If you are on the hunt for the perfect summer album, look no further. Tara Beier’s music might be just what you are looking for. Her debut album, “Hero & the Sage” is the perfect blend of folk, alternative and pop. Her words speak with a disarming honesty, her voice is incredibly soft yet powerful, and her guitar sounds like it’s coming from a previous era.
It is poetry put into songs, and it’s no wonder that Tara has already been compared to great artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Tara is a girl from her time, but heavily influenced by the ’70s. She’s a modern flower child, evolving in her own musical world that is like no other.
Without any surprise, Tara is receiving a very good response from the press, which only leads us to think that “Hero & the Sage” is only the beginning of a long and successful musical career.
We had a lot of questions for Tara. Here are her answers.
Tara, you started your artistic career as an actress and documentary filmmaker. How soon did you discover that this was what you wanted to do with your life?
I’ve been artistically inclined since I was a child.
Did become a singer-songwriter was also something you were interested in at an early age, or it naturally came later? What was the first musical experience that really touched you?
No, I never had a clue that I would become a singer-songwriter. But since about 5 years old, I was naturally drawn to music and very fortunate to play classical piano for over 13 years of my life. I loved playing the piano when everything was quiet and no one was there. My great-grandfather was a working pianist and I always felt he was watching over me while I was playing. The sound of the keys and me alone at night were special moments. Today, I do the same but with the guitar.
Last April, you released your debut album, “Hero & the Sage”. Were you afraid, at some point, to throw yourself in the difficult world that is music?
The surprising answer is no, I wasn’t afraid. It was a very natural liberating process. I rather focused on just creating tunes that sounded good to me and that I would listen to myself. I feel as an artist it’s important to step away from what the industry dictates, not to compare yourself and focus inwards. This is the only way I believe to create meaningful art.
In 2016, streaming platforms are pretty much a way of life. Today, the easiest way to access music is through Google’s search bar. Do you think it’s beneficial to you, as a singer-songwriter? What do you think about online music sharing?
I am positive on streaming platforms. I think it’s actually a tool for independent artists to build their fan base. Spreading the music is key.
“Yes, it’s extremely important for me to deliver the truth in my lyrics, otherwise, I feel I’m not doing my job.”
You lived in a couple of major cities among Canada. Where did you actually create this album?
My roots are strongly West Coast as I was born in Vancouver. But I actually wrote the bulk of the album in Toronto. The independent music and arts scene of Toronto is an incredibly supportive community that gave me the foundation to write this album. Then it was very cool to release the album in LA!
Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process?
A song has to come to me and is not forced. It’s usually stemming from an emotional or personal experience I am going through. I then like to connect this to some natural element. Much of the songs I write are moving visuals in my head. My process starts first on the guitar or piano. I find the tune first, work it out, then put the words/lyrics on top of it.
Your music has been compared to Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Jewel. To that impressive list, I would personally add First Aid Kit. Who are some of your favorite composers, musicians and bands from the past and present?
I am so honoured to have been compared to Canadian greats like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young because I’m a huge fan of them and I’m glad it’s coming through my music. I love all kinds of music genres and artists, as long as the song is good. The 60s and 70s is my favorite musical era. But in terms of heavy weights that made a huge impact – Johnny Cash. I admire his emotional honesty and simplicity. Bob Dylan. Rodriguez. Bob Marley. The Doors. Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks. Michael Jackson. And the list goes on…
You are a very talented, honest songwriter. To me your music says, “What you hear is what you get.” How important is it to you to put life into words? Do you feel like you can write anything you want, without censoring yourself?
Thank you. For me if it’s not honest to myself, then I’m not creating meaningful or quality art. Yes, it’s extremely important for me to deliver the truth in my lyrics, otherwise, I feel I’m not doing my job. No, I don’t feel censored at this point in my career and I hope it stays that way.
From your experience, do men and women generally get the same opportunities in the music industry?
Probably not. I’m gonna try and remain positive and say it’s all up to the individual. There’s no doubt we still live in a male-dominated world. However, I have been supported incredibly by men in the business who believed in my work. Instead of saying “I can’t” because of my skin color or “I can’t” because I am a woman, this won’t lead me anywhere.
On a lighter note, what embarrassing songs might I find on your iPod?
Right now, I got hooked on the hip-hop song “Co-Co” by O.T. Genasis. It’s highly addictive like the stuff it’s talking about.
In 2014, you wrote the short docudrama “Covered”, in which you also played the role of Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Native Canadian, who is a folk singer, social activist and visual artist. Why did you want to write this short film? How did Buffy’s story inspire you?
I wanted to write and perform this film for many years. Buffy is one of the most inspiring human beings I believe to be on this planet. Her life and activism from the 1960s up to this day is so admirable. I have also always been a strong advocate for native rights. These two blended together very well. It was this film that spawned me to write my own music.
Right now you are probably more focused on your music, but do you have any projects coming up as a filmmaker and actress?
I’m always open to returning to the screen but I can’t imagine having time at this moment because I’m so involved in music.
What do you have forthcoming for the rest of the year?
I will be debuting in Europe in Berlin and then recording some new songs, shooting a music video, and ending off with a final show in Los Angeles.