The new kid on the block

Find out who Tara Priya is really ‘Rollin’ with

Posted: 12.03.12

Tara you are being compared to the new Amy Winehouse. How does that feel?
Really? Wow, I had no idea, that’s extremely flattering! I remember when Adele was being compared to the great Amy so even being mentioned in the same sentence is an honor. Although I have noticed that most up and coming retro female artist who have an old school twist are categorized as a certain style, performers like Duffy, Adel and Amy have all been placed in a similar genre. They represent the young indie retro generation, which I feel brings older artists like Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings back into fashion who are the ultimate retro soul artists.

How does your work differ from the other retro soul artist out there?
All my recorded pieces are raw and live, none are edited or altered, what you hear on the radio is what you will hear at concerts. I did this as I wanted to keep it real and soulful, which I think has been achieved though the simplicity of the recordings. My music is also a lot more 'poppy' compared to Amy and Adele, there songs are a lot like personal poems where mine is traditional pop with a retro twist.

Who do you look to for inspiration?

Well I grew up listening to iconic artist like The Temptations, the Beatles and Bob Dylan so from an early age was exposed to real old school soulful Jazz, therefore from a very young age I’ve always had a soft spot for a soulful sound, therefore when deciding what route to take for my personal sound I looked at other artists like Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina simone who were all wonderful inspirations, although I wanted to add a twist to the traditional soulful sound therefore started mixing genres and with the help from my older brother, who was exposed to artist like 2 Pac, he exposed me to a whole new world. So with a mixture of old and new and along with my own lyrics and approach to recording I hope to create something fresh and new.

Do you take any influences from the modern day artist?

Yes, I do listen to contemporary music, I think this type of music its wonderful to dance or work out to, I also love long drives when I get to turn the radio on and seeing what's new sounds are played is a fun thing, however for my down time I also go back to my soulful roots, my hero’s like Stevie Wonder and The Temptations will always be my first and favorite choice.

There haven’t been many big breaks out Asian artist and there is currently a gap in the market for someone with a unique sound and from an Asian background. Do you think you could be that person?

Even as a child I noticed this, I remember watching TV and thinking 'why does none of the singers look like me?' and when artists like Sean Paul go on stage people went crazy, they loved it however I felt there was to much repetition as everyone sounded the same and there was no uniqueness therefore I still felt unsatisfied, I always promised myself to take a risk, take a new approach and maybe start a new trend, so the idea of representing the Asian society would be a huge honor.

In the music video for your new song 'Rollin' your dressed as a very cute 60's pin-up girl but what is your daily style and approach to fashion?

I love the 60's outfit, it was so girly and fun, I definitely want to create a personal style that represent my music so a cute retro look would fit perfectly. My mother and I laughed at my father once as he couldn't understand why I wear certain outfits and not just a pair of jeans. I explained to him that my Image is my work and that’s when on stage I want my fans to feel as if they know me and though clever styling you can create that personal effect, a good example is Amy Winehouse's famous beehive. Plus I love the 60's look, the cute little ballet shoes, sweet heart neck lines and peter pan collars, simply wonderful.

You have portrayed a very girly cute look but do you have a hidden fiery side?

Of course I do! All empowering women should, it means your independent and strong, in some of my new songs I show a few different sides, the hopeless romantic, the flirty girl and the broken side.

This 'Broken side' is it Love related?

Unfortunately yes it is, its based on a personal experience from a past boyfriend which didn't end well, I was extremely heartbroken and vulnerable for a very long time, these songs are very personal at times as it revels my feelings and is very diary like. Some of the songs were written at different points of my relationship therefore at times is very up and down which truly shows my emotional and state of mind at that point of time.

How did you overcome heartbreak?

Well, with my personal story I didn't value what I had until I was out of it, so learn to enjoy what you have, If you love them tell them, make sure you both express your love for one another as hearing that someone loves you is a beautiful thing. If things don't end well my tips would be to write everything you feel down, trust me it feels like therapy, also once you have broken up stay way! It’s a lot easier to get over a person if you don't see them everyday.

You are half Indian half Persian. Did you get any musical influences from your Asian background?

My parents, my dad especially who is Indian would play a lot of Indian classical music therefore I was exposed to some Indian flavors at a young age, however I never really heard much Persian music, if I ever did it was from my mothers family who played it while at family party's of weddings.

Do you play any musical instruments?

I started to learn how to play the Piano when I was four and then my parents took me to a music store and then when I was a little older they let me choose one instrument that I wanted, which may have been a bad idea as I chose the drums!
I’m always open to new sounds, I’ve tried opera singing, which I loved as I was introduced to a whole new approach to singing, I used my voice in ways I never thought I could and I really got to push the barriers, it helped train and understand my voice, also singing in an another language is so beautiful as when I was singing I could feel the emotions travel though my body, it was a wonderful time in my life.

You seemed to really love Opera singing, why did you give it up?

It was because of study's, I had exams approaching and no longer had the time to attend my Opera lesson's, I then decided that I would concentrate on my study's as it would take years and years until my voice was mature enough to make it big, However after collage I spoke to my Opera teacher and family who all told me to go and perform, and here I am today.

You were brought up In San Francisco is there much of an Asian community?

Oh my goodness, yes! I think it 60% of people based In San Francisco are Asian, its where all the Asian immigrants go because of all the successful business technology. When I first went to public school I was the only Asian person, however when I was older and moved up into a private school it was the complete opposite, which I found fascinating as I got to learn about my culture and saw the Indian way of living.

Tell us about your new single 'Rollin'

I wrote 'Rollin' straight out of school and found the process of getting it off the ground, very tough. In the beginning I didn't have much support or many connections, only my song book and my voice so thereforer, like many others, I left for LA in the hopes of making it big, I spoke to produces and saw many people who all said how tough it is to break into the industry and asked if I was ready for the fight.

When filming ‘Rollin’ your rolling a huge pink heart down the street, did you encounter any funny looks while filming?

Oh my, it was so heavy! We shot the video on Easter morning so it wasn’t to busy but later on in the day a little crowd did start to form, it was such a stressful day as we had to keep hiding from the police because we didn’t have a permit and hadn’t rehearsed much so it was all very hectic and last minute, at times even the heart was still being painted!

Are you excited to start performing live to larger crowds?

I am very excited, when I first started doing playing live I would play in a few café bars and small venues, I would sing alone with my acoustic guitar but recently since performing at a few festivals I have always had my trusty band along side me, which is always wonderful support. However sometimes at my gigs I will bring out the guitar and play an acoustic set for old time sake, which always goes down a treat.

How have the men been treating you?

(She laughs) Everyone has been so lovely, after a performance people will wait outside in the cold until I leave and then give me such lovely praise and always be so welcoming but no, I don’t have any groupies just yet.

Do you think you could ever date another musician?

I don’t think so, I’m in that industry now and feel it wouldn’t be professional to date another artist, but if I do its because I occasionally tend to fall in love with people who are musically gifted, such as, if your an amazing drummer or guitarist, I think I fall in love with their talent.

What’s your ideal guy type?

I would like a guy that can educate me, he has to be intellectually curious and very knowledgeable, therefore I can feel like I’m always learning something new and gaining the most I can out of that relationship.

What are your next steps for your career?

I have just signed a deal in Japan to do a tour in February as my music has really taken off their, which is amazing, I’m also doing a lot of planning for my new music video which is also going to filmed in LA very soon.

When are you going to going to start promoting to the UK?

London has already been so brilliant to me, my big plans for London is to get a night at the ‘Jazz Club’ the perfect location to promote my music and style.

Check out her video to Rollin:

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