Saturday, September 10, 2016

Interview with Tiffany: ‘What I’m all about’

Courtesy of Ron Davis, used with permission.

By: Allen Foster Sep 7, 2016

According to a quick online search, there are well over 300 thousand people currently living in the US who have the first name Tiffany. However, when you hear that name, there is only one person you think of. One face you picture. One voice you hear. Tiffany is an icon. She’s the vibrant, red-haired pop star who became a global idol in 1987 with her charged rendition of “I Think We’re Alone Now.” Yet, when AXS asked the artist if it ever got old being so widely adored, she had a curious response.

“I didn't really know!” she laughed. “The guys were all on the down-low as Tiffany fans because back then it wasn’t cool. I always say I would’ve dated a lot more had I known that I had options out there. Now, there are so many people who tell me, ‘I had your poster on my wall growing up!’ And I’m like, ‘Really?! Because you played that one so cool that I had no clue!’”

A few months ago, Tiffany released a new album. A Million Miles isn’t the work of a performer who is coasting along on her previous fame, it’s a stunningly beautiful release from a seasoned artist who is in her prime and still has a great deal to say. It is a powerful and poignant collection of music that, for possibly the first time in her thirty-year career, lets the world see all that she is – a dazzling entertainer, a brilliant songwriter, and an unparalleled vocalist.

“I’m very honored you said that,” she expressed. “My plan on this album was to show people that I could sing. I’ve been touring pretty consistently for the last 10 years or so and one thing everyone says when they come to my shows is, ‘I didn't know you could sing like that!’ So yeah, I’m still trying to get that out there,” she laughed.

A Million Miles celebrates Tiffany as a vocalist. Although the album contains some infectious upbeat material, it is much more defined by its sweeping emotional ballads. The strikingly intimate and honest performances allow Tiffany to forge a deeper connection with her fans. Consequently, A Million Miles also marks the first time the artist has been officially credited as a co-producer.

“I’ve been behind the scenes for a while, kind of making things happen and putting my two cents in, but I’ve never really felt comfortable saying that I am a producer,” Tiffany explained. “But on this album, I had so many ideas about the arrangements of the songs and what instruments to use and where and how I wanted to deliver everything that Stephen Leiweke, my co-producer, said, ‘I think you’re ready. You really have been ready for a while. This album is really you and you should be proud of that.’”

“I’ve lost a lot of friends and family members to cancer and addiction, changed relationships, and just had so many things happen in my life over these past five years,” the artist told AXS. “This album is my diary and my therapy, but I think it’s something that is totally relatable to everyone. I think we’re all changing and evolving and trying things out to see what works and what doesn’t.”

One of the most personal songs on the album is “Fall Again,” a song Tiffany wrote with Dana Radford and Judd Fuller. “It was pretty difficult to even bring that to another writer,” she recalled. “The song is about wanting to do the right thing, but you just don’t seem to be able to make it there. You have all these beautiful things around you, all this love, and you realize that and you acknowledge it, but you’re just stuck in your sadness, so you keep doing the same thing over and over again.”

“Having a drink is comforting to you and you think about it all day long,” she continued. “And to be honest, a lot of women alcoholics start to have a weird kind of romance with alcohol. It takes the place of a husband, a best friend, or a boyfriend. The song was about my cousin and how she talked about alcohol. I said, ‘This is not a person. You do realize that. Right?’ But for her, it was something that she really looked forward to.”

“I’m a very proactive person and I’m not judgmental. I will go through hell with you… but we are going to turn around at some point. It was so hard to not be able to help, to watch her health deteriorate so much that she lost her will to live.”

“But this is something that can happen to any of us,” the singer confessed. “I’m a pretty upbeat person, but I’ve been through relationships that weren’t good for me and I’ve dated the same guy for a while – even though it was a different guy. So yes, I’ve been caught in a pattern, too. After my divorce, I went through about a year of dating where I just kept picking the wrong person. It was that whole ‘bad boy’ scenario of ‘Let me prove myself worthy.’”

“I can only say this for me, but I felt like my divorce was a failure,” Tiffany elaborated. “I didn’t really want to reach too high because I felt like I had failed in some way. Thank God, I was able to come out of that. My husband just walked into my life and I really wasn’t ready for him. I probably tried to shoo him off about a million times because I had grown really comfortable just hanging out with my band – I was okay without a guy in my life. But my husband just kept pursuing me and I’m very glad he did. Eventually, I realized that he really meant what he said. He was sincere and I could actually see a future with him… And that scared me to death!”

One of the reasons A Million Miles is so affecting is because Tiffany didn’t just tear 10 pages out of her diary, turn them into songs, and mash them all together to create an album full of singles. Yes, every track is a stirring stand-alone powerhouse, but Tiffany didn’t bounce you back and forth from highs to lows, she stayed faithful to her own experiences and orchestrated an empowering journey for the listener.

“We decided, if we were going to take you there for a second, we were going to take you there. And then we were going to build you back up and get you ready for the day. We didn’t want to leave you totally shattered and depressed. ‘Tears’ is the last song and even though it’s sad, it’s very epic and it kind of gives you that energy in the end. When the album is over, you’re reflecting and you’re thinking about your life. I wanted the music to do that – you’ve been stimulated and now you’re thinking if you want to change something in your life or start chasing that dream that you’ve never chased or maybe even create new dreams! Whatever it is, I wanted to leave you with that.”

When asked about the overall studio experience, Tiffany exclaimed, “I would do another record right away with Stephen. And we’re planning on it because I think I’ve finally found somebody who truly understands the Tiffany madness and how I work – which isn’t easy because I don’t really play an instrument,” she admitted. “But I do hear all of these things in my head and Stephen just allows me to make a complete idiot out of myself making all these weird noises, trying to show him how I want the parts to go,” she laughed.

“However,” she added, “as much as I love the whole writing and recording process, the live performance is really what I’m all about. I love my fans and I’m pretty easygoing at shows. I think people trip out because I’m like, ‘Hey, girl!’ and they are like, ‘Did she just say that like we’re friends?!”

Tiffany can be so open and friendly because she understands and embraces all the dynamics of who she is – there’s the pop ‘80s retro superstar side, but there’s also the family side. In other words, she’s grounded.

“There’s me wanting to be the best mom I can be and being a partner who is committed to having a home life. You have to learn to be okay with just turning everything off, going out the door with no makeup on, and being totally vulnerable. If someone asked me what I was doing today, I would have to say, ‘The laundry,’” she laughed.

“You get caught in one of those patterns we talked about. You always have to answer questions the right way and you always have to have something going on, ‘Look at me, I’ve got a new album, a tour, I’m really moving and shaking, and I know all the right people, aren’t I cool?’ That’s what the industry requires of you. I think that’s why I hang out with my two-year-old niece and nephew a lot, ‘Hey look, a toy fire truck! Let’s play with that for three hours.’”

But Tiffany does have a new album out, A Million Miles. And it is arguably the finest work of her entire career to date. Plus, she’s on the road performing both intimate shows and bombastic retro ‘80s reunion events with dates running all the way into June 2017! Things really are moving and shaking for her.

“When I’m with my fans, I’m in the moment with them and I’m enjoying that moment,” she concluded. “And that’s the key, you have to enjoy it. I don’t ever want to get to a point where I’m burned out on people, it’s not fair to my fans. If I ever feel like that, then I need to take a break. I am grateful for every minute of this because I really enjoy being with my fans and I want them to be able to feel that.”

Tiffany: website • Facebook • Instagram • Twitter • tour dates

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