Interview With Tamia
Working alongside Quincy Jones, Babyface, Jermaine Dupri, and a multitude of other top caliber producers, Tamia has encompassed quality vocal experience and numerous Grammy nominations for chart topping hits, including 1995's “Missing You,” which also featured Brandy, Chaka Kahn, and Gladys Knight. Being wife to NBA superstar Grant Hill and loving Mom to Myla Grace, Tamia has certainly achieved a successful balance in her life. You may also recall her popular hit, "Stranger In My House," that rocked the dance floors in 2001.
Today, Tamia has More, her latest CD release, on her plate. April tour dates are posted on her website and include performances with Missy Elliott, Beyonce, Alicia Keys during the Verizons Ladies First Tour.
I had a moment to speak to TAMIA on MARCH 3 2004 and I'm so happy I did. This intelligent woman truly takes her stand on the importance of sisterhood and the music industry.
[Theresa Orlando] What does this CD say about you as an artist overall, compared to some of the other CDs you released?
Tamia You know I think really, it's inevitable that as a woman grows she grows in so many ways and one of them for me is, I trust myself more. I trust my own opinions and trust that I know what's best for me obviously. So I think that this album has helped me do that as well, more so than the last album. I was always pretty vocal about what I do and don't like to do anyway, but I really recorded songs that I like and that connected with me for one reason or another. I really wanted to have fun too, not try to over think everything. You know, it's like, when you have a hit record; it's actually an amazing thing. Like a hit record when you think about it you're actually getting people to go out in stores and buy a song that they listen to on the radio for free. So I really try not to think about it too much and try to record things that speak to me.
[Theresa Orlando] What was one of the most memorable moments you had recording this cd....
Tamia I think for me, the first song I recorded was “Poetyr.” I was nervous about what was going to happen. It was awesome; it was just like one of those moments when you're like, ok... yeah I'm back in the swing of things.
[Theresa Orlando] Did you co-write any material?
Tamia Yeah, I co-wrote two songs on there called “Why Ask Why” and also “Whisper.”
[Theresa Orlando] What is the typical scenario for you when you are co writing, and the creative musical environment you set?
Tamia Well, “Whispers” I wrote upstairs in my little make shift closet of a studio. We were all just hanging out laughing and talking, and one of the guys was strumming on the guitar, and I just started singing and it just came out. It was just one of the moments when it wasn't even hard. There was no pressure, it wasn't like…yeah ok, were going to meet at 6:00 and write. I don't do well with that type of set up ‘cause then I'll over think everything...saying...is this right? It always happens when you least expect it.
[Theresa Orlando] You have worked with numerous highly acclaimed producers throughout the years, who do you feel has captured you, or has been capturing you the most as an artist? I'm sure they are all special in their own way...
Tamia Yeah, they are all special, but definitely working with Quincy Jones... He's the producers producer, he's the singers producer...you get so excited you just want to show all your tricks and he just pulls it out of you. Just even his presence of being there, he just knows how to get the most out of a vocalist and he never wants you to hold back. It's always about what you're feeling at that moment. Even if it was a bad note, it's like "the bad note works" if that's what you are feeling. So he definitely is at the top of the list, no doubt.
[Theresa Orlando] I saw that you have tons of upcoming tour dates. Do you ever encounter vocal challenges on the road. If so, can you give some tips on handling that?
Tamia Well you definitely know when you have to SHUT IT UP! A lot of times too, when you're out in loud places, you don't even realize how loud you're speaking until the music gets turned down or you go home and your throat hurts. You really need to physically take care of yourself. When you're tired, you know, the first thing that goes is your voice.
[Theresa Orlando] Do you do vocal warm ups?
Tamia Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I've been taking vocal lessons since I was ten, and I still take them. I particularly like to start low and get as much range in as I can. I definitely like to start low, like a low rumbling, just to get everything warmed up.
[Theresa Orlando] You're gearing up to be featured in the Verizon’s ladies first tour.
Tamia It's going to be really exciting. It's interesting how people automatically are thinking "oh yeah, four women together, eew … Let's wait to see the drama." I think that's kind of unfair because I think if there were four men going together, you wouldn't assume that that would happen, and I think that these are a GREAT bunch of girls. Outside of music, they're a great bunch of women. I'm definitely looking forward to it and it's going to be a lot of fun.
[Theresa Orlando] If there were one thing you would change about the music industry, even though it's been good to you, what would it be?
Tamia It would be that record companies go back to how it use to be, where they invested more time and energy into an artist and allow them the time to develop, and not just [be] the revolving door that it's become. You have so much pressure as a new artist to have a hit and even when you do have a hit, you are not guaranteed another album or another single for that. So I think I would love to see artists be allowed to really evolve into the artist that they will eventually become. Part of the fun in following an artist is also seeing their growth.
Visit TAMIA'S website at www.tamiaonline.com