Feature: Ambitious pop act Tamara is cookin in quarantine

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TMusic

From Fairfield, Connecticut, emerging talent Tamara has worked tirelessly to grow as an artist in today’s pop music landscape. The confident creator was brought up largely in New York City where she attended high school.

During her later years in school, Tamara’s passion became clear. Recording, writing, and collaborating with producers around the city, Tamara landed a spot in the coveted Bandier Program within the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Now a junior, Tamara continues to grow her sound and her network.

With dreams of continuing to master her sound and dip her toes in the production space, Tamara works to get to the next level after she finishes her degree next year. I had a chance to chat with the ever-evolving artist. We talked inspirations, goals, and what it means to be an artist in today’s industry.


UNSOLICITED: How has isolation been going for you so far?

Tamara: Worst question of the summer (laughs)! I just came back from a trip to Vermont about three days ago. My life was significantly different before I left. I had this online class I hadn’t started yet and when I came back things started picking up, but its a good thing.

U: How has the songwriting/recording process been throughout quarantine? 

T: Whether it’s in this time period or not, my creativity comes in waves. Obviously before COVID it was a lot easier to have access to recording, but I mostly write songs late at night during sad boy hours. What I write isn’t necessarily in that space, but when my night owl instincts come in I just go.

I record all my singles with my producer, Joey Auch, who lives in Brooklyn Heights, but I can’t see him right now. I have another friend, Lucas Dell’Abate, in Greenwich who has equipment – we go to my pool house and record from there. If you’re passionate about something, you make it work.

U: Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?

T: Personally, I’m geared for pop music. The reason I’ve done some EDM and electropop is because I have a lot of friends in that space who I’ve been able to collaborate with.

In terms of inspirations, I love Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now has been on repeat. Another artist I’ve been inspired by is TS Graye. She’s inspired my sound through nostalgia. I exist in a space that’s half nostalgia, half bad bitch. I’m feeling nostalgic, but I’m not to be fucked with (laughs).

U: When did you first start to think about forming a career in music?

T: Junior year of high school. I had a huge epiphany during my sophomore year when I realized it would be really tough, but it was what I was supposed to do. I decided I couldn’t live my life going through a 9-5 and hating my life. From that moment forward I started working on technique to the point where I felt comfortable enough to go to my producer the next year.

I started working with my producer, and he’s kind of evolved with me. Whenever I have an idea but can’t articulate it, he catches my vibe and helps me continue to find my sound. Every time we go in and finish a session, I come back out more fulfilled.

U: What do you see as the pros and cons of the current music industry?

T: With this virus, the live music scene is definitely missed. The touring industry makes up so much of the revenue of this industry. There’s a lot of streaming happening, but there’s a difference from an audience’s perspective of going to a show vs streaming.

Overall, one great thing about the industry right now is the diversity of producers, more women behind the soundboard and seated at the table. We’re starting to tap into that network more. Another great thing is that artists have more time to be consistent. Normally everything is so on the go that now is a good time to step back and plan out music releases.

U: Where do you want your music to go, sonically and in audience growth?

T: Sonically, I work with my sound song by song. Every artist wants their numbers and audience to increase. Obviously my music connects to me because I’m the one writing it. I can’t sit down and force it to connect with somebody else.

The great thing about music is that there’s more than one aspect to listen to. If you don’t like the lyrics, maybe you’ll like the melody; if you don’t like the melody, maybe you’ll like the beat behind it. There are different aspects of a song that people can connect to.

Personally, I just want people to find one of these things to connect to in my songs. I don’t need you to relate to me. If you do, that’s great and I’m genuinely happy; but, my purpose on this Earth was not to people please. I just want my music to be out there in a way where people appreciate it and love it for what it is.

U: When you’re recording a song, do you think about what will resonate with a bigger audience? Are you surprised by what sticks vs. what doesn’t?

T: When I’m recording I don’t think about anyone else’s take. When I’m in the studio, I’m paying attention to how it sounds to me. I start to think in that space moreso after the song has been released.

I know, sonically, what’s more popular; but, that’s not always the take that I go for and I’m fine with that. I take a lot of pride in who I am as a person and my individuality. When I’m in the studio I don’t think about Top 40. I just go in there and its me. Sometimes it ends up sounding like Top 40, and sometimes it sounds like something different.

I’ve come a long way and I’m grateful for the people who have helped me and the program I’m in, but I still have a very long way to go. I credit my knowledge and my willingness to move forward to myself and to my program.


Author: Kieran Sweeney

Writing about entertainment for the better part of a decade and consuming it twice as much, Kieran Sweeney is "the" pop culture aficionado. A connoisseur of the intersection of art and commercialism, the USC Annenberg graduate has earned his reputation as an empathetic and thoughtful writer. His resume includes USC's The Daily Trojan, USC Viterbi News, and personal assistance for publicity and marketing companies from Drill Down Media to This Fiction. His intersectional experience in the industry points to his wit and unfiltered thoughts on the latest project in entertainment

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