Canadian singer/songwriter Tara MacLean has been an internationally renowned and award-winning recording and touring artist for over 25 years.
She’s written and recorded six solo albums and two with her Juno-nominated band Shaye (with Kim Stockwood and Damhnait Doyle). Tara has been signed to Nettwerk Music Group, EMI Canada, Capitol US and Asia and is still with Sony Music Publishing Canada.
In 2008, Tara took a hiatus to focus on being a full-time mother, but she never stopped writing music.
Tara returned to her music career in 2016 when she wrote, produced, and directed her hit show “Atlantic Blue-The Stories of Atlantic Canada’s Iconic Songwriters” which went on to a sold-out run at the famous Charlottetown Festival. The same year, she returned to releasing original material – a duet (This Storm) with Catherine MacLellan and a new album (Deeper). She received the Music PEI Songwriter and Solo Recording award for “Deeper” and “This Storm” received the Music PEI Song Award that same year.
Her first book, Song of the Sparrow, hit the Bestseller List the week it was released, and Tara quickly followed up with “Sparrow” — the soundtrack for the book. The book has received rave reviews and Tara has been invited to speak at several literary events, including HayFest in the UK and the Toronto International Festival of Authors. “Sparrow” has received significant playlist placements and has garnered new fans.
What first got you into music?
I have always sung all my life. In fact, I sang before I spoke. My stepfather who raised me was a country, gospel musician, and he taught me to play guitar and sing harmony.
Who inspired you to make music?
Since music was just in the house all the time live, with other musicians coming over to jam with my father, making music just seemed like what people did. Everything and anything could inspire a song.
How would you describe your music?
Industrial Epic Folk
If you could go open a show for any artist, who would it be?
Who are your top two favorite artists of all time? Why those artists?
Dolly Parton, Daniel Lanois, Peter Gabriel. Dolly is one of the world’s greatest songwriters, and has so much integrity. Daniel Lanois is one of our greatest producers and songwriters, and I couldn’t live without his music. He’s also a wonderful guy. Peter Gabriel is epic and limitless and I have loved his music my whole life. His studio is world-famous and I have visited it twice. His work with Daniel Lanois is my favorite.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
Be true to yourself.
What would you be doing right now if it weren’t for your music career?
I have no other marketable skills. Just kidding. I was cashier of the year at A&W when I was 14. With that on a resume, I’m pretty sure I could make six figures in some way.
What led you to become a music artist and what advice can you give to others aspiring
to make a hit?
I’d say, don’t try to make a hit. I’d say write from your heart and create something unique that really matters to you and resonates with yourself, And Read Nick Cave’s Letter to MTV.
What is the best advice you have been given?
The best advice I have ever been given is to have no expectations. Dream big, but expect nothing. Then you won’t be out of alignment with what arises, and you’ll always be beautifully surprised by what happens. It’s a way better way to roll.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
I’d make it so that it was an industry where the recording and touring artist could make a living wage.
What is next for you?
I am writing a new album and a new book!
If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?
Song of the Sparrow…which I just wrote and it’s now a best seller! YAY!
What would be a good theme song for your life?
I Had the Time of my Life
Which is cooler? Dinosaurs or Dragons?
If you could learn any language fluently, what would it be?
If you were captain of a ship, what would you call it?
The SS. Sparrow
What would you bring along to an idyllic picnic?
A man to rub my feet
If you were talking to a younger version of you, what advice would you give yourself?
I would say to stay true to your vision. Find people you trust, but never compromise what you feel is right with regard to your art, or anything else. Oh, and have a good lawyer.
“Kiss in December,” is a rare collaboration between Tara and her fellow singer-songwriter, Catherine MacLellan, who co-wrote and produced it. It’s about a winter love, a real life kiss in December that changed Tara‘s life many winters ago. The song originated as a poem. It paints a picture of warmth and of cold at once, but in the end it’s a bit of a sad song.
Stream + share “Kiss In December” now: https://ffm.to/taramaclean-kissindecember