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Interview with Miss Tammy Darling
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I grew up in a musical family and started taking piano and voice lessons at the age of 5. I ask myself all the time what I would be doing if I wasn’t working in the arts, and I haven’t yet come up with an answer for myself! So I think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
In my free time, I love to watch classic Hollywood films, visit the latest trending cocktail bars, brush up on my swing dancing, and check out my favourite local retro rock n’ roll bands. Each of these interests has directly influenced one of the original songs on my EP, Electric Love. The cocktail enthusiast in me is revealed in my debut single “Mr. Bartender." “Boogie Into The Night” is about hitting the dance floor and dancing all night long. While “Hollywood Romance” is a dreamy ballad about wanting to meet someone in a “meet cute” situation like you see in a romantic comedy. I also gain a lot of inspiration from watching other bands play live and seeing a room full of people dancing along and having a great time.
How long have you been making music?
As I mentioned early, I started performing and learning music at a very young age, however, I didn’t start writing my own music until the pandemic hit in 2020. At that time my life slowed down immensely and I finally felt like I had time to exercise and explore my songwriting skills.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I live in Toronto where there is a thriving vintage scene. This includes swing dancing, retro rock n’ roll, rockabilly, and surf bands, classic car enthusiasts, pinup contests, burlesque dancers, and vintage fashion lovers. Once I discovered this unique community and all that it had to offer, I also discovered Miss Tammy Darling and began my journey into performing retro music.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
My most memorable show just happened a few weeks ago: my EP release party. It was a surreal experience to perform my original songs for the first time to such a packed house of adoring and supportive fans.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favourite venue to perform at has been The Jazz Room in Waterloo, ON. It has a cozy relaxed atmosphere, great sound, a beautiful grand piano and an excellent in-house sound engineer. As someone who grew up in Waterloo Region, singing on that stage feels like home to me. In the future, I would love the opportunity to perform at Viva Las Vegas, the largest rockabilly festival in the world. I’d love to perform for a crowd of retro music enthusiasts that are all gathered together in celebration of good old rock n’ roll.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
It would be a dream come true to play alongside my rockabilly heroes, the Queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson and Little Miss Dynamite, Brenda Lee! These two powerhouses paved the way for the future of women in the world of rock n’ roll.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
I really wish I had started songwriting earlier in life. I was always too nervous to start because I didn’t think I had what it takes. It felt like unknown territory and I was worried my songs wouldn’t be very good. When I actually gave it a shot, I was hesitant to share what I had been working on. That others would be harsh critics and think I couldn’t write songs of value. Starting something new and then sharing that creation with others can be quite scary, but I encourage others to take a chance and put themselves in that vulnerable place. Find a trusted network of people in the industry that you can share your music with and be open to receiving and applying their feedback. It gets easier and easier every time you share your work and the imposter syndrome dies down slowly over time.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
My song “Mr. Bartender” means the most to me because it was the first song I ever wrote and my debut single. The release of that track in 2020 was a milestone in my career and pushed me to continue writing and recording my own music.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
At shows my most requested song is my newest single, Electric Love, and it’s likely my favourite original to sing! It’s got a great hook, cool groove, and super positive vibe! Besides performing my own songs, I love to perform songs by Wanda Jackson and Brenda Lee. Their songs are catchy, bold, liberating, a bit sassy at times, and so much fun to sing!
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
When it comes to writing new songs, rather than scrounging for new ideas, I wait for something to spark spontaneously. Once I have a new idea, I begin brainstorming some potential lyrics and subject matter. I start with the lyrics because for me that’s the hardest part. The lyrics then influence what melodies and chord structures are chosen to compliment the text and mood. Generally I write songs in pieces; I sit down with it for bits at a time and come back at it again later with a fresh perspective.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
Occasionally midcentury music presents outdated values. In sticking to the contemporary vintage community’s mantra,“vintage style, not vintage values,” I infuse these old styles with modern values and a fresh female perspective. My song "Pretty Little Dress" demonstrates this message best, as it expresses the idea that we should not tolerate unwanted male attention and that our clothing choices should not be an invitation for others to make comments about our appearance. All in all, my hope is to create music that withstands the test of time and resonates with a diverse audience across generations.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Now that Electric Love has been released, I hope to find more opportunities to perform my original songs live! So stay tuned for the announcement of future show dates. Also, over the past few months I took a small break from songwriting to focus on the EP production and release, so I’m really looking forward to getting back at it and seeing what new songs I come up with!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?