Q: I’m obsessed with everything about “Esmeralda”; the beat, your infectious vocals, the lyrics. What was your favorite part in creating this track?
TAMARA JENNA: Ah thank you so much. Definitely the writing process, I got the beat from Lex Nour (Producer) and I just went straight in with it, proper old school pen and paper.
Q: I love the juxtaposition on taking a story such as “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, which is often referred to as a children’s fairytale to the overall darkness of the track. What do you hope listeners take away from “Esmeralda”?
TAMARA: That’s a really good question, I think that the overall theme to take away is that in order for you to know the true meaning of light sometimes you need to experience darkness and that it’s a normal part of life. Ultimately the meaning of the original story is to not judge a book by its cover both in Esmeralda and in Quasimodo and I think I captured that a little in this piece.
Q: Do you remember what or who first got you into music? Was your family musical growing up?
TAMARA: Yeah, so I was 9 when I started learning a specific skill. I watched my Uncle play guitar from a really young age and was completely intrigued – I would just stare in awe of the craft. On my ninth birthday my I got my first guitar and started lessons. Prior to that at the age of 2 I would get the pots and pans turn them upside down and bang them with a wooden spoon for hours on end. My nan just let me get on with it whilst cooking occassionally suggesting that I should put some frozen peas in the pots and cook them for her in my play kitchen just to get a minute’s peace haha. From the age of 3 I would play on my Great Grandmother’s grand piano in our house after watching my mom play. She can’t play piano but she’d learned 2 melodies which I became facinated with. The rest led to where I am now 🙂 I released my first proper production at the end of 2019.
Q: How’s the music scene Birmingham, UK? Have any advice for upcoming artists trying to make a name for themselves there?
TAMARA: The music scene in Birmingham is great, full of talented musicians that are often overlooked. I’m working towards providing more opportunities for Birmingham artists and run a free BULL-ETIN for all of their music news. I think my key advice would be the same as anywhere else – believe in yourself, nobody really believes in you until you believe in yourself. If you believe that your situation puts you at a disadvantage, use that as a superpower and as a fuel to succeed. Get your head down, work on your craft and always remember that there’s always something new to learn.
Q: You have such a distinct sound that mixes different elements of hip-hop, R&B, dark pop, & trap; In your own words, how would you describe the type of music you typically create?
TAMARA: I would say Alternative R&B/Rap Artist if I had to have a fixed label. I just create things as I feel them whether they’re pop, rock, rap, R&B, house and even classical. I’m just completely free with it which I suppose is a little daring but that’s my artistry. I think I lean towards Rap because I get to express myself with attitude, I like R&B because I get to sit with my feelings in a different way and when I combine the two I think that’s where the specific sound of “Tamara Jenna” comes in I’m the ultimate Teddy Bear but I’m also a Tiger.
Q: Your lyrical talent truly shines through on “Esmeralda”; What inspired you to take the fairytale of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and create a track around it?
TAMARA: I really appreciate that, thank you. Childhood trauma haha. The overall concept of my project in the works is “Nightmares to Fairy tales” the darkness and the light, the trauma and the growth When I was a kid I went to the cinema to watch the Disney version and I felt as though I was Quasemodo. I was absolutely sobbing quietly in the cinema chair when they all threw tomatoes at him – the last part that I saw before I left was Esmeralda’s kindness towards him. I never forgot it – and to be completely honest, I didn’t want the film until after released the piece! For every Esmeralda there’s a Quasimodo – We often look at other people and compare and catagorise ourselves as the beautiful one and the ugly one – the lesser one anad the better one, the one who has more or less to offer in a situation. In this instance I’ve captured it the narrative of Quasimodo.
Q: If you could collaborate with any artist, dead of alive, who would it be?
TAMARA: Prince. Hands down. Genius, free, extraordinarily unique.
Q: Tell everyone what you’re up to! Any projects in the works, shows coming up, etc.?
TAMARA: You’ll have to follow me on instagram for that @tamarajennaofficial give a lot of hints
Photo credits: Tamara Jenna
Interviewed by Melissa Cusano
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