Blending Purpose with Fury & Passion
Biography written by Grace Vanriel
Pulsating spirituality and pure creative energy through every vein, songwriter and vocalist Kindele Aixe known on-stage as Tuff Like Iron is a multitalented songstress, with an already established track record in the world of fashion design, who is also quickly gaining recognition on the Reggae music circuit. Born in New York City of Caribbean and American parentage Tuff Like Iron performs from the depths of her being unraveling before erasing complacent thinking in a unique style that easily commands your attention. In conveying thoughts through music, her original lyrics are earnestly thought provoking motivating audiences to find and make a connection with their inner strength. Close listeners of Tuff Like Iron soon realize how effortlessly she crosses the line into the imagination where new possibilities are forged, and with that ability she is quickly becoming a potentially dominant figure in Reggae to be recognized, and followed.
Culturally aware, stylish and confident Tuff Like Iron progressed to the world of music naturally and it would be fair to say, it’s in her blood. Her father is an accomplished procussionist and she grew up fully exposed to the sounds of high-quality musical productions. As a creative youngster by age of ten Tuff Like Iron had already contemplated creating an album of original music however it was not until 2013 that her opportunity to write, sing and record became a reality. Her journey began the result of a chance meeting in Jamaica W.I. one year earlier with members of the Jah Ova Evil family with whom she felt an immediate connection including popular artist Aijah “The Gideon” Nunes and his twin brother, producer Jahnoi “Selah” Nunes of Jah Ova Evil Records, a company so named in honor of their brother singer Alty ‘JOE’ Nunes who transitioned unexpectedly in 2011. The collaboration was a milestone occasion for the young artist and the dynamic energy that flowed between them further inspired her innate creative spirit to glorious new heights. Tuff Like Iron’s first recording with the twins was “I’m Talking To You” (closely followed by “Equal Rights & Justice” and “Keep Yuh Head Up”), and the 1986 EP was completed at their studio in Kingston. As a first ever recording, “I’m Talking to You”, began turning some heads and launched the artists musical career.
With the success of her first recordings, opportunities for additional collaborations with several other producers arose and in 2015 Tuff Like Iron recorded a powerhouse anthem, entitled “Tuff Like Iron” on Black Roots Riddim (produced by Nyle Banks Music); “Chair Gone Down” (produced by Conscious Riddims in Hawaii on the compilation album “Be Still and Know” ft Midnite; Perfect, Ras Batch Prezident Brown, Mada Nile and others) and most recently “Orange Peel” on the I-draw Riddim (produced by Rally Up Music in California). A 2014 article praised Tuff Like Iron’s performance style aptly describing her music and stage presence as a “fury of passion and talent.” As an artist with a spiritual beacon emitting the light of truth, love and understanding her music informs listeners that she is acutely aware of the challenges people face and it’s clear that she’s made a conscious decision to dedicate herself to the writing and recording of uplifting messages that inspire people to love themselves and to hold their head high no matter what challenges they face. Tuff Like Iron excites listeners because she believes and shares the unmistakable message that “against all odds, you have to stay tuff, be resilient, have faith and stay strong.”
As an emerging artist befitting the name she has chosen to define her faith filled character, Tuff Like Iron has received unprecedented performance opportunities almost right out of the start gate that has taken her from coast-to-coast and to the Caribbean; the opening of doors speaks not only to her talent, but to her mass appeal to multi-cultural audiences. Less than a year following the release of her first recording she landed a coveted spot one of the longest running Reggae concerts in the world, “Reggae on the Hills Festival” hosted in Northern California to take the stage with Junior Toots, son of the legendary Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals. In a show of confidence she was also invited to perform in Kingston at the popular “Jah Over Evil Memorial Concert” in 2014 and 2015 alongisde the J.O.E. family and artists like Jesse Royal, Kiddus I, and Shuga to name a few. In 2015, Tuff kicked off the year with a series of perfomances at Kingston Dub Sessions, followed by a West Coast tour in April with Virgin Island artist Ras Attitude and the Escort Service Band. She also performed with Machet Band at the “Yoga Reggae Fest” in Washington, DC, the “Oroville Rock Reggae Jam Fest” in Oroville California with the Rebel Lion Band. Showcase performances, to name only a few, include: “Sankofa Sessions” with renowned selectors Rory Stone Love, Gabre Selassie and artist Xana Romeo with surprise celebrity guest Sister Carol; the “Mamayashi Fashion Launch” with Rory Stone Love and artists Jah9 Cunningham and Samory I; as a featured solo artist in New York, the mecca for arts and entertainment the world round, in a special production of “Link Up Tuesdays”, and opening a sold out Morgan Heritage Show in Oakland CA as a part of the West Coast tour.
Always on the move, Tuff Like Iron spends her time between California and New York with frequent trips to the Caribbean where her creative sensibilities are continually re-energized. With no end in sight to fresh new lyrics and a well earned reputation for performances guaranteed to motivate audiences, Tuff Like Iron is forging ahead and along the way capturing the hearts of audiences worldwide.
Island Stage asked Tuff about what it’s like to be a female in the Reggae industry, about her clothing line and what’s next. Read Full interview here: