Tarra Layne (October 11, 2011):
First, can you tell readers how you got started in the music industry and how you’d describe your music?
I’ve been singing since as long as I can remember. When I was little, I never missed a Grammy Awards show EVER. I’d always be singing in the bathroom mirror or to my stuffed animal audience, haha.
I had been in choir growing up and in a competitive choir program in high school. I went to Capital University in Columbus, Ohio for public relations and music industry. My father, who was a crazy-good guitarist from the NYC area, passed away the summer I graduated, in 2008. It just snapped and realized that I need to pursue my first and only love so, I moved to Nashville, TN. I returned to Pittsburgh in 2010 to get some things moving, and I ain’t stopping!
Nothing’s gonna nail my feet to the ground! If Miranda Lambert, Led Zeppelin, and Motown had a baby, my CD would pop out.
How did you settle into this style of music for yourself – what made it “right” for you?
I’m really not sure. My father was really into eccentric rock ‘n roll and I was exposed to a lot of different music growing up. My love was R&B for most of my life. I just LOVE soul and blues music and really don’t know where that spawned from because my mother and stepfather aren’t avid music listeners. I just always enjoyed Brandy and Monica and Gospel music – and was always told that “I got that soul!” haha. So, combining my love for rock ‘n roll, country music, and Motown, I got this funky twang that my vocal coach calls “Funktry”. It’s definitely different so it works for me!
What local musicians/artists have you looked up to –and have any helped you over the years in any way?
Living in Nashville, there is an artist, and friend named Karen Waldrup that really inspired me to push forward with my music. She just appeared on Bravo’s Platinum Hit. She’s still one of my greatest inspirations and will be opening for me at my CD release party, November 20th.
Locally, damn. I really look up to Kellee Maize. I consider myself a loyal fan definitely. She has this unique sound and style and has an amazing marketing mind.
Fistfight in the Parking Lot also. It’s a hard-rock group and the lead singer, Abby, is a DJ on The X. She‘s just hardcore and a chick; I love it!
How has the city been as a venue for your music? There seem to be a number of local talented artists yet there’s not been that one big breakout act yet –is there something more the city can do to “get the word out”?
I think Pittsbrugh is great venue for my music. Not many people know but there is a pretty big blues and jazz scene here. I love rockin’ the stage and I think this city needs “groovy” rock ‘n roll .. especially from a chick.
I help out ThePittsburghScene.com with his endeavors and he has really brought the local music scene together. He sells Support Pittsburgh Music T-shirts and strives to bring out the cities talent.
I think the best thing to do to get the word out is really play locally, support local artists, go see shows, join street teams, help fund a music project, even if it’s a couple bucks. Many bands just don’t have the funds to get on the road or receive the promotion they deserve.
You’ve sung the anthem at a number of sporting events –how was it performing in front of a large local audience in that kind of venue?
I absolutely LOVE performing the anthem. It sounds cliché but, it really is an honor singing the tradition. And of course, when the whole stadium stands, takes their hats off, anticipating your first note, it’s an amazing feeling. It only makes me more excited for future performances.
Are you a sports fan – if so, what teams/athletes do you follow?
I’m from Pittsburgh, so I have to be a sports fan! I enjoy Pitt Basketball and the Penguins. And of course, there’s nothing better in the summer than grabbing a dog and brewski at a Pirates game.
Any of the athletes ever approach you for advice or just to compliment you on your work?
I was recently in a singing competition at the Consol Energy Center and Jerome Bettis was there. Does that count? haha. I try to go down the line and hi-five the dugout or the side-line. They usually compliment.
IM STILL TRYING TO SING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AT A PENS GAME SO IF ANY OF YOU CRAZIES OUT THERE CAN ASSIST?.. I would more than appreciative. Love, Tarra.
What have been some of the more memorable performances for you –and what made them so?
I recently had an interview on 93.7 The Fan. They let me sing Rock ‘n Roll by Led Zeppelin on air! It was a great feeling, especially when people actually called me afterwards like, “OMG! YOU WERE JUST ON THE RADIO THAT WAS AMAZING!”
I was also in a competition on Froggy 95 this summer that was broadcast live. It’s just mind- blowing. Last year, my goal was to sing on the radio, this year it was to get my record done, next year, oh well, ya betta watch out! It’s all so exciting. I live for it.
Many see the music business as “all glamour” –but the constant travelling, especially as you are trying to establish yourself, can be very difficult. How do you deal with the travel and rigors of the business?
I’m a gypsy at heart so, I can’t wait to begin traveling and spreading my music.
As far as the glamour of the business, I try really hard to just be myself. I’m a really natural person. I’m a female, I love dressing up and feeling beautiful but, it’s very hard for women in this industry to be themselves. The whole idea of “sex sells” can mask your initial goal and then it’s not about the art any longer. It’s about what’s popular. Males still rule the music industry. I’m not referring to execs and producers but also artists. Male artists are proven to be more successful. Why? Because female fans are crazy lol.. Crazy but, true.
This is why it’s hard for us girls to not “sell out”. I think the hardest thing is just being true to yourself Remember who you are writing for (yourself) and the image you want to portray. Sometimes big things can be waving in front of your face, but it doesn’t mean you have to jump. Dollar bills look very tasty these days. However, I promised myself that I would never put money before my love. It’s a hefty investment, but I’m not going to ruin what I set out to do to satisfy what the industry wants. These days the industry is completely different and you can do it without a label. Compromise is always on the table though.
When will you have “made it”?
When I can wake up in the morning – happy where my music career stands. Not really sure of the when, where, or how. My goals change everyday when I learn something new or find inspiration. Right now, I’m in a hefty pursuit and I’m working really hard to get there.
I definitely want to be able to “do music” fulltime. So as of right now, that’s when I’ll feel “I made it.”
Where can fans (and future fans) find and purchase your music?
www.facebook.com/tarralaynemusic . If you “like” the page, you will be able to download my whole album for free beginning October18! Not too long after, I will be releasing the physical copy.You will be able to find it on CD Baby, iTunes, ReverbNation, Spotify, and of course f.y.e. Localeyez….really any digital distribution site.
Also, my website is in the works, so keep checking in! www.tarralayne.com
Any last thoughts for readers?
Find me online and help me spread the word! We artists depend on people like you to help us reach new ears. My debut single, “Beautiful Day”, can be downloaded on facebook and the music
video is up on YouTube!
Come to my Music Release Show! You’re invited!
November 20th, 2011 7PM at Sing Sing in the Waterfront. Bravo! Platinum Hit star, Karen Waldrup, is coming to town to open for me. It will be quite a night.