Black Girl with Glasses feat. Tamra




Rochester Singer/Songwriter Tamra discusses her album Big Hair, the self-empowerment of women, much more.  Features the song “Neon Cloud” from Big Hair.



Black Girl With Glasses Feat. Tamra Simone

Transcription by Noelle Ware

Meeka: Good afternoon, everyone! This is Meeka and you are listening to Black Girl With Glasses on SoundCloud.

[Intro music plays]

Meeka: Today’s guest is a singer-songwriter here in Rochester, and she recently released her first LP, Big Hair. So, please give a warm welcome to Tamra Simone!

Tamra: [Laugh] Hey!

Meeka: Hey, what’s going on? It’s been awhile since we talked! How you doing?

Tamra: I’ve been doing good! I’ve just been enjoying myself, enjoying this beautiful weather here in Rochester, New York, and getting ready for my show that’s coming up on June 17th, so I’m excited.

Meeka: So, tell me a little bit about your show!

Tamra: Well, I was inspired- I love Frida Kahlo, who is a Mexican painter, and she went through a lot with her health and with her relationships with her boyfriend and her husband. So, I was reading some of her autobiography and I kept seeing- I went to Madrid and I kept seeing stuff about Frida Kahlo and I was like, “You know what? I’m going to do a Frida Kahlo inspired show.” And I want to do acoustic guitar with some harmonies and me singing songs that have to do with heartbreak or even just victory out of heartbreak just for Frida. She went through a lot with her husband. I’m doing an acoustic soul show in honor of Frida Kahlo and it’s going to be June 17th.

Tamra: I have some great musicians and vocalists who are going to be joining me. I have Charles Emanuel, who’s an amazing guitarist and singer who’s going to be opening up, and Carson Argenna who was in a vocal competition with me in February, and he was so good! I thought he was such a great competitor, his voice was amazing, so I just wanted to invite him on the show. So, I’ll be singing and those two guys will be singing.

Tamra: And I have my coach, Mike Gladstone who is going to be accompanying me on the guitar and stuff like that. It’s going to be great! It’s going to be at Gallery 74, the show starts promptly at 9 o’clock. I’m going to have some vendors there and it’s just going to be a great night of music and soul.

Meeka: Awesome! So, for one, I just want to give people a bit of a history as far as Tamra and myself. We actually used to work together and I found out she was a performer after I left my workplace. In fact, I ended up seeing you liv a couple of times. So, you’re an awesome performer! I’m actually very honored that we’re having this interview right now, seriously.

Tamra: Thank you, thank you! [Laugh]

Meeka: And I will admit as well outside of work, I didn’t know that much about you. So please, for myself and for the audience, tell a little bit about yourself.

Tamra: Alright, well I grew up in Rochester, New York. I started singing in the churches I grew up in. I grew up in Pentecostal churches, which was all about singing with the motion and you sing to make people feel. You don’t sing just to sound beautiful, you sing to get people to feel the Holy Spirit, I guess. So, I grew up singing in the church but I really started taking it seriously after I got out of college, because I used to sing in college to make money. They had these contests all the time, so I would enter these contests and I would win them all and I would win all these cash prizes. So, I was singing not because I loved to sing, but because it was giving me money.

Tamra: But, I came back to Rochester after college and I started going to these open mic sessions and stuff that my church was hosting, and I would do freestyling singing. It was something that was just very therapeutic and it was just something that I really enjoyed doing. Before I was just performing and doing it because that’s what I loved. I went to a performing arts high school, so I loved performing but this was the first time that I was performing and using it as therapy or using it as a way to help other people. So, I started a band in 2009 that was a socially conscious driven band, singing songs of freedom and justice and stuff like that, and empowerment of women.

Tamra: Then, in 2013, I ended up going solo after a lot of the band members ended up moving or they just didn’t have the time anymore. So, I just started doing my own solo thing for these past few years: 2013 til now. I’ve just been singing ever since. I’ve been doing local shows, I’ve been performing in New York City, I’ve performed around the world, in the continent Africa, Europe, and Spain. Just different places that my voice has taken me and I’m really blessed to sing and to perform all around the world, not just in Rochester.

Meeka: We’ll definitely talk about that in a minute, as far as you travelling around the world to perform. But, I noticed that you cover a lot of Bob Marley. And I remember you doing an entire tribute to Bob Marley the first time I saw you perform. What draws you to his music in particular?

Tamra: What definitely draws me to his music is… The cool thing about Bob Marley is that he was able to sing songs about God, he was able to sing songs about love and peace, and that’s what draws me to him. He wasn’t a one-trick pony, he had messages and perspectives from different angles and they were accepted. And, as we know, a lot of his stuff is mainstream today. So being able to shout, “Jah Rastafari” on stage to people, because it was very religious, I think that I can relate to that. I grew up in a very religious home and I still am a huge believer in faith and God, so being able to be an artist that wasn’t afraid to do that and expose people to his Rastafarian religion, but still being able to be mainstream, and also being able to sing songs about justice, that’s very appealing to me.

Tamra: That’s kind of the direction of where I’m going, just making sure that my music is speaking towards the spiritual realm, the freedom of oppressed people, and love. Those are the three elements that are so important to living a great life to me: justice, love, and spirituality. So, I think those three elements have always drawn me to Bob Marley. And reggae music is so cool and chill and his voice is amazing, so that’s what really draws me to him, just his love of his religion and I love that because that’s how I feel about mine too.

Meeka; So, I’m wondering, because you talk a little bit about your faith and your practice, and I was wondering, how are you able to mesh your spirituality and your political ideologies into your music. Because, I know that a lot of people who consider themselves leftists, they either do one or the other, they don’t do both. So, I was wondering, how are you able to combine or fuse your spirituality with your politics?

Tamra: Yeah, I think the thing about religion is that- and what I believe is that it has to be- religion is all about speaking life. Because life is in the power of the tongue. So, with my lyrics, with my words, I’m always speaking life. I’m speaking life, about people being beautiful and wonderfully made, like God doesn’t make any mistakes on anyone. In my opinion, God created us the way we’re supposed to be, no matter if the world doesn’t like it or not. And that is speaking truth and that’s speaking from the God in a perspective that I know.

Tamra: And also, being able to use my faith in my music is also just using it to get through to music, because it’s a tough, tough battle to be out here trying to become a star in a lot of ways, or trying to make your name known or to be able to get through to trying to make an album, because there’s so much that goes into it, and it’s exhausting. Especially when music isn’t the only thing that’s paying your bills. Or you have a job, a full-time job and then go home, and then go to the studio and it’s exhausting.

Tamra: So, being able to use my faith to get me through, to keep me strong when it’s tough, when the times get rough, it just helps to have a spiritual background to get you through times where you do want to give up and know that you’re not alone. And that there is something bigger than ourselves that is going to help us through in times where we want to give up. So, I think those are things and ways that I incorporate my spirituality, and even with justice, just knowing that the God I serve is about knowing truth and all about helping the oppressed and freeing the oppressed through words and through action. Those elements, you’ll hear in my songs and through my music.

Meeka: So, I was wondering, do you still perform in the church? Or did you say to yourself, “That’s one platform I used to help me, but now it’s time for me to spread my wings in the world,”?

Tamra: Yeah, I don’t currently sing in the church, but I used to. I did for most of my life. I think, for me, I honestly don’t have a church home that I’m at, at this moment. So, it just doesn’t allow me to sing at any church right now. But, the thing about it, there’s people who never walk inside of a church. They’ll never walk inside of a church building because they don’t feel like that’s where they belong, or they don’t feel like that’s where they’ll be accepted. So, to get out of the church while being able to sing songs that will help heal people, that will help empower people that might never step foot into a church hall but may step into a poetry reading or a coffee house, or concert hall- those people still need to hear positive stuff. So, that’s kind of how I’m taking it.

Tamra: I believe that religion is outside of temples and different things anyway. That’s where most of the work happens, it’s outside of that. So, anyways, that’s where I feel happy that I can, after a show, get a message on Facebook or someone coming to me and saying, “Hey, I was really feeling down and hearing your empowering song or encouraging song really helped me through what I was going through at that moment and it helped to free me at that time.” So, I’m thankful that while that person may not have been at a church service, at least that person was able to hear me sing at a concert.

Meeka: So, as far as music [clears throat] excuse me, as far as performers, who are your influences and why?

Tamra: I would definitely have to say that my number one influence is James Brown. My grandmother was obsessed with James Brown, so I heard him a lot. So, the soul that he brings to his music, I heard him before I saw him. I remember hearing him sing and I’m like, “Oh my God, he’s feeling what he’s singing. He’s not just sounding beautiful, he’s feeling it!” And then when you see James Brown perform, you’re seeing him come alive. You’re seeing him improv onstage, you’re seeing him collaborate and direct his band and sing at the same time. So, James Brown would definitely be my number one influence.

Tamra: A lot of male singers are my influence when it comes to singing and musicianship. Probably because, when a man sings about his emotions, it’s coming from, to me, a deeper place, because men aren’t supposed to be singing about emotions traditionally. So, if a man is singing about that, it comes from a place- I end up taking and studying male singers like Sam Cooke and James Brown and Bill Withers and Al Green, different people like that, I intake and go, “Wow, their emotions are just out of this world,” through their music.

Tamra: Because emotion and music go together, and I think he’s definitely- those guys are definitely huge inspirations. Ella Fitzgerald in the jazz world, she was amazing. Today’s people, Janelle Monae, India.Arie is a huge inspiration as well, and of course Lauryn Hill, those type of artists. And of course, all of the cool RnB artists of the 90’s. They definitely have a role in how I sing and how I articulate certain things.

Meeka: Yeah, I’ve noticed that you are a huge- just based on what you’re saying, a lot of the artists you are influenced by, or admire or are influenced by are from the old days. Like the 1930’s and 40’s and so on. And I feel the same way. At the time, there was a lot going on and in order for them to tell the story, they had to be emotional. And that’s one of the reasons I’m a fan of the oldies. A lot of songs that were written, not only were they filled with emotion, but they had the story element to them.

Tamra: Right, right.

Meeka: And that’s very well-missing in songs or music. You have to dig deep in order to get right to any sort of music that has a story to it. So, I completely agree. So, I was wondering, when did you realize that being a performer was something that you wanted to do?

Tamra: I’ve always, since I could remember, I was always really quiet growing up, but there was this thing in me where I understood performing, I got it. It was just a natural thing that always I just really took to. So, when I had the opportunities to perform in church plays or at church or at school, those things interest me, from the beginning. I never remember not wanting to be a part of the art, but I was always so scared to do it, and I would have stage fright, but I would get through it because I wanted to do good and I wanted to show people how talented I was. So, my whole life, I’ve always loved being a performer.

Tamra: I went to the Schooling Arts for Theatre for high school and I graduated and I was actually voted best actress of my senior class. It was just something that was always in me and I love it, that’s where I feel at home. You just totally lose control and everything is just left to destiny. It’s left to God, it’s left to the universe, for whatever comes out your mouth- if you remember the lines or you don’t remember the words, and you have to be spontaneous and think on the spot. And I think my psyche loves that, in a way.

Tamra: You know, it can be nerve-wracking, so performing is like- it’s annoying to rehearse and to go through all of the trying times to get to that stage, but it’s the best feeling that’s where I’m the happiest, that’s where I’m the most free, I feel the most authentic, and real, and nothing else is on my mind, but what I’m doing at that moment. That’s when I feel like I’m really living in the moment. Other than that, my mind is everywhere. When I’m performing, I feel like I’m there, I’m nowhere else. My mind’s not thinking of nothing else, I’m in the moment. So, I’ve always wanted to perform in some type of way through acting or singing or dance, even though I’m not that good of a dancer [Laugh].

Tamra: So yeah, but I love performing. And it’s not just to perform to show everybody how great I am, or to be like, “Yeah, I’m the best!” It’s performing because I’m an artist and I love to put myself out there to be vulnerable enough to share who I am and to be authentic and be who I am and be who I’m supposed to be, which can hopefully encourage other people to do the same, to be authentic, to be who they are meant to be. I feel like everyone knows who they are supposed to be, but the world confuses them. When you look back when you were a little girl or little boy and you hear and you know what you’re really into, that’s who you’re supposed to be, before the world changed you. So, performing has always been with me ever since I can remember. Even if it was in the house in front of family or at the family reunion.

Meeka: So, speaking of family, by day you’re a teacher. And I noticed that you, just based on what I’ve seen when I was working there, I noticed that everything you came to empowered your students. Having them stand in a circle, and do a self-empowerment chant. So, is self-empowerment the overall message behind your music? How do you teach your students to use music to empower themselves?

Tamra: I actually- my intention for being a teacher is only one thing: and it’s to expose my children to things that are going to spark something in them good. Good things in them. So, recently we did a music lesson and I played, “I Am Not My Hair” because I had a couple of kids who kept picking at people’s hair because it was so-called nappy or whatever. So, I used that as a moment, and I didn’t put them down. I didn’t even correct them at the moment, I just did a lesson plan about hair and about color and about different things that had to do with how you look.

Tamra: So, we listened to India.Arie’s I am not my hair, and the kids, after we listened to it, they were able to pick out some of the lessons out of that song. What was India.Arie trying to say in that song, what were some points that she made. And they were able to do that through her lyrics because I was like, music can help you love yourself. Music can do all types of great things, it can make you mad, it can make you sad, it can inspire, so I wanted them to understand that lyrics can have power to change how you feel about yourself.

Tamra: And now, it’s so cool, they’re like, “Can you play that song again? Can you play ‘I Am Not My Hair’ again?” This little girl with really, you know, coarse afro hair, she wants me to play that all the time. And I could tell that that did something for her. And that’s all I want. I’m not there to just tell kids what to do. I’m there to be an example and to fill in wherever I see any cracks, to help fill those cracks in so the children can be better, you know? So, my teaching is used to inspire not just when you get old, you gotta get this work done. I use it as a time to create teachable moments that hopefully last forever for my kids.

Meeka: Thank you so much! We are 30 minutes past an hour, so it’s time for our music break. Here’s Neon Cloud by Tamra.

[‘Neon Cloud’ by Tamra plays]

Meeka: And we’re back! This is Meeka and you’re listening to Black Girl With Glasses on SoundCloud. This week, we now have Tamra, who is a performer here in Rochester. A Singer, songwriter, and she has been around the world performing. She’s also out here empowering children, which is an awesome thing. WE talked about your life as a performer, we talked about your influences on the kids you work for, and that’s empowering to me. Especially since the children in your classroom, they hear that one song and that empowers them. Thank you for that, especially since I used to work with children, thank you for that. People with natural hair, kids with natural hair need that. So, let’s now talk about your album, Big Hair. What was the inspiration for that album?

Tamra: I was asked to write a song for this natural hair event that was going to bring women all over Western Europe together for a hair show, all these vendors and stuff like that. They were like, “Hey, it’s called the Big Hair event, can you write a song for it to sing?” So, I’m like, “Yeah, sure.” So, I write the song and I was like, “Man, I kind of want to do an album so the whole concept of Big Hair is not just about natural hair, it’s not about hair it all.” It’s the concept of being who you’re supposed to be, being comfortable with who that is, and being authentic in who you are in every setting. Because, it takes a lot of courage to have big hair.

Tamra: Imagine somebody with big hair and they walk in, it takes a lot of courage to walk in with a big afro or a big teased out hairstyle, or to walk down a street or to walk into a board room or to walk into anything. So that’s the concept of being able to have confidence in who you are, no matter where you are, and to empower people to be unapologetically who they are. And if they don’t know who they are, to find that person and to be it, because the world needs individuals to be themselves. So, the whole Big Hair concept of the album, all of the songs have to do with that: loving who you are and being who you’re supposed to be.

Meeka: So, I noticed that a couple of songs I believe you are performing with your partner.

Tamra: Yes! Yes, yes. So, he-

Meeka: Yeah, oh I’m sorry, I’m sorry!

Tamra: Nah, I was just saying, Chalil used to be my manager and he used to be my husband. So, he was a huge inspiration on a lot of the songs when it came to us sitting down and coming up with concepts of what we wanted to write. I think he’s on 1, 2, 3 of the songs on the EP? So, he was a big deal in this album. He was a huge inspiration on helping me to be an artist, and to push forward. A lot of times I’ll be like, “I’m too scared to do stuff!” and he’d be like, “Come on, you can do it! I believe in you, I believe in you!” So, he’s a huge encourager of my music and keeping pushing me along. He’s believed in me since the beginning, so I’m very thankful for him.

Meeka: Are you still working with each other as far as collaboration?

Tamra: Yes, well not at this moment in time, but he is somebody who I would reach out to if I had any questions or if I wanted to collaborate on something. He’s an awesome MC, a great rapper, so I wouldn’t mind having him on some more stuff.

Meeka: Alright! So, what is your favorite song on the album?

Tamra: I would have to say “Neon Cloud,” the one that you guys heard, because it was- I wrote it when I was in Senegal, West Africa. I was performing and after I performed, I went on the beach and the sun was setting and all of the clouds were neon. They were pink and they were yellow and blue and I was so happy, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this is just amazing!” And I just wrote the song right there on the beach on my phone, came up with the melody. So, it was just really one of my favorite songs that I have ever written and no matter where I’m at in my life, it is so relevant.

Tamra: It teaches you- the song is about knowing who you are, obviously, but also being content wherever you are in your life. Not content in the way where you would just stay there, but being proud of where you came from and knowing that you still have time to grow, and that you’ll just keep going higher and higher and higher in life. So that’s definitely my favorite song. It’s actually the most played song on Spotify and it’s the most purchased song off of iTunes, so I feel like a lot of people relate to it. So, it’s definitely my favorite song.

Meeka: Nice! So, tell me about your travels as far performing and different places all over the world. Earlier in the program, you said you traveled to Africa, you traveled to Spain, and all kinds of places. So please, how did that happen and tell us more about that.

Tamra: Mm-hm. So, I’ve been to the continent of Africa many times because I said that I would never leave the US to go anywhere else except to go to the continent of Africa first. I said if I ever left the US, the first place I would go is to the continent of Africa. Because of course of the Black history and knowing our ancestors and where we come from. I just felt like it was disrespectful to go to any other place other than Africa first. So, I ended up going my senior year of high school, and I ended up connecting with people out there while I was out there, and I kept in touch.

Tamra: So, as my music career started going up, my friends in Senegal on Facebook said, “Hey, we want you to perform.” So, I performed for a women’s empowerment conference out there. It was a 7-Day, women from all over the world were there. Akon, the rapper, he was a huge ambassador fir it, he helped fund it. And he was like, “Women are of course the future.” The future is feminine was the main thing. So, in 2014, I was able to go out there and just perform. People who didn’t even know English were saying, “Oh my gosh, I love you, I love your songs, I love your voice!” So, it was really cool to be out there. And I ended up winning a contest to go to Madrid and sing.

Tamra: I entered a contest through this music site and out of a whole bunch of people, I got picked along with three other acts to go out and perform in Madrid for this industry party that is in Europe. And it was amazing! And they loved me! So, then they called- so I ended up going to Madrid with that one gig but then all these people saw me and were like, “Hey, how long are you staying, can you perform at my venue or can you perform here?” So, I ended up performing at three different gigs other than the one I was called to do. So, I ended up performing out there and then recently, in May, I just was there for two weeks and I performed out there at different venues that wanted to hire me to come out there and perform.

Tamra: So, it’s been great! And just to be able to connect with people from all different walks of life that can connect with your music. Even though it was just like, my intention is always- when I’m writing I’m writing from a Black American girl perspective. So, when I’m thinking, when I’m writing, it’s for Black women. So, it’s very intentional and being able to see other people being able connect to that is really really cool. So, I love it!

Meeka: Cool, cool! So, what was your favorite place to travel and perform in?

Tamra: I would have to say- ah, it’s so tough because Madrid is such an amazing place. I would have to say West Africa, Ghana, Senegal was my favorite, because it’s, you know, it’s my culture, it’s my people. So, when you look at them, you see yourself and they love the hip hop flair, they love the jazz flair in my music, they get it. So, it would definitely have to be that. And I felt most at home in West Africa than I even feel in my own home town. So, I would definitely have to say Senegal.

Meeka: So, do you plan on traveling any time soon to- Let me take that back. Do you plan on doing an international tour to promote Big Hair or just to promote in general?

Tamra: I perform in New York a lot, I have a good fan base out there, so I have some big gigs coming up out there, some in D.C. I don’t have- in December of this year, I’m planning on going to South Africa and I have some gigs that might be lined up, so I don’t know yet, but that’s the hope. Just promoting Big Hair, and the biggest thing about Big Hair, Big Hair is an EP, it has just 5 songs on it, it’s small. You know, as an artist just starting out, it’s the best thing to do because it doesn’t cost a lot of money to put out and it’s something that you can offer your fans when you have your shows.

Tamra: So, when I have my shows, I have my CD’s that people can purchase right there, so it’s good to have a show and I can be like, “Hey, I have a CD, if anybody wants more of Tamra!” And it’s another way to connect with people and for people to have something that’s you. So, it’s good! I’m just continuously travelling and I have some gigs in Rochester coming up, July 15th I’m doing the Rochester Music Fest. Opening up for Arrested Development and Bobby Brown and then I’m also doing the African American Festival in August, so it should be great!

Meeka: So, I was wondering, while you’re promoting Big Hair, have you been inspired to write new material as well?

Tamra: Yeah, yeah, I’ve experienced a lot when Big Hair was released. I’ve experienced a big break-up with something I was in for 10 years, so that’s caused a lot of writing. And a lot of self-reflection, so when you lose someone or break up with someone that you were with for a long time, you do a lot of self-reflection and you have to redefine yourself because you’re not connected to that person anymore. Especially when you’re married and not connected to them. So, it’s like, “Okay, this is who just Tamra is.” You know, not just Tamra and her spouse. So, I’m just writing things that kind of go along with that and stuff. So, I’ve been writing a lot of good stuff, a lot of reggae inspired stuff. My next album will definitely have a lot of reggae energy to it, a lot of Caribbean energy.

Meeka: So, I was wondering, what words of wisdom do you have for women who are going through what you’re going through now, especially if you’re an artist. What words of wisdom do you have for them? Because I can only imagine what it’s like to lose somebody you have loved and spent a whole decade with. So, what do you say and how did you cope outside of writing as well? Or how do you take care of yourself, rather, outside of writing?

Tamra: Yeah, the thing that’s- break ups and stuff like that is that there is the feeling of losing someone, even when you lose someone- it’s like a death. Even when you lose someone when they die, it’s stages. You’ve got to let yourself feel those stages, don’t try to be a super woman, don’t try to be, “I’m a strong woman,” like feel those things. Be a beautiful human being, lean on any spiritual connections you have, and to keep people, family and friends around that WANT to see you do great and want to see you get out of it and to come out on top. And that’s the cool thing about when you are at your low, the only place that you can go is up high. But thank God for that! And it’s tough, but everyone is stronger than they think.

Tamra: And all these things that happen to us out of nowhere or things that we experience is always supposed to be, like Maya Angelou said, to be a rainbow for somebody else’s cloud. So, even though I went through this, when someone else goes through this, I hope to be, and I hope my music to be, the rainbow in their cloud to help them get out of that pain and to help to heal some of that pain and to release it, because it is painful. And I’m just thankful for music. I don’t know how I can go through life without it, I don’t know how I can go through break-ups and deaths and loss of friendships and loss of jobs and money without music. And Donald Trump being our president [Laugh] I don’t know how I’m going to get through that without music.

Tamra: So just, you know, finding things and like I was saying before with spirituality, there’s life and death in the tongue. And if you feed yourself life music, music that’s going to give you life not music that’s going to say, “I hate you” but really feed yourself music and people who are going to speak life over you is the best tool to get you through things. Because I don’t know what I would do if all the songs that I listen to was all about hating some guy and bashing his car with a bat, you know?

Meeka: [Laugh]

Tamra: That doesn’t lead to healing, that’s going to cause more anger [Laugh].

Meeka: So, and I’m glad you mentioned our administration. I was wondering whether or not you’ve written any songs or were inspired in any way by our current political climate or the actions of our current administration.

Tamra: Oh, yes. Yes, I have. That’s- you will definitely hear that one. I wrote a song to Donald Trump actually. But then I wrote- the song is to Donald Trump, but the song is also to the world to keep hope and to know that there is light at the end of the darkness of the Donald Trump era. So, we’re going to get through it and we’re going to come out as better, and we’re going to come out stronger because we’re going to be out here fighting for our rights instead of sitting here waiting for people to fight it for us. So, I’m excited for people to hear that song.

Meeka: Yeah, I’m very excited about it too! I’m actually very excited about this album coming out, when is it going to drop?

Tamra: Well, I don’t have a release date yet, I’m still kind of writing stuff and I wrote this amazing song with my friend, Mark, co-wrote this song called “I See the Light” which I’m so excited. And it talks about how I was really depressed about my divorce and all that kind of stuff, but how I’m in a good place now and it’s real light hearted. It’s a deep concept, but it’s real light-hearted. I’m excited just to keep writing and to keep being authentic and I don’t have a date yet until I know that, “Okay, I got what I need out.” Record it, then put a date out after recording. Because the one before, I made a date and then I kind of rushed- I feel like I rushed to get things done. But now I’m just going to write, record, wait til everything is perfect, lay it all out and then put a release date. So, that’s what I learned to do next time [Chuckle].

Meeka: Cool, cool. And I was wondering, was there anything you’d like to add? Especially, do you have any words of wisdom for those who are wanting to break out in the music career?

Tamra: I would say to understand, why do you want to do it? Like what is your purpose? Why does the music world need you? Because you’ve got to have a purpose. It’s kind of like when you apply for a job and they’re like, “Why does this company need you?” or “What would you add to the company?” And it’s kind o the same thing. Like are you just willing to because people say you can sing really well or what are your intentions? And why are you doing it? Once you learn why you are doing it, learn your intention and go from there. Your intention is what’s going to be guiding you the whole time. So, my intention is to spread love and empower women and when I want to give up.

Tamra: I’m like, “Nope, Tam, you can’t give up because you’ve got more women to inspire. It’s not about you and how you feel. You need to get out there, you need to sing. Get your behind up, and stop moping around and do what you need to do.” So, you have to have an intention because this industry and this music scene is not nice. It’s not a nice world. The art is not nice, it’s very tough and it’s very clique-ish. And if you’re like me, you don’t kiss butt and you know your worth, and you don’t need to kiss people’s butt to be validated. You want to make your music speak for itself and your performing speak for itself. Especially coming from an acting background, I see the difference between the acting world and the singing world.

Tamra: The acting people are a lot nicer, the music world is a lot more cutthroat and it’s not a nice place sometimes. So, you just got to be ready to deal with mean people, and also be ready just to give up sometimes, but just knowing that you have talent and you have a gift that you have to pursue. So, that would be my advice.

Meeka: Alright! Thank you so much for that. It gives me a lot of things to think about as far as my own writing and just, you know, thinking about what I’m here for. So, thank you for answering that question [Laugh] for lack of better words.

Tamra: No problem!

Meeka: So, it looks like we are out of time. Thank you so much, Tamra, for joining me! This was amazing, like I’m not even joking around. So, if you want to know more about Tamra and her work, y’all can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. You can also visit for more information, and purchase Big Hair on iTunes and listen to it on Spotify. And if y’all like this episode, you can follow Black Girl With Glasses here on SoundCloud. You can also follow me or Black Girl With Glasses on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and WordPress. The deaf and hard of hearing can visit to read the transcript for today’s episode. Until next time, love, peace, and fake chicken grease! See ya!


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