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Live and In Conversation: Tiny Habits

Finishing up their “A Little Bit Farther” tour, folk-pop trio Tiny Habits spoke to Epigram about life on the road, going viral, and what comes next.

By Susie Long, Music Subeditor

Like many others, I first came across Tiny Habits on TikTok a few years ago. I have always been a massive harmony geek, and loved the way that the trio created beautifully blended vocal harmonies in their uni stairwells. Clearly, I was not alone in my enthralment as, over the last couple of years, the group’s notoriety has shot to amazing heights. I recently had the chance to talk to the trio - comprised of Maya Rae, Judah Mayowa and Cinya Khan - about their recent endeavours, including a fantastic show at Bristol’s Thekla and their debut album release.

I was lucky enough to have seen Tiny Habits once before, when they opened for Noah Kahan at the O2 Academy. It struck me then how brilliantly the band could transfix the whole room, and I was eager to see how they tackled a headline show. To my delight, the band said they were “obsessed with Bristol”, and seemed equally excited as I was about their return to the city.

From the second they stepped on stage, the group was entirely captivating. Playing a blend of older songs, tracks from their new album and beautifully selected covers including Billie Eilish and Keane, this set masterfully covered a huge range of emotions. Diffusing emotional sections with witty comments and chats with the audience, whilst providing space and time to process the intensely vulnerable feelings invoked by their songs, this show was incredibly well put together. 

True emotional vulnerability is certainly not an easy thing to capture for a mass audience, and yet Tiny Habits seems to do so effortlessly. Their newly-released debut album, All For Something, is a complete emotional rollercoaster, addressing body issues, imposter syndrome, heartbreak and so much more in a way that somehow manages to feel deeply personal and individualised. “You find that your own experience is a hundred million other people’s experience”, explained Rae, with Mayowa following up that “we encourage communication between each other and that then shows up in our songs.” 

Tiny Habits @ Thekla | Susie Long

Before they decided to start producing music as Tiny Habits, the group were students at Berklee Music College in Boston, recording videos for fun and posting them on social media. “It’s a surreal change”, explained Mayowa, “we actually did all that stuff and it wasn’t a dream”. I think when you listen to Tiny Habits’ music, this professional background and training totally comes across. I am always impressed by how beautifully their songs are arranged, layering vocals and overlapping harmonies in an amazing way - it’s obvious that the trio know what they’re doing technically. “It can be helpful, having the technical perspective,” Khan described, “but sometimes it’s paralysing - you can really intellectualise every decision”. “We’ve been learning to stick to our intuition and be okay with it”, echoed Mayowa, “and to stop over-critiquing our work after sitting with it for so long.”

Truthfully, I don’t think I have anything that I could critique about All For Something, and I am definitely not alone in that. During their sold out set at Thekla, the entire crowd was engrossed in everything the band did. Every song was greeted with excitement and applause - with people singing every word to songs that had only been released two days earlier.

There are so many moments that I could claim as highlights from this gig, but one sticks out more than the rest. Joined on stage by the night’s support act, Shallow Alcove, the group performed a gut-wrenching rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Landslide’. Turning the microphones and amps off, this cover was completely acoustic, simply voices, guitars and a banjo. Singing along to that song with 450 other people was magical and, I won’t lie, made me well up a little. Without getting too cheesy, it felt like a real testament to how songs can bring people together, and was an incredibly moving part of the night. 

#fleetwoodmac ♬ original sound - Shallow Alcove

Tiny Habits really are a phenomenal band, and definitely one to watch out for. They have grown so much in the last couple of years, from students in a dorm room to international recording artists, and I don’t see this trajectory changing any time soon. The band have recently released more dates for shows in North America, and will hopefully be returning to the UK soon too. It’s great to see them, as Mayowa put it, “getting their shoes a little dirty”, and I’m excited to see what they achieve next.

Featured Image: Tyler Krippaehne