ROOKIE of the Year

The freshmen of 2017 made an impression in the local music territory that won’t soon be forgotten, not if they have anything to say about it. Leading the way has been singer/songwriter Tabi P, born Tabetha Pecina in Toledo, Ohio on the 4th of July, 1992. Independence has been a recurring theme in her life and career from Day One, and that fierceness of spirit is reflected in her music.

“My music touches on sensitive topics that relate to unstable or blunt emotions,” she writes in an email. “We have classified it as pop rock because, while they’re easy to dance to and relate to the pop genre, our electric guitars are dominant in each of our songs.” She moved to Jacksonville at age 10, coming and going several times in the subsequent 15 years. She started playing the piano when she was 12, but while she’s dabbled in singing from childhood, she’s been doing so professionally for only the past year—and what a rookie year she’s had.

It all began with the single “Memories” by Classick, which she counts as her formal introduction to the scene. In 2017, she performed at a number of local spots including Rain Dogs, Nighthawks, Jack Rabbits, 1904 Music Hall, Edward Waters College, GoJo’s Coffee House and Hoptinger, in addition to gigs in Miami and Tallahassee. She appeared on The Grizzly Vets’ single “The Summer Ain’t Over,” which also featured Mal Jones, Jason Plus One and Higher Learning. “DJ Shotgun has been a brother from the beginning,” she says, “and you can definitely be on the lookout for future collabs.” She also landed a prime spot, opening for Kitty [Pryde] back in October, as well as being part of the epic “Queens of the Night” collective.

Her first single, “Crazy,” made a strong impression on local audiences, with a hilarious video (shot in San Marco in just one day) depicting Tabi as a bridesmaid, going nuts on a would-be competitor for the affections of her man. “‘Crazy’ touches on the subject of jealousy,” she says. “So many people deal with jealousy on an everyday basis and in this song, the girl goes crazy just at the sight of any other girl approaching her guy. It’s been nicknamed ‘The Girlfriend Song’.”

The other guitarist in her group is Antionio “AyeVii” Zimmerman, also a veteran of the local scene, and the two musicians have quickly achieved a sort of telepathic rapport with each other, onstage and off. “We have known each other for almost two-and-a-half years,” she writes, “and it’s been a #RockstarLyfeStyle journey lol, but our love for our music and community has us on this mission to grow a musical empire and introduce the world to the language of music.” It’s a language in which she has fluency, fusing influence and crossing genres with ease.

“The highlight in my music career so far was me releasing ‘Crazy’ at our Roof Top Party in June,” she says. “It was a dream come true and it motivated me to keep going higher and higher.” Another key source of motivation is her son, Aaron, who just turned three. “He gave me courage to do things I thought were impossible of me, like sing professionally, go back to school, leave an abusive relationship, and find out who I was and what I wanted out of life. He is my angel.” Ever the forward-thinker, she’s actively planning his future, having already started his college fund, even though he doesn’t yet know what college is.

The weeks and months ahead are looking to be a time of explosive personal and professional growth. “We have a vault full of songs ready to be recorded,” she says, 10 of which will be featured on her debut EP, Heart On My Sleeve, which is slated for release on her 26th birthday in 2018. Before all that, though, she’s planning a New Year’s Eve blowout party (at an as-yet undisclosed location), and a Once in a Lifetime Fairy Tale Ball in February; the details for both can be had by hitting her up on social media, where so much work gets done these days. It’s been a busy year for Tabi P, but she’s just getting started.