INTERVIEW: Tamar Kaprelian

Once again, thanks again to beE and the mountains she moves at Pop+Nation, I got the chance to ask a few questions to one of my favorite new artists, Tamar Kaprelian -- an empowering singer/songwriter who is currently developing her debut album with some help from Ryan Tedder and the boys in OneRepublic. Tamar's debut single, "New Day" (featured on MTV's The Hills), is available now, along with two other beautiful cuts - "Delicate Soul" and "Three Simple Words". She may be still a youngin' herself, but she's hardly an overnight success, paying her dues by writing her own material and signing to RCA Records, prior to finding her fit with current label Interscope Records. For more on Tamar, check out her MySpace, or chat with her on Twitter. Thank you so much, Tamar, for your fast and insightful responses! Can't wait to hear your record!

It's refreshing to see a young artist like yourself making the focus be on her songwriting and her musicianship first and foremost. At what age did you write your first song?
I wrote my first song when I was 14 but really started honing in my craft as a songwriter at the age of 17. I was fortunate enough to have some incredible teachers: from David Hodges (who taught me the importance of a great melody), to Ben Moody, to Kara Dioguardi, to Xandy Barry (taught me how to write a great lyric), to Ryan Tedder.

You're first single, "New Day", saw some hype on iTunes thanks to its appearance on the season finale of "The Hills". How'd you get that gig? Are you a fan of the show?
My producer Xandy brought that amazing opportunity to the table. And, yes, I have to say, "The Hills" was always a guilty pleasure of mine. Funny story... A couple months ago, Spencer and Heidi ended up coming out to one of the shows I was playing in Los Angeles (both were very, very sweet) and Heidi just kept on saying how much she really loved my song and that it was wonderful that they featured it during their wedding scene. It was a fabulous little moment :)

What inspired you to write "New Day"?
"New Day" was inspired by a combination of events. Musically, creatively, and artistically, I felt very stifled at the time-- this was back when I was making a record on RCA. It came down to whether I was willing to compromise my artistic integrity or not. Clearly, I wasn't, we parted ways shortly after. I also lost my grandfather to cancer that year, and he played a major role in life growing up. He was and still is my hero. "New Day" is a song about overcoming struggle and becoming a stronger person in spite of all negativity.

You state your a big Billy Joel fan. If you could cover any Billy Joel song in concert, what would it be?
Massively huge Billy Joel fan :) That's a hard question! It depends on the day.. it depends on my mood.. I love "Moving Out." That's always a fun, upbeat song to cover. "Vienna," with a little bit of a twist would be great as well. If I'm in the mood for something a little more melodramatic, "And So It Goes" would be perfect.

You're Armenian American, and your name is so beautiful. Does it mean anything in Armenian?
Why, thank you. I was named after an Armenian princess!

It's clear you're more of an old soul, but of all the music currently on the radio playlists in America -- if you could have recorded one of those songs as your own, what would it be and why?
I'm going to have to go with "Empire State of Mind," Alicia Keys. Love the lyric. Love the melody. Love her as an artist.

Do you have any touring plans?
Definitely! Can't wait to get out of the road and to share this album with everyone. No better feeling than playing live for people.

You are most closely associated with Ryan Tedder and OneRepublic. Can you tell us how that collaboration came about?
I actually wrote with both Ryan and Brent from the band; It was an amazing experience. They played a huge role in me getting signed to Interscope, so we figured it would be cool to get in one room together and to collaborate. We ended up writing a killer song called "Sinner or a Saint." It's a sexy, empowering, and edgy.

Did Ryan produce "New Day". Has he produced/co-written any other songs on your record? Can we expect any duets with OneRepublic or any of its members?
Ryan actually didn't produce "New Day." Xandy Barry and Wally Gagle produced that track :) But Ryan and I wrote a song together, called 'Sinner or a Saint'!

Of all of the songs you have recorded, which song has the powerful emotional connection for you?
A song called "Raining in Paradise." It's a lullaby i wrote it for my future children.

What do you think is the biggest problem in the music industry right now?
Biggest problem: artists not taking the time to refine their craft as songwriters. Artistry should NEVER be secondary.

When can we expect your debut album?
Late this spring!

Message to the fans?
When you work hard, stay focused, and stay true to who you are and what you believe in, you can  accomplish anything and make the impossible happen.

1 comment

Anjali said...

Very nice interview with Tamar! Looking forward to her CD this year.

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