Saturday, August 20, 2011

'80s star Tiffany tries out country

By Chip Chandler
Tiffany, the flame-tressed ’80s pop icon, understands that the latest swerve in her career may cause some head scratching.

“I knew there was going to be people going ‘Tiffany? Country? What?’ but I’m very passionate about the songs we were writing, and it all starts with the music,” she said.

Yes, Tiffany has gone country. Though it’s more accurate to say she’s gone back.

At 10, she said she was “pounding the pavement” in Nashville but was unsuccessful in landing a record deal there. At 14, however, she was discovered and, three years later, put out a self-titled, four-times-platinum album with such hits as “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Could’ve Been” and “I Saw Him Standing There.”

A follow-up album also went platinum, but her pop career stalled.

Now, she’s working her way back into the spotlight with an independently-released country album, “Rose Tattoo,” and a new acoustic tour that brings her to Amarillo on Sunday for a show at Skooterz, 4100 Bushland Blvd.

Though she’s found some success in dance music since her pop heyday, she said that country is where her heart is.

“This album is really more of my influences, the people who influenced me throughout the years,” Tiffany said. “In pop music, it’s hard to draw from Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt, the Doobie Brothers.

“Because I was pretty much a pure pop artist, people didn’t care about what really inspired me. Pop was hard, too, because people didn’t get to know that I could really sing,” she said.

She’ll come to Amarillo with Sunray native Billy Dawson, a fellow Nashville songwriter and friend who also returned to country music after trying different genres.

“Once I moved to Nashville, I remembered what it was, why I listened to it when I was a kid,” Dawson said. “You just fall in love with songwriting when you move to Nashville.”

That’s also true for Tiffany who credits the craft for helping pull her through some doldrums.

“Songwriting to me is great therapy,” she said. “I write about my breakups, my mistakes, things that I’ve seen.”

Sunday’s show will be “a very intimate evening,” she said, “where people can ask questions if they want.”

And yes, she’ll perform her old hits alongside the new songs. “I’ll never abandon them. They’re what allow me to do the new stuff,” she said. “I love it when people come out and want to reminisce and then get caught up.”

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