Saturday, September 10, 2016
INTERVIEW: TIFFANY, August 2016
August 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Tiffany - pop queen of the 80's is back with a vengeance, a new album full of great songs, and a tour that has her performing acoustically. Maturing musically through the years with releases like Just Me, Rose Tattoo and others, Tiffany has grown by leaps and bounds as a performer and songwriter. This is even more evident on her latest release, A Million Miles. With just days until her acoustic tour kicks off, we got the green light to give her a call and discuss the material, the tour, and more...
Toddstar: Tiffany, thank you so much, for taking time out for us - I'm so glad to be able to steal some of your time this morning.
Tiffany: Awesome. No, it's a little crazy right now, but it's a good crazy. It's nice. Life always has seasons, where you're sitting around, twiddling your thumbs, going, 'Hmm.' That's usually my creative time, where I say, 'Okay, touring has settled down, and now I am going to create.' I love being really busy. I love being on the go, and I love touring, so this is great. This summer, and even into next summer, we're going to be kind of swamped. We are just getting started.
Toddstar: Like you said, especially in the music business, in this day in age, being swamped is a really good thing.
Tiffany: It is, especially with the new album out. Just taking all the new music out to the fans, is something that I have really wanted to do, since I was starting to work on this album, of course. Even before, I had the idea of the album tucked away for about a year. Then the opportunity came and we made the music. I was just absolutely screaming inside, really excited to take this out on the road. I think the album is amazing, and I love listening to it, but I think it really lends itself to a live performance.
Toddstar: I couldn't agree with you more. The album you're referring to is A Million Miles. It dropped the on March 31. Tiffany, you are busy preparing for a very cool tour, The Dynamic Acoustic Tour. With the new material, how fun has it been to go back, and break some of this down, because the album isn't acoustic. What is it like for you, to be able to deconstruct these newer songs?
Tiffany: It's not anything I've actually done before, so fresh in an album. To say, 'Okay, now we're going to do it different.' I took it to my co-producer. This was the first album that I co-produced myself, so a lot of those ideas are mine. Like I said, when I started to think about an acoustic performance, small theaters, how would I do that, and blending twenty eight years of music? Obviously, there is still a lot of stuff from the past that I do, that I love doing. "I Think We're Alone Now," "Could've Been," "All This Time." This show is really for the fans, tailored for the fans, for songs that, maybe, they haven't heard me sing in years. Songs like, "Here In My Heart," "Hold An Old Friends Hand." "Sacrifice," from one of my albums. Just songs that I haven't really performed in a while, and wearing a bunch of different hats, and loving to just push the boat out a little bit, and try different things. Work with great producers. I have had the opportunity to do semi-rock albums, from dance stuff, some country stuff. I think all of those facets are me. All those different sides of me. I'm so inspired by music from an array of eclectic artists. I think that is really who I am, and I've always kept it kind of pop, and AC, grounded. I think that's why they all work. Sitting in production for this show, I thought, 'How are we going to do this?' I think with the new stuff, I have really tried to play up some of the more electronic element, so there are some loops. But, keep them really rustic, and organic, with the live instruments. So, acoustic guitar and piano. My background singer is amazing. Her name is Jennifer Friend, and she just adds that little touch to the show, that little fire. She really is a powerhouse vocalist. I think everybody just works so well together, so it's been fun to rework the new stuff to fit in with the old stuff, there was a lot of things we had to drop out. Look at some of the stuff; it has keyboards for days. Strip that down. I think more than anything, what really spoke to me, was how lucky I have been. I just don't know how to say it. They are such great songs. They are so well written, that you can sit with a piano, for "Could've Been," or you could make it big with a band, or put strings on it. It is just a beautiful song. I think that's something that stayed with me, as a songwriter, was to be able to live up to those types of songs, because I really was blessed with great material. Throughout the years, that's kind of been my bar, to write really good songs. That it's just not a little ditty, but it is something that is pretty cool, with great production behind it. It has been fun, to try to take these songs, and make them all weave together.
Toddstar: I can only imagine, especially, going back through your catalog. I'll be honest with you; I absolutely love A Million Miles, but I find myself going to The Color Of Silence, and Just Me, which I listen to all the time.
Tiffany: Thank you!
Toddstar: These are two quintessential Tiffany albums, in my mind. What I like about A Million Miles, is it is an extension of you. It showed your maturity, and growth. How long were these songs boiling inside you, before you were actually able to get them down, and recorded?
Tiffany: I think, probably, they had been there for a while. Maybe not, actually, in song form, but in topic form, because a lot of this album is a reflection of the last five years of my life. I have lost, unfortunately, a lot of family members to cancer, and just change. A lot of different change, from people moving away, to even friendships dropping out, to some of my best friends getting divorces. Just an array of change. My dad died of cancer. I had a cousin who passed away from addiction. There has been a lot of behind the scenes in my life that has been really hard. I think I wanted to write about that, because I'm not the only person that is going through these things. Feeling a little lost, and feeling like, 'Well, that person was supposed to be in my life forever. We were going to do so many things together, and now they're gone. Who do I go to for advice?' Or, just waking up, and feeling like there is so much great things going on, and I wish they were here to be a part of it. I really wanted to write about those things. I think that A Million Miles isn't, necessarily, a sad album, but it is a reflective album, for sure. Even a song like "Cry," which is the first song on the album, is reflecting on a relationship. One of my favorite lines from that is, 'I hate you for bringing me to here.' Trevor Finlay, actually, my co-writer on that, he wrote it. I found it was so honest, he threw it out. He said, 'I hate you for bringing me to here.' I said, 'That is such an honest statement.' Because, that's exactly how you feel. We weren't supposed to be like this. This was supposed to be the love of my life, and a great relationship, and now it is ruined, and I have all these bad emotions. I like that with writing songs. I love the therapy aspect of it, to be honest. I think songwriting, probably, is my therapy a little bit. Working on them, and seeing them, actually, come to light, was really, again, very uplifting for me. Sometimes sad. Going in, and singing the vocal for "A Million Miles," I had to really fight back tears. Because that was just so pure for me, writing it for my cousin, who passed away. Hoping that she can still be a part of my life, that somehow she looks down from above, and she sees all the great things. I'm just talking to her at night, just going through my prayers, and meditation. Also, just reaching out to her, saying wow. I'm kind of wondering what to do next. She was really my go to.
Toddstar: You mentioned the things in your life that transpired, and you mentioned your cousin. Like the song "Fall Again," it struck me hard. But, "Daddy's Girl" was a song that I loved, in the fact that you really allowed the listener to absorb the lyrics. You didn't overproduce it; you didn't throw tons of guitar at it. You really wanted the lyrics to come through. Was that something you thought through in some of these songs, and said, 'Dance is cool, music is cool. But, sometimes the lyrics just need to be heard?'
Tiffany: Definitely. That was written by one of my dearest friends, Bridgette Tatum, and Heather Little. The first time I, actually, heard that song, was with Bridgette, performing it here in Nashville, and I immediately teared up. I had a stepfather, and a real dad, and I knew I was loved. But, there were definitely times that I felt like if I was pampered more, I wouldn't, maybe, be so rough around the edges, because I'm definitely a tomboy. I think that both of them saw. I have been doing music since I was nine years old, and I think that even though no one really thought that it would really be a success story, I think somewhere instinctively they were preparing me for the world. Preparing me for a career that is very positive, and negative. You really cannot just be a flower, especially in business. It took me a long time to get to where I'm at, to be a little tougher. I can take the truth, and sometimes it is not pretty. Definitely, when I was listening to her song, that being a little girl, just being comforted, and not having to validate your emotions. Knowing that you can run somewhere, and tuck away, and hide, I don't think I've ever really had that. So, I think that for me, it really just struck a chord, and that is just my sordid story. I know a lot of my girlfriends, their dads left. I really thought that that song was universal. That people all over, girls, women, could understand that song. I thought when we stepped into the studio, exactly that. Both of my producers, me and Steven, we both saw that it just should be amazing. The instrumentation should just really accompany the lyrics. I love singing that song. I am nervous to sing that song, for whatever reason. Just because, again, I didn't write it, and it is so, again, honest, and vulnerable. I'll be singing that song Wednesday night, here in Nashville, to kick off the tour. I have to say, that's the one that my heart is going to go a bit. Because, you're telling a story, and I think it is really important to be vulnerable when you're singing that song, in a weird way. It is not just a song, it is a story.
Toddstar: That is just beautiful, about your music through the years, Tiffany. You've never been one to shy away from, as you said, letting go, and just letting the moment, and the music, take you.
Tiffany: I love up-tempo things that are fun, but I think my personality lends itself more to the stories, to the ballads, to the heart felt stuff. When that really takes over, especially in a live concert situation, it is very magical. That connection with the fans, and just doing my best as a vocalist, and trying to take it to the next level. That's what I do love about performing live, is sometimes things are spontaneous. Things can come out as a vocalist, that you say, 'Wow, I hit that note, wow. I didn't even know. I wasn't even planning for that.' It is where the evening takes you, and you always hope that that audience will inspire you. Also, being able to, again, give you that net, so that you can just feel like I am not afraid to fall on my face. I am going to try something right here, right now. I know with my band, they've always got my back. That is such a great place to be.
Toddstar: I can only imagine. You talk about a lot of things. You talk about falling on your face, you talk about hitting the stage. Looking back now, Tiffany, twenty eight years ago, if not more, this all started with mall tours, and things like that. Did you ever think in a million years, when you were essentially a kid, doing something that you thought was just fun. It wasn't about the business for you, at that age. Did you ever think, in a million years, I'm going to do this forever? This is going to be fun. This is going to be great?
Tiffany: Yes, of course, you think it is going to be forever. I think, more than I thought that this was going to be forever, and I'm going to tour the world forever, I didn't even really think that it was ever going to happen. I wanted to be a singer, then when it happens at the highest level, number one records, and touring the world, it took me a long time to take it in. I was thrilled, but it is hard to explain. Going from Norwalk, California to, all of a sudden, being in Indonesia and everyone knows who you are, and things about you. They know the lyrics to your songs, and they give you so much love. It is like, wow. This is pretty amazing. I never thought that I would be travelling the world. That still makes a big impression on me. Now I think, twenty something years in, there is not really a plan b for me. I love music, this is what I do. I still enjoy creating. I still enjoy the people that I'm working with. It is who I am, so I just keep slugging ahead, and doing the music that I love, and learning, and growing. Not everything is perfect, and not everything is right, sometimes. Sometimes it was like, 'What was I thinking?' I think I am honest with my fans, and I think that's one thing that they get from me, is my honesty. From my hair colors, to my clothing, to even songs that I've, maybe, put on albums, that I say, 'Yes, you know.' I really do try to keep a standard with music, but I think a lot of my projects sometimes, even with some of the independent label, are a give and take situation. I have had to give sometimes, and I didn't think they were going in the right direction, and it is very frustrating. But, that is part of the process, you're a team. Looking back, sometimes, I thought, 'I should have said no, because that wasn't a great song.' It is really frustrating, but at the same time, when you're working with people, you have got to just let them be creative, and respect them, as well. Hope that they are right, and it is something that you don't see. Sometimes, it comes back to you, that you were right, and it didn't work out. You have to kind of own that. That is on your list. It is a bummer in that aspect, and maybe that's why now, for me, I am happy being independent. I am happy working with the people I am working with. I think that they can be very honest with me, and push me. But, I also think that I really go with my gut instinct, as well. I'm maybe a little more sharper now, on that.
Toddstar: It is almost like you read my mind, or looked at my notes. Your music has evolved over the years, you've done things, even the country album, you've gone back, and broke songs down, you've re-recorded songs. You've become real, and honest, with yourself, and your fans, with music. Looking back professionally, Tiffany, are there any missteps, or anything you would perceive as a misstep? If you could go back, you would change it?
Tiffany: Yes. There are definitely things. But, at the same time, I probably wouldn't be the person that I am today, if I hadn't had made those mistakes, or tried those things. I am never one to really look back, and say, 'Oh, I shouldn't have done that', because hopefully it led me to a better place. Even if it was painful, even if it totally failed, I know that that is not right for me anymore. I think, more than anything, maybe I jumped ahead sometimes. Like the New Inside album, just trying to change my image too quickly, but at the same time, I was a young girl. I really didn't have the best hands on management, at that time. I think I got to really see what it was like to be out there, with different people, working with different people, other than George Tobin. A lot of times, I didn't get the hands on. I felt like I was able to create more without George's influence, because there was a lot that he said, 'No, no. We are not doing that.' I felt like I was growing there, but it hurts when you go in, and you put your heart, and soul, and then the label doesn't really like the album, and you don't have management coming to meetings. I learned the other side very quickly. 'Okay, this is totally polar opposite, of what I've had.' But again, I think that I learn from stuff like that. Trying to change my image, and going with the black hair. Now, I see so many girls doing it, and I think, 'Oh, I wasn't wrong. It just didn't work for me.' I was too ahead of my time, really, doing that. I don't think that there is really a way to make the transition from young singer, to an adult woman, really. I think it is something we're getting better at, for sure. I think at some point, you do have to just say, 'I have arrived. I am not a kid anymore.' I think, for me, I probably did it a little more extreme, but in the 80's that was the rage. Bustier tops, and shorty shorts, everybody looking like a fly girl. That's what my peers were doing, and I definitely didn't really know how to make that transition, but at least I tried. I think that the label, and management, didn't really know what to do with me once I got to be seventeen, eighteen, and they saw that girls were becoming more interested in fashion, and makeup. I think, again, we have really done a lot better now, with making that transition.
Toddstar: I think you should pat yourself on the back, because a lot of those peers you have referred to aren't still doing this. Let's be honest, you've been able to make a career out of something that you loved as a child, and you were able to brave the waters, and make the transition. Make those changes, for better, or for worse. But, you're still doing it.
Tiffany: I am very proud of that fact, that I'm still doing it. Getting great reviews with the music. I think there is a perception, if someone isn't on the radio, then you dropped off the face of the earth. I think now, with having social media, and so many different avenues, that really says that's not true, anymore. I have been doing it over the years, and people still say, 'Oh, you're not on the radio, though.' They would discard your work, but now I think the people are a little bit more used to, 'Oh, that doesn't mean anything. Where can I get your music? Can I get it on iTunes? Do you have a website? Are you out touring?' That is more of you being active and valid in the music industry. I have not stopped with that scene. I really haven't stopped my whole life. A little bit when I had my son, just to be a mom. He is twenty three now, and time really flies by fast. I am very happy that I took that time to just spend with him.
Toddstar: That speaks volumes. Listen, I know you're busy preparing for the tour, so I have got one more for you before we cut you loose. And, thank you for your time. Tiffany, looking back through your catalog, what is the one song that meant a lot to you, or impacted you, that just didn't get the appreciation of either a label, or a management team, or fans, that you had hoped it would?
Tiffany: Probably, "Here In My Heart." Definitely. It did okay in Europe, a little bit, but that's a Dianne Warren song, and there are vocals for days. I definitely was branching out, and stretching my voice a bit, but the emotion on that song is amazing. The video, we actually shot that in France. That was my first real experience with a high budget video, and working with the label. Just being a little fancy pants, you know? To really see that song not live up to its full potential was disheartening.
Toddstar: I like it. I don't know if I speak for millions, but I do enjoy it.
Tiffany: It is in the show, so I am excited to sing it.
Toddstar: There is a small theater in a little town on Lake Huron in Michigan, called the Lexington Village Theater, and I cannot wait to see you there September 4th [TICKETS]. It is going to be a blast, seeing you take these songs that we've all grown to love over the years, and just make them new, and fresh, for all of us once again.
Tiffany: Thank you, I appreciate that. I cannot wait to come out, and rock the house. Definitely. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised with the show, and I cannot really speak enough about my band members. They are just amazing, so I am very proud of them.
Toddstar: Excellent. Well, until then, you enjoy the opening show this week in Nashville and safe travels until we get you here in Michigan, Tiffany.
Tiffany: Thank you, see you soon.
TOUR DATES / TICKETS
This article taken from: http://www.toddstarphotography.com/blog/2016/8/interview-tiffany-august-2016
Posted by Natt at 8:07 AM