Interview: Tina Tara

Could you share the story behind your latest song and what inspired its creation?

My latest song is the upcoming release of THE FLAME. The song is an original by the British band Cheap Trick and was released in 1988 for the first time. 

My manager played it to me a few months ago and I felt an instant connection to the song and had the wish to record it and put my own spin on it. This is the first time I am releasing a cover song and it is also the first time I am entering the EDM genre. I was so lucky to work with grammy award winning producer Damon Sharpe on this one. It also just got remixed by the German EDM/house legend Sean Finn. I am very excited about this release and cannot wait to share it with everyone. 

How do you approach the process of songwriting, and are there any specific themes or emotions you tend to explore in your music?

Inspiration strikes at different times of the day or even in the middle of the night. Multiple times I have woken up with a melody or lyrics in my head. If I don’t write it down or record a demo on my phone, the next day its gone 🙂 Therefore, I have come to learn that when it comes to songwriting, any time, any day, any situation will have to make space for whatever comes through. Of course I can also sit down and start writing on purpose and sometimes I create good stuff and sometimes its terrible lol. 

I love writing with other songwriters too, which usually helps to get a different twist to the song or lyrics as different minds have different ways of explaining emotions. I love that about collaborations. 

As an indie musician, how do you navigate the balance between creative freedom and commercial appeal?

I think nowadays we are being showered with the need to create something that will be liked and shared by many but the strange dichotomy is that most of the time I think you cannot predict what will be a hit. For example my song Maybe – I wrote this tune in a matter of minutes. I did not overthink it, I did not rewrite it, I just wanted it to be catchy and clever for my own sake and expectations of my craft. I never would have expected it resonating with radio and them playing it so often that it hits the Billboard Top 40charts and ends up on top of the Indie Charts. That was kinda cool, but yet again proof that many times you cannot predict what will be a commercial success or not. I much rather try and write something that comes from the heart and feels authentic to me. 

What do you find most challenging about being an independent artist in today’s music industry?

The push and pull between being the creative and your own marketing manager, pr person, graphic designer and promoter. It is a left brain versus right brain battle which I tend to enjoy at times but also it can become very overwhelming. 

Can you talk about your experiences collaborating with other artists or musicians? How does it influence your creative process?

I love collaborating with others. Even if the end result is not the biggest hit, I feel like every time I have been in a collaboration I have learned something new, have gotten inspired in a different way or tried something I haven’t tried before. I definitely opens up the horizon to new spheres and to me personally it is always a welcome add on to my already existing skillset. 

What role does technology and social media play in promoting your music and connecting with your audience?

It plays a major role. It is a great tool that allows us to connect with so many people and at the same time I have compassion for the audience which is being showered with so much information every day. I love finding new ways of entertaining my fans and people who have not heard of me thus far. 

Are there any particular artists or genres that have had a significant impact on your musical style?

Yes, many different artists over the years. I have developed my love for strong powerful yet emotional vocals from Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Alicia Keys and the likes. I drew inspiration from Elton John, Alicia Keys and Lady Gaga for my piano/vocal performances and I definitely listened to many different Genres and artists from Damian Marley to Culcha Candela to Karnivool, the Orishas and many others for inspiration and sheerly to feed my passion and lust for exploration. I love that there is so much music out there and am excited to explore more as I go along. Thus far I have been writing and creating music in RnB, Soul, Rock, Pop and now EDM with my next release THE FLAME. I do not see boundaries but welcome the journey wherever it takes me. 

Indie musicians often have a close relationship with their fanbase. How do you engage with your fans and build a dedicated community around your music?

If I am honest, I am still trying to find my ideal way to connect with my fans online. In person I have the closest relationships with my fans which is a little harder to do with the ones oversees of course. I love feeling the energy of my supporters live and sometimes I think it is difficult for me to create the same energy online. I am, however, sending out regular Newsletters, I have a broadcast channel on Instagram where I leave voice messages and updates thought my journey and I want to include my followers more and more in my day to day activities and behind the scenes tasks. 

Could you describe a memorable live performance experience or tour that has had a lasting impact on you and your music?

Well, one of the very memorable experiences I had was the first show I did where I was not impacted by stage fright anymore. I had been booked for a series of shows at the Virgin Money Lounges in London about 6 years back. Up until that point I was suffering from intense stage fright. I would hide behind my piano and play faster than I should and when I was talking I spoke very fast and sort of wanted to get over it quickly. 

I was terrified of stepping on stage with my full band and only a microphone in my hand, and no piano to hold on to. So I entered a little experiment. I thought, my mind is telling me this is a scary moment I have to run away from. What if I can program my mind to not think that anymore. 

So I went on YouTube and looked for a Stage Performance Hypnosis. I had never done hypnoses and so I had no idea how it would impact me or if it would work. But I did it, once at home and then once before the show. 

As the show started I walked onto that stage, I was calm and excited, I laid down a stellar performance and even handled a situation where one of the big speakers blew out with humor and made the audience laugh. 

When I walked off stage I got standing ovations and hugs from the people I walked past. 

In my career as a performer I must admit, that was one of the most glorious moments of personal development and achievement. I am so happy I found that hypnosis, as to this day I have not suffered from any stage fright anymore. I still get jitters before I go on but that is a normal response to excitement. 

In an era of streaming platforms, how do you feel about the changing landscape of music consumption and its impact on independent musicians?

I think we are in danger of pushing music to the top that is getting more clicks and are disregarding music that is also great, because it did not get so many clicks, listens or shares. People have the general perception that if music is good, it will go viral. Which is not accurate. It has a lot to do with money, how much money you can invest into promoting your music and partially also what connections you have that will help you push your music to the right places. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of fake plays and listens and followers out there. 

I think if we would erase the numbers from all the posts and songs and leave the stats to be only for the artists and their business managers or labels, we would create a much healthier listening experience and take the pressure away to only write music that will be picked up as for example a TikTok sound. 

That being said, I think there were always challenges in the music industry and these are just the ones we are faced with in our world nowadays. 🙂