Portland's own Tara Velarde is a powerhouse. But she is also mightily gentle.
Growing up surrounded by music, she began writing at just 16 years old, and today her music is driven by melody, harmony, and a certain genuine overall approach that touches the soul. With beautiful poetic lyrics, a soulful folk style, and a compelling stage presence informed by her experiences as a music teacher, choral soloist, and professional theater actress, she truly stands out from the crowd.
Velarde's unique artistic prowess is wonderfully showcased on her newly released single "Willow Baby," a delicately beautiful, celestial, lullaby-like track that follows her 2016 full-length album Get Out and Walk. Get to know Tara Velarde a little better through this questionnaire-style interview in which she reveals all the details about her new single, why she loves performing, and more. Check out her answers below!
Here's the scoop on my new single "Willow Baby": "Willow Baby" is all about creation! From front to back the song provides a sort of audio chronicle of my songwriting process - starting out with an idea, something small that catches my attention, and by the end it's exploding into a cacophony of musical ideas. It also is a "thank you" to my first guitar Bella Donna (who was run over by a car as we loaded out after a gig), and the guitar that I got as a replacement, Willow Baby. These guitars have been my partners in crime as I write, and often provide the catalyst to start on a new song.
My favorite memory from recording the single was the way the song came alive. I've heard all of the parts in my head for years, and as we tracked each instrument it added its own color to the masterpiece. By the end it was so full and gorgeous and even better than I had hoped for.
My favorite lyric from the song is "catch the tail of the kite of my muse" because I just love the imagery. When I'm writing a song I often feel like it's a fleeting feeling or thought that I want to explore, and I try to grab onto that feeling and let it take me away.
I love performing live because I get to share my most precious thoughts with people. My lyrics are very heartfelt, usually personal experiences and life lessons that I have learned along the way. Getting to share that with people and seeing them understand and be filled with the message means everything to me.
For me, songwriting is a way to process life. I can take an experience or a feeling and craft it into something that's beautiful, exciting, heartbreaking, or any other number of feelings, and somehow it gives the idea so much power and grace. I think it's a really timeless way to make peace with things.
To me, music is all about feelings. I mostly experience this through singing. The act of using my voice in just the right way is a kind of euphoria for me, whether it's a soft whisper, or a big and powerful phrase. When I hit it just right, I just want to do it again and again.
One day I hope to make it my full-time career to write, record, and perform. That would be the ultimate goal for me.
My hidden talent is that I'm a dancer too! Dance is my other passion, and perhaps one of these days I'll start busting out those moves between choruses...
Tara is currently bringing her Willow Baby tour through the West Coast and will wrap it up with two shows in her hometown on November 30 and December 2. Check out the special message she sent for Musical Notes Global readers here.
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