Hollywood Music in Media Award Vocalist, Tarra Layne, Chats About Her Hit Song, “Cherry Moonshine” and Much More!
Posted On 12 Jan 2015
Tag: Alex Clare, All Access, All Access Music, Aretha Franklin, Artist Interview, asia, Audra Mae, Best Female Vocal, Bruno Mars, Cherry Moonshine, Dan Auerbach, Daniel Teadt, Difference, Eric Downs, Funktry, Gavin DeGraw, Grace Potter, Hollywood Music in Media Award, I Got Mine, I'm Going Down, Introducing Tarra Layne, Jack White, Jamie N Commons, Johnny Cash, Man at Home, Origins Rocks Earth Month, otis Redding, Paris, Patsy Cline, Pittsburgh, Ryan Tedder, Soundcloud, SRV, Tarra Layne, The Black Keys, The Yellow Couch Sessions, Vanessa Carlton, Webster Hall, Willie Nelson, ZZ Ward
After nabbing her first Hollywood Music in Media Award for Best Female Vocal, this red-headed blues singer and Pittsburgh native Tarra Layne is sure to rattle your emotions with her new, roof-blowing song and video “Cherry Moonshine.”
Tarra said, “I wrote this song for the wanderers who fall too easily and deeper than a dream. For those who mean for flames to last, but are in love with the spark. For those who chase the burn of booze with a brave heart.”
Coming from Tarra’s third-coming EP, “Cherry Moonshine” perfectly embodies blues, soul, and southern rock into a catchy contemporary stew. Tarra’s sound sets itself apart from other female artists in her generation.
Learn more about Tarra Layne in the following interview:
Can you remember the first moment that you wanted to be a performer?
I’ve wanted to be a performer since as long as I can remember. I have home videos of me singing along to Disney movies. I was and still am singing to everything. I remember putting on performances for my stuffed animals and practicing in the mirror with my hairbrush microphone in hand.
What do you think sets you apart from other singers out there today?
I like to think that my sound strays from any female-fronted music today. My influences range from Aretha Franklin to Johnny Cash. I’ve always really enjoyed the big belly singers and artists with soul in their voices and truth in their writing. I hope to accomplish those two things so that my listeners can find the same joy and inspiration in my music as I have experienced with some of my favorite artists.
You just received your first Hollywood Music in Media Award for Best Female Vocal. What did that moment feel like?
It was indescribable. Only being in LA for a small time, the most amazing things have happened that I could have only dreamed of. It makes me so much more excited for what is to come. It’s all coming together so quickly! Working so hard for so long, it’s moments like that brings a tear to your eye and makes everything worth it.
Can you take us on a brief journey of your musical career so far? What has gotten you to this point in life? What would you say is your biggest accomplishment and what do you have your eyes set on next?
Life is a journey. Sometimes more downs than ups, but what matters is that you keep going, never settle, and always love. I’ve had my struggles with the best of them. I’ve celebrated and I’ve mourned.
I’ve loved with my whole heart and have lost everything. My experiences have made me the person I am and a writer. I have many stories to be tell. My goal is to keep climbing and to keep telling those stories for all to hear. I want to perform. I want to record. I want to write and I want to continue to do so. One step at a time. One song at a time. Doors open and doors close. I’m looking for those that need to be unlocked.
Can you talk about your inspiration for your song, “Cherry Moonshine”? The beach campfire video looks like it was fun to make!
I’ve always been a sort-of ‘wild-one’. I’ve always liked adventure and walking the line, so to speak. I like having fun, just like anyone else, but I feel like there were moments when I would take the ride a step farther. I could jump in the car and just go forever not knowing where my head was going to fall that night. Along the way, I found many romances. You fall in love with the moment and the people in it.
I wanted to write a song about a moment like that. I wanted the video to feel real and capture something that stirs nostalgia, hopefully for many. The cast is literally made up of friends and family. It was an actual party. I invited a film friend of mine to come up and shoot as if we weren’t watching and we went from there. I wanted my audience to take a peek into where I come from and feel like they can relate. It was just some homegrown fun around a fire. Really raw footage, no filter.
“Cherry Moonshine” is from your third-coming EP. How do you think your music has grown and change on each EP?
My first EP, “Introducing, Tarra Layne,” was my first original record. It was a writing experiment, so to speak. I wanted each song to have it’s own flavor. It wasn’t necessarily a record in which all the songs had a consistent style or taste. The Yellow Couch Sessions were recorded live. My band and I literally arranged the songs in four hours, jumped in the studio and ran with it. I wanted that throw-back, real music, live feel. With that and other projects, I continued writing and have grown into an area that I’m really excited about. I don’t feel like there is much out there like it. It’s gritty, rockin’, soulful, hooky, and hopefully will be and continue to be powerful. I also have an extremely softer side also, which I understand fans like to hear. It’s such a difference from the more boisterous tunes.
Ironically, the song “Difference” on this next EP is my soul ballad.
It’s a favorite for sure and captures a subtle facet of my artistry.
Overall, I want my style to remain strong and mix the classic in with the new. Every artist evolves and I feel lucky to continue to do so.
I’m pleasantly anticipating all the new musical paths I may decide to wander off into.
Your music has been referred to as Funktry. Can you explain that genre?
I took a few private lessons with an amazing Grammy award-winning vocalist, Daniel Teadt. He coined my sound as “Funktry.” He heard the southern and rock influences as well as the soul and funk. So, he deemed it “funky country.” Thus, calling me “Funktry.” Hehe.
What was it like performing with Gavin DeGraw and Vanessa Carlton for the Origins Rocks Earth Month concert at Webster Hall in 2012? How do you think you have grown as a performer since then?
It was incredible for sure! They treated my band and I like rock stars, which is always cool no matter who you are. I think as an artist I’ve gotten stronger in many ways. My writing has changed and with anything, your overall approach gets more pristine as you hustle. Your stage presence evolves in really neat fashion and as always, practice makes perfect.
Why have you chosen to cover those particular songs on your SoundCloud collection?
I wanted to cover songs that I have been singing for a long time, but also songs that my band and I made our own. With the help of Eric Downs, my drummer and recent producer, we recreated “I Got Mine” and “Paris” in our living room. It was a fun project, and of course they are two of our favorite songs to cover live so the fans recognize and enjoy them. “I’m Going Down” was recorded in a really raw fashion in the same living room with the help of some other friends. It really brings out an old soulful rock vibe, kinda Otis Redding-like, that I really love. It’s different. And then, the Patsy and SRV tunes, they are just really classic, lovely, favorite tunes that I love performing and I wanted to share that with all you awesome people.
What are your favorite songs to perform live?
I love performing. Period. Haha. But, I must say, our covers of “I Got Mine” by The Black Keys and “Paris” by Grace Potter have gone over very well and they are so much fun to perform. I love performing “Cherry Moonshine” and my tune “Man at Home” live. People seem to really enjoy their energy, especially “Man at Home.” I feel like the gals in the audience can relate and it’s really danceable.
They are always an experience. The drunker the audience, the more interesting it becomes. Lol.
More times than not, influences tend to bleed through. What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Right now, I’m really enjoying Audra Mae, ZZ Ward, Gavin DeGraw, Jamie N Commons, Alex Clare and Jack White.
Living or dead, who would you love to work with and why?
Ryan Tedder is an amazing writer and artist with One Republic. Love just about everything he is involved in. Such an incredible talent.
Bonnie McKee and Sia are just ingenious, penning tunes that dominate the charts and supplement their own artistry. Bruno Mars, Zac Brown, Dan Auerbach, Jack White, and Willie Nelson would be a delight. If you know their music, I don’t think I need an explanation. Luke Laird is a writer based in Nashville. He is actually from an area very near to my hometown. It would also be a pleasure sitting down with him.
Has there been anything that surprised you about the music industry since you’ve been in it?
Once you are in it long enough, nothing is surprising. My main goal is to stay true to myself and to keep moving so I can support my art and everyone involved.
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music?
I hope you blast it in the car, while you’re cleaning your house, or throwing down. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy making it!
And lastly, is there anything else that you’d like new fans to know about you or your music?
Share independent music – by word of mouth or social networking.
Spread the love! We depend on you to continue to do what we do and entertain you. It’s very important. With that, you can find me online via the links below. I hope to bump into you at a show or on Twitter! I love you! Follow your dreams. Express yourself. Do what moves you. Find peace, always love, and rock ’til ya roll.
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