Electro-pop artist and harpist TATYANA (AKA Tatyana Phillips) has lived in Holland, Russia, Singapore, and Boston – where she attended Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship – before settling back in her hometown of London. The transient nature of her upbringing has certainly informed her musical career: from underground raves to viral YouTube covers to playing harp on tour with Neneh Cherry, there seems to be no scene that she doesn’t thrive in. Her debut album Treat Me Right is the irresistible product of these experiences; a sparkling, catchy collection of '80s synths and futuristic auto-tuned vocals that fuses her classical harp training with her keen sense for pop production and songwriting.
After releasing her debut EP Shadow On The Wall via Sinderlyn to critical acclaim in 2020, Tatyana set to work on her full-length debut, writing the majority of the tracks on Treat Me Right in just two weeks, just as the world went into lockdown. After spending some time with them, she reached out to dream collaborator Joseph Mount of Metronomy via Instagram DM on a whim. Unexpectedly (but not unsurprisingly), the demos piqued his interest, and shortly thereafter they began crafting the album together, working both remotely and at his studio in Kent. Mount's input helped Tatyana fine-tune the tracks, resulting in the kind of precisely produced, impossibly catchy pop that takes other artists entire careers to nail. Inspired by late-2000s indie pop and Swedish pop auteurs, the songs on Treat Me Right are a joyous celebration of touch, contact and intimacy - all things Tatyana had longed for in isolation.
“I’m a bit addicted to crushing on people,” she admits, and indeed, the songs on Treat Me Right ooze with the manic highs of infatuation. “You’re my natural high,” she declares to a lover on the title track. There’s a palpable sense of immediacy: bouncy synths, twinkling harps, and irresistible vocal hooks abound, accompanied by images of lipstick, dancing, and champagne. On the vocal interlude “Introduction,” Tatyana even pours herself a glass. She beckons her subject to come closer, read between the lines – not just to kiss her, but to kiss her right now.
It’s not all champagne fizz, of course, and while there’s plenty to enjoy on the surface of these songs, a closer look reveals a deeper meaning. “Maybe it’s the way I was raised, but I really have no time for men who don’t treat me right,” she says of the mantra that became the album’s title. “What else can I say? / I deserve so much more,” she proclaims later on “Lover, You Don’t Know Me.” For all her playfulness, what Tatyana commands above all on these songs is respect - both from herself and the object of her affection.
From the sophisticated arrangements that underpin her catchiest hooks to the clever use of double entendre that turns a classic crush song on its head, Tatyana’s music rests on the interplay between technical mastery and fun-loving charm. It’s an inimitable quality borne of eclectic experience, like a childhood steeped in classical Russian piano and a clandestine ABBA obsession. And while Treat Me Right may be a study in infatuation and relationships, it’s Tatyana herself who emerges most clearly, peering through love as a lens into the universal.