An homage to a couple of friends who’ve made Tara Velarde’s music really come alive is what comes with her latest single “Willow Baby.” It’s one of the many songs fans will be able to hear as she plays out west throughout the end of the year. Those are just a couple of things that came up in our exchange. Read on to see what else she had to say about her theatre background, guitars coming to life and more.
Kendra: You’ve got a lot of pieces making you who you are. We’ll talk about the music, but first – theater. What aspects of being on a stage in a theater do you feel help you when you’re wearing the hat of a musician on other stages?
Tara Velarde: Spending time in theater has taught me to engage my audience in the story. It’s not enough to stand there and say the words – you have to believe them, show them, connect with your audience so that they feel them too. The theater has helped me to take the stage with confidence and say “I have something to show you”.
Kendra: Now about the music. It wasn’t too long that you dropped Get Out and Walk. When it comes time to make the next album, what do you want to do differently?
Tara: I loved the way that we did Get Out and Walk – we wanted to preserve the feel of our live show and energy, and I we did just that. For my single “Willow Baby” and the upcoming EP, we’re spending time crafting each of the songs. It’s a different approach, but already I love what we’re creating. Some songs need more time and care, and I think this group of songs will really shine with that attention.
Kendra: You have a lot of dates coming up throughout the end of the year. Do you think you’ll be doing much writing in between shows? Does travel inspire your pen more than sitting stagnant at home?
Tara: In order to write, I have to be alone with a healthy chunk of time, not worried about being disturbed. I never get to choose when a song starts to come out, but when it does, I have to seize the moment – like it says in “Willow Baby”, “the workday can wait/let’s make something timeless.” I’ve never been one to write while I’m on the road, but it certainly does stimulate new thoughts and ideas that turn into my lyrics and songs.
Kendra: We have to talk about “Willow Baby.” It’s this beautiful homage to your besties, your guitars both past, and present; Bella Donna and Willow Baby. If they were, in fact, people instead of guitars, what kind of friends do you feel Bella and Willow would be?
Tara: That’s a great question! Who would they be…I think that Bella Donna was wise, and old, and had seen a lot before she came to me (I got her second hand). She held my hand through a lot of learning. Willow Baby, on the other hand, jumped right into the action and has been performing and touring with me for the last few years. She has energy, tenacity, and wants to go on the adventure.
Kendra: Will “Willow Baby” be on a record in the new year?
Tara: It certainly will. We plan to release an EP in the spring of 2018, with both full-band songs and some intimate solo numbers as well. We have a tour of the Southwest US and Europe in the works to promote.
Kendra: Sadly, Bella Donna is no longer with us. But if you had to make a mixtape to honor her even more – what five songs would be on it?
“Bella Donna” – The Avett Brothers – It’s not her namesake, but it was the first time I heard these two pretty words put together.
“I’ve Just Seen a Face” – The Beatles – Because I knew she was gorgeous from the moment I first saw her
“Soothing” – Laura Marling – For the moment I first realized that Bella Donna was gone.
“Save Part of Yourself” – Brandi Carlile – I feel like Bella Donna wouldn’t want me to forget her!
“Thanks for the Memory” – Bing Crosby