Interview with Tissa Rahim
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I got into music through my grandfather and mum who are both Persian vocalists. Music was always playing in my house, both Persian and western, and I developed an affinity for it really early on. If I wasn’t an artist I would be a scientist today; in fact, I went to school and studied Neuroscience, and worked in public health for 4 years.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I really enjoy reading, spending time in nature and listening to podcasts, particularly comedy ones. I often find myself inspired by concepts or certain phrases I pick up from books and podcast interviews that sometimes lead to song lyrics, and spending time in nature helps me to slow down my mind and allow creativity to flow.
How long have you been making music?
I have been making music since 2008, with my current solo artist project starting in late 2018.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I am based out of Vancouver, Canada. In terms of scenic-ness, Vancouver has it all: mountains, forests, oceans. I also grew up in Vienna, Austria, to parents from Iran. I believe that all of these influences created my sound today.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
At the end of 2021 I got to travel to Guadalajara, Mexico, to play a music festival with my friend and collaborator Cxsinensis. It was amazing to have hundreds of people sing your lyrics back to you, a feeling that I hope to experience more and more in the future.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
In Vancouver my favourite venue to perform at is Guilt & Co. Many of Vancouver’s talents perform there, and audiences come every night of the week knowing they’ll experience amazing music.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
My dream is to one day share the bill with fellow Persian artist Snoh Aalegra, Jazmine Sullivan and Lake Street Dive.
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 think getting into music requires discipline and it also requires confidence in yourself, and vulnerability. It’s very likely that you won’t write your best song ever when you’re first starting off, but it takes practicing and being open to the creative process. If you take things one step at a time, and do a bit of work toward music every day, eventually you’ll find yourself in a spot where you have a repertoire and the confidence to release those songs and perform them live. I’d also recommend seeking out people to write and perform with, as it can make the process a whole lot more fun.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I recently released my first set of songs that are entirely in Farsi; one of the songs, titled “Azadi” (Freedom), with Shaakey and Morgana, is a song for the ongoing “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement in Iran, a women-led Iranian revolution.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
My most requested songs to date, and also my favourite songs to play, are “Better Off Alone”, “Always Be My Never”, and a cover of “Age Ye Rooz”, originally written and performed by Faramarz Aslani.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
I love co-writing with people. My upcoming sets of songs are all collaborations with my talented friends. I have a collaborator, Gabe.Sx, who lives in Brazil and with whom I write with remotely. I have also written music recently with Berlin-based Dominique Fricot, and Vancouver-based Alvin Brendan and Benjamin Millman.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
In my music I hope to get across the idea that there is power in being vulnerable. I love singing about finding fulfillment outside of relationships while also recognizing that there is nothing wrong with longing for love and partnership.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I will be performing at The Chapel at St. Andrew’s-Wesley in Vancouver (1022 Nelson Street) April 14 at 6PM:
I will also be performing at the Vancouver Island MusicFest in Comox, BC, July 14-16: https://www.islandmusicfest.com
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
You can subscribe to my mailing list on my website www.tissarahim.com, and follow me on Instagram @iamtissarahim and YouTube @tissarahim.