A new face is rising in Neo-Soul and modern R&B


Ryan Talley

Aniya Teno works on music in a Loyola studio on Dec. 8, 2022. Teno recorded all of their music here with Deven Raval producing.

Sofia Luciano, Life and Times

Known by their fans for their sweet and tender melodies, Aniya Teno has captured the soul and attention of those who listen to their music.

The Loyola music industry junior from New Iberia, Louisiana first started singing in choir and other music ensembles at the age of five and continued throughout their early and high school education.

“It was just something that I was always supposed to do,” Teno said.
Teno said they grew up in a household where R&B and rap were always playing, and some of their biggest inspirations are Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Prince, Kehlani, and H.E.R. They also said they started writing lyrics at the age of 12 and began recording at 16 years old when they got their first set up.

“My family has always been a big R&B and rap family. My dad is more rap music, and my mom is very R&B. So I always had that influence,” Teno said.

Growing up in both Louisiana and Texas, Teno said they were exposed to different sounds across cultures.

“I spent a lot of time around Hispanic people, white people, and Black people, so I got into a lot of different genres that I have kinda meshed in my music,” Teno said.

Teno said they have always been surrounded by music, but said they pinpoint their songwriting journey to the first good song they wrote titled “Deserted Friends” when they were 14 years old.

“I just got a message like two days ago from someone, saying ‘your music makes me feel like I’m ascending,’” Teno said. “I’m queer, so I have a lot of LGBTQ+ Black people as my fans, so they always hit me up and say ‘I relate to this’ or ‘I relate to the things you’re saying here.’ I never expect what people are gonna feel.”
“People are able to form a deep and intimate connection with Aniya and their music,” said Loyola hip-hop and R&B music production junior Matthew Eghdami. Teno has played house shows with Eghdami at his house, he said. “While Aniya mostly does R&B, they are comfortable making music in any style and are able to do so very well. Overall Aniya is not someone you can put in a box by any means,” he said.
Their most popular song to date is titled “Direction” with Ivan Orozco. The song is an R&B bolero tune where Teno sings verses in both Spanish and English

Teno has released other projects like “Eve” and “Angel” and released their first single “Seasons” in 2020.

“What inspires me is other artists. I grew up on artists like Jazmine Sullivan, Marsha Ambrosius, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, those artists. I always think back to those artists and what they do in their music that makes it good,” Teno said. “Listening to the hits, what makes this song a hit song and all the elements. I remind myself of those things while I’m writing or recording.”

Their most recent single, “Take a Look,” produced by Loyola hip-hop and R&B sophomore Deven Raval was made under Wolf Moon Records, Loyola’s record label.
“We did one song before ‘Take A Look,’ the previous semester before it actually came out. We couldn’t put it out because of technical difficulties, so ‘Take A Look’ really came about randomly,” Teno said. “I was in the studio with my friend Deven. He’s a producer. He’s like my partner, and he played this beat, and I just started writing immediately, and I knew this was the single.”
Teno said they have been working with Raval ever since they moved on campus.
“Every song you hear of mine now is produced by them,” Teno said.
Teno and Raval share more than just a creative bond in the studio. The duo is starting a collaborative group called 7TEN, and are planning the release of their upcoming project.
“It’s been a lot of work but I’m very excited once the project comes out. We’re trying to do a lot of things: travel, network, and kind of push the project as much as possible to build our brand,” Teno said.
As for upcoming personal projects, Teno said a new single will be released in March, and the EP will be released in April.