Songstress TaNesha Rushing, aka Tea Rush, is just one emerging artist among many in Tulsa trying to separate herself from the crowd. To that end, she’s created Rush Fest, an island-themed festival with an indoor and outdoor stage featuring more than 30 artists and musicians, including Miko The Artist, Trillary, Pade, J-Friday, Keeng Cut, and Miss Val, on July 15 at The Fur Shop.
"Rush Fest Island Summer 2017 is definitely going to be lit—a lot of love and a lot of talent—and I’m very appreciative to the people who have allowed me to be in their lives, and vice versa. I’m excited about it," Rush said.
"I just wanted to unite everybody that I’ve grown to know … and some of the people I am collaborating with on my new songs for the summer, along with other people that I’ve taken a liking to throughout this year, learning new artists and being in this new realm of people in art," Rush said.
Tea Rush grew up with a musical family, with her father, Tulsa musician Charles Rushing, being one of her biggest influences. Rushing was a blues musician who played the guitar.
"He had a band called the Soul Brothers, and he had a lot of live practices at the house, and he played a lot of instruments." she said.
Rush first made a name for herself locally by writing hooks and rapping.
"When I first met her, almost a decade ago, she was extremely shy," said Matt Le-On, a producer and conscious rap artist.
"[Matt Le-On] was like this Afro-centric, peaceful type of artist," she said. "His style introduced me to another part of music. I liked this, so I get to be more about the kings and queens and the earth and life."
A regular performer at the Situation, Rush used the open mic to help shake off her jitters before performing at J Parlé, a literary magazine, which hosts a monthly platform for artists to showcase their work.
"To see her holding down the scene and improving the music culture is a quantum leap from Ms. Anonymous to Tea Rush," Le-On said.
In October 2016, she released her debut album, All of Me—a blend of R&B and hip-hop. Its opening and closing tracks showcase her soulful, melodic voice, while in between her versatility is obvious in her sleek and groovy rap style. The album also features Mr. Burns, aka Earl Hazard, and Steph Simon.
"When I first met her, she was so shy that we had to leave the studio in order for her to record," Simon said. "I have enjoyed watching Tea grow as an artist,"
After releasing her album, she performed in live shows with Simon, and Marcus James and hosted her own live performance of All of Me. Most recently, Rush performed at Juneteenth.
Though her namesake, Rush Fest was created just as much to promote other artists as her own music.
"Expect a good time." Rush said. "… Expect to see unity amongst different cultures, and just Tulsa coming together as a music realm.
"It will be fun, love, and a very inviting environment. No one treats anyone like a stranger in that group of people and you can learn about the types of music going on in the town, from new artists to artists who have been here—and the connection and the vibe we all have together."
The Fur Shop | 520 E. 3rd St.
Sat., 7/15, 6pm ‘til last call
Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door, and VIP tickets are $45. Call 918-607-2228 or 918-892-7954 for more ticket information. Must be 21+ to attend.
For more from Eddie, read his profile of percussionist and Central High music instructor Marcus James.