New York- based singer/composer/actress Tiger Darrow proves that looks and IQ go together. She reminds me a bit of Aimee Mann who also crafted a career as a singer songwriter. I think she embodies what an artist of the new millennium should be: youthful vibes, great talent, amazing looks and attitude. Her style of singing goes back to the golden age of vocal music. There is that supple gliding feel and a bit of that smoky characteristic found in Jazz singers. I prefer my singers to sound like women instead of little girls and Tiger has a kind of voice that should take the stage along with Natalie Merchant, Annie Lennox and Imogen Heap. There are layers and textures in her music that will take some time to analyze. This artist loves sound the way an architect loves cathedrals. In the age of auto-tune and recycled music, her’s is like a light at the end of a tunnel.
We are honored to have her as guest. This interview took time as this was made through email. Between school, movies and composing Tiger carefully divides her time. Her albums Hello and You Know Who You Are are available on itunes and her official website. I am grateful for Mason Taylor of a’tris for introducing her to me. Check her answers out!
I find myself playing Thinkin Bout You again and again. It can get addictive. What’s the main inspiration for this track?
Funny, that’s the only track on that album that I didn’t write any part of. The man who produced “Hello,” Cary Pierce, wrote that song with an artist named Katie Mariah and he asked if I’d do a cover of it for our record, so we slowed it down to about half speed and I think it turned out to be a really great, heart breaking track. It really speaks to a lot of people, and I think the decision to slow it down almost gave it a whole new meaning when compared to the original version.
I see you love to combine your voice to create vocal harmonies. The effect is tantalizing. Do you have plans of doing more experiments with your voice in recordings?
Thank you! I’m a huge fan of vocal layering. I especially have a lot of respect for a capella groups and the effects that they can create using only their voices, so I try to bring a little of that creativity into my own work, even if the song I’m writing or recording isn’t a capella. I like experimenting with the textures one can achieve with vocals, so I definitely plan on continuing to write for multiple voices in the future. I have a lot more to explore in that area.
You have a terrific range but you sing in a controlled and subtle way-like the great crooners of the 50’s. What’s your vocal inspiration?
Haha thanks! I feel like I’ve had a lot of vocal influences that don’t really have a ton in common and I’ve tried to learn from them and implement what I like into the development of my own voice. I really like the smokiness of Norah Jones’ voice, but I also like the daringness of Regina Spektor’s voice. A lot of the melodies she sings in her songs sound like vocal warm ups or exercises, and I wanted to try to play around with that sort of “confidence” or willingness to go out on a limb. Other influences include Jason Mraz and John Legend. Kind of weird combinations here, but I think they work. Really, any vocalist can give me inspiration though. Especially, anyone who “dares to be different.” I love hearing really unique voices, even if at first they sound a little bizarre.
A prodigy like you can juggle between the piano and cello with ease. But do you ever find it hard which one to choose from as a main instrument?
Ooh I’m not sure I’d call myself a prodigy. Lots of people think I play piano because of that Thinkin’ Bout You music video. The truth is, I only really play piano if I’m writing a melody line for a song or if I’m recording a synth instrument. I have yet to play piano live. My primary instrument is really cello, and I also play guitar.
Other than music, you are also involved in movies. Which field gives you more satisfaction?
Honestly, I feel like the two are very different, so that would be hard to choose. They have their similarities in that they are both within the arts, and depending on your position in both “worlds,” they can both be performance based, but I enjoy both for different reasons. At this point in my life, I’m studying music composition, so my focus is primarily on music rather than film. That doesn’t mean I prefer one over the other, I enjoy both equally, but at the moment, I happen to be more involved in music.
Let’s say you have a show coming .What is your practice routine before performing?
I don’t really have a set practice routine. I’ll usually just sing or play through several of my songs during soundcheck. On the day of a performance, I’ll often spend the whole day singing so I’m warmed up by the time I get on stage. I’m not a very “traditional” singer and sometimes I should be… haha!
What are the big no nos that a musician should keep in mind before doing a live performance?
Every musician has his or her own way of performing. However, some great advice I’ve gotten in the past from numerous people is to never apologize. If you make a mistake, own it and move on. I used to have a terrible habit of apologizing for something like even just the possibility of making a mistake before even playing the song, which was pointless and only made me nervous. You’re on the stage for a reason, don’t feel insecure!
What’s your dream album? Do you have a concept in mind?
Could you elaborate on what you mean by “dream album”?
Ok dream album for me is the ultimate album. It could be your debut album or any album where you consider it as your favorite. Well anyway, I do know that for musicians every album takes a lot of love and effort.
Haha, well I mean I guess every musician strives for this, but I’d love to make a record where every song is strong enough to stand on its own. Each song would have the ability to be a single. Also, on my dream album, I’d love to have real instruments rather than Logic instruments… ha!