Cape Town – Known for hits such as the 1988 Twist in My Sobriety and Good Tradition, British singer Tanita Tikaram released her 10th studio album earlier this year.
Her new album, titled Closer To The People, have received rave reviews since its release and comes from a career spanning almost 30 years in the music industry.
We had the opportunity to chat to Tanita about her new album and this is what she revealed:
On the new album:
I hope that it gets closer and closer to a sound that is a contemporary sound. But also having the music of soul and rhythm and blues and all kinds of music that I really love. The two things hopefully co-exist very well on this album, because the musicians I work with are quite, I would say of an older generation and the producers I worked with, they’ve worked with Faithless and Goldfrapp and The Lightning Seeds, so they’re more contemporary. I’ve always wanted to combine these types of music so hopefully it’s a harmonious meeting.
As you get older, you kind of naturally listen to all kinds of music, and I’ve fallen in love with jazz. And I don’t mean free jazz, more jazz like the Ella Fitzgerald type, it’s such a very melodic jazz, and I think it’s an old kind of sound that I love as well. It’s actually when jazz is quite bluesy as well. I think even it 5% of that type of music influenced my album, then I am happy.
I think it’s an easy album to listen to. I would say the album is quite quirky and dynamic and hopefully it has a good taste. I hope it takes you on different little excursions and journeys that you don’t really expect.
On writing now vs then:
When I was younger, I think I was more attracted to the idea of being the artist. I think I was less patient in a way, and now that I’m older I’m not so attracted to that process any more. So the songs on the new album are co-written with my band, because I just felt that was how it should be done and it was also a way of thanking the individual members of the band. I think now I’m also more patient with a song. When I was younger and I didn’t finish a song in the same day I started writing it, I would think the song didn’t exist. But now if I have a good idea, I would be much more patient to let it reveal itself to me, which comes with being experienced. I think probably what the aim is when you have a long career is that you don’t write worse songs, your songs sort of just stay the same quality hopefully.On touring now vs then:I think when you’re younger you have no idea how to protect yourself in a way. I mean when you’re older you’re like, ‘I need to this and I have to make sure I have enough energy to be able to perform’, and in the way that you deal with people. You know that you have to save something to actually perform. And also being on the road is about having great people around you. You can have great musicians, but you don’t necessarily want to see them for 3 weeks, you know? So you should be with people that you really… just good people actually, people you can spend time with, because you are quite a family when you’re touring and I think it’s important to feel that unity as a band. On career highlights:There was a moment when I didn’t really know whether I was supposed to be in music. When you’re very young and you start working you almost don’t choose what you do, it chooses you in a way. And at some point as an adult you begin to doubt whether you made the right choice. I think if there was an important moment, it was when I met Bobby Irwin, who the album is dedicated to. He was our drummer, and unfortunately he passed away last year. He was a very talented musician and he told me that music is all about collaboration and about being part of something. And I think from that day I sort of realised that you have to create your own gang and it has to be fun and it has to be about friendship really. So he taught us all a lot.
On visiting SA:
I did a TV show in South Africa once, but I never performed in concert, maybe that will happen sometime this year. It’s not confirmed yet, but it is possibly going to happen this year. That will be very exciting!On good advice:It can’t always be about the material things. I can only advise this, I think if you have a creative job that you never stop learning. For example if you’re a musician that you keep learning about your instrument or a new instrument. It’s really funny, like in my band for example they also do gypsy jazz. It’s just having a passion for what you do but not necessarily that that passion will be used professionally. It keeps you excited about what you chose to do in a different way. I’m also a singing teacher and sometimes I do an aria and it has nothing to do with pop music, it’s just a way of learning in a really dreamy kind of intellectual way that I quite enjoy.
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