long time since I had felt that very giddy new kinda love. So, saying something like “butterflies, so alive, got me acting stupid,” just felt like it captured that new love feeling where you’re all of a sudden doing things you wouldn’t typically do, but it feels good even though odd.

Your music video is also incredibly fun – a smile-inducing visual to complement your music. What message do you hope your audience takes from this video?

Tafari Anthony: Overall, I just wanted to normalize seeing a polyamorous relationship in this video. It can feel very taboo because most people are not practicing this style of love, as far as we know, but it can be quite rewarding and inspiring to see people who are able to love freely without boundaries or confines of what we’re told romantic relationships should look like.



I really love your vocal performance, and the powerful harmonies going on throughout “Fumble.” Do you mind sharing more about that song, and how it came about?

Tafari Anthony: Thank you so much! This is probably the height of my frustration with previously talked about relationship. At this point communication was so sparse and what I was being told versus how he was acting just was not adding up. This is probably the moment I should have given up on that relationship and ended it myself but hey, you live and you learn. The song feels like it’s always on the edge of breaking because that’s exactly how I was feeling at that time. Unsure if we were still dating or not dating. Unsure if we were just giving him some space or if space meant something else. Obviously being Poly you don’t ever have someone’s full time, but for things to work properly you have to communicate. If you don’t have communication you have nothing.



This album is also bookended by two stunning songs – “Hurting, Too” and “S'posed to Go.” Can you talk about the journey you take us on from one end to the other, and why you picked these two tracks as the album's beginning and end?

Tafari Anthony: Those two songs funny enough are not about the person who the majority of this album was about. So, in just that alone it felt like they needed to be a little bit separated from everything else. I think in “Hurting, Too” you hear and feel a yearning for something more. Then the album takes you on a journey of self-discovery. Falling in love in new ways, and an eventual heartbreak or two. I ended with “S’posed To Go” because it’s actually the only time I directly say anything about being non-monogamous, whereas in “Hurting, Too,” it’s alluded to the desire, but not said explicitly.



One thing I've always loved about your songwriting is that you put so much care into your lyrics, while maintaining a very pop-skewed sound –– there's not a lot of smart pop music out there, but I've always considered you to be part of that club. Do you mind sharing some of your favorite lyrics and the lines that resonate most, for you, on this album?

Tafari Anthony: High compliments! Thank you much! Okay, one of my favourites is from “You Could Have It” – I guess it’s my destiny / Child, I never been so turnkey. I really had fun with some wordplay on that song. This was one of moments I felt so impressed with myself!

One that really resonates with me is from “S’posed To Go” – How could I play the role and not see that you’d always go? So often I look at my life and it feels like I’m watching someone else unfolding. I think because I get so caught up in the present and just pushing things forward it doesn’t always feel like I’m taking note of everything that surrounds me in the moment.



Do you have any definitive favorites or personal highlights off this record? What, for you, are the “sleeper” hits and the deeper cuts that you hope fans will discover in time?

Tafari Anthony: It’s always hard to pick a favourite, and especially on this project its always changing. Right now, my favourite is “Don’t Say What” – maybe it’s the change in season, but this one feels like the transition into winter for me. It’s warm yet there’s a bit of sadness starting to creep in.

I think a sleeper hit may be “Maybe It’s Just Me” or “You Could Have It.” Both of these songs started out as pretty different vibes and I ended up really flipping the sounds of them when it came to production. But I feel like they both could work in various styles and that makes them hit worthy to moi!



What do you hope listeners ultimately take away from When I Met Your Girlfriend? What have you taken away from creating it and now putting it out?

Tafari Anthony: I hope people will appreciate the album as a whole body of work. I know we’re definitely in a singles culture and many people will think I’m crazy for putting out an album, and frankly sometimes I think, what is the point? But truly it just felt right to do it this way and part of that is because I feel like there was a full story to tell here. I hope when people listen to the album, they feel seen and feel that it’s okay not to just be one version of themselves. We’re multifaceted as humans and the album doesn’t just span one genre or vibe. It may seem all over the place musically, but it’s just an honest representation of what I enjoy and what feels good to me. I think people should do more of that; what feels good to you, what makes sense to you rather than what you feel people want from you or what you feel like you need to be doing.

Last question –– who are you listening to these days, that you would recommend to our readers?

Tafari Anthony: A staple on my headphones is Lydia Persaud’s Moody31 and honestly, her first album as well! Just perfectly crafter music and a tone that you can’t help but be drawn into. Begonia’s Powder Blue… I can’t even say much more than just to go run and listen and thank me later! And a third that has stayed in rotation for me is SZA’s S.O.S.

— —

:: stream/purchase When I Met Your Girlfriend here ::
:: connect with Tafari Anthony here ::



— — — —

When I Met Your Girlfriend - Tafari Anthony

Connect to Tafari Anthony on
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Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Joshua Rille

:: Stream Tafari Anthony ::



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