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In the pool of rising artists, it’s safe to say that singer-songwriter Tiara Thomas is someone you should look out for. Hip-Hop Wired had an opportunity to speak with the rising star at the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards about her decision to sign with Rico Love, her upcoming EP Dear Sallie Mae, and more.

“Actually last summer, Rico Love, he was the first person to offer me a record deal,” Thomas recalled. At the time she declined, because the producer’s proposition came just days after they met. But over the next year, the Indianapolis native’s hard work paid off when she and Wale found a hit in an old record she penned that we know as “Bad.” As you can see, things eventually came full circle.

Now, Thomas is focusing on her first body of work under love’s Division 1 imprint.

Dear Sallie Mae is all me. I rap, sing, and I play the guitar, so I’m featuring myself on the EP,” explained Thomas, who says “Bad” is a small representation of who she is as an artist. The project is set to release some time this month.

Hear more details about the EP in the footage below.

Photo: Hip-Hop Wired