FYIG recently had the chance to chat with singer Tara Shannon about her collaboration with Cody Coyote on the remix of the song Someone Who Understands! Learn more about this talented singer right here!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a singer/songwriter born in Montreal but living in Russell, a small town just outside of Ottawa for the last 25 years. I am an entrepreneur – VP/CFO of the TIF Group of Companies which my record label and publishing company are a part of. And I am the proud mom of seven beautiful amazing kids.
How did you get your start in the music industry?
I started studying piano at 7 years old which lead to singing in a choir and learning saxophone in high school which led me to study music at McGill University. From there, I started a music school and then pursued a career in the music industry as an artist and songwriter. I am a proud member of both the Ottawa and Nashville music communities.
How would you describe your musical style?
As a songwriter, I write mostly pop, soul, country, gospel, ccm, and soft rock. As an artist my last album we dubbed ‘Motown Country” because it was a blend of country and soul. My last single was a remix and had a pop sound blended with Cody’s hip-hop talents.
You were recently diagnosed with Lyme Disease. How did that affect your music career?
I have to be more mindful of my health and take it very seriously. I have to stay committed to my self-care because if I neglect my treatments, there’s a consequence. As a result, I have had to cut back on certain things and narrow down where I want to focus my energy. It’s been a wonderful teacher for me though. It has forced me to care for myself which is contrary to how I am wired as a mom. But I can’t be there for my children if I can’t get out of bed!
How did you and Cody Coyote meet?
I met Cody at the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition event at City Hall in Ottawa. We were introduced through a mutual friend. I saw him again at Megaphono and pitched him my remix idea for the song. I was very happy that he said yes to the idea!
Tell us a little bit about the song you collaborated with Cody on called Someone Who Understands (Remix).
The song was written by my producer Hayley McLean. The original version is a ballad featuring a children’s choir of Indigenous youth and we were raising awareness for mental health struggles for all young people. I was attracted to Cody’s talent and giftedness with his powerful lyric; the fact that he was an Indigenous artist was serendipitous in the sense that my idea for the remix needed an artist as talented as he was and the Indigenous connection provided us the opportunity to expand on the original spirit and vision for the song. The fact that he is a hip-hop artist seriously elevated my street cred among my children.
Do you have any plans to collaborate on any other songs with Cody?
Well, I would love that….any chance I get to work with an artist as kind and genuine as Cody, not to mention uber talented, I am in!
What was it like to collaborate with each other and how easy was it to mix your different styles?
We had a great production team that really understood the vision and how to get there. It was really easy and effortless once I was able to communicate what I heard in my head. And watching Cody in action in the studio was a real treat.
What type of experience can the audience expect from your live shows?
My show is an extension of me and my story as an artist. Taking a pause for 20 years to raise babies and come back to start all over again. It’s a story in and of itself and I try to weave in as many of my stories as possible. People have commented that they feel inspired and I hope that’s true. By sharing our stories with one another, we encourage each other to live our full potential and I hope when you leave my show you are not only entertained but inspired in some way to reach your fullest potential. I call it ‘finding your unfinished’.
You’re a mother of 7 kids and you run companies with your husband. How difficult is it to find time for a music career?
I’ve learned the hard way how to balance my life and how to prioritize my life minutes. We spend time and money by order of personal priority, so for me, it was about moving music up the importance ladder. It’s not just a career for me, music is just part of who I am and if I am not expressing it in some way, I am not living my best life. I may never be a rock star on a tour bus but that’s not always the definition of success. My own definition of success is balancing the mothering, the business running, a marriage and a career in whatever form that career takes for it to all to make sense.
What advice would you have for aspiring music artists?
If music is in you, it’s in you and it needs to be honored in some way. Defining what success means to you is a really important step. I would surround yourself with people who believe in you and know what they are doing. If that means play some original tunes in a local coffee shop, so be it. If that means chasing a record deal, so be it. Don’t let anyone else other than you decide what success means to you. And songs are everything. Learn how to write great songs.
What’s next for your career?
For the rest of this year, after Bluesfest I’ll be working with the Be You Campaign again, playing the NAC in October and hosting a holiday benefit concert for my friend Jonathan Pitre who passed away this spring. New music out in 2019! I’m looking at the next album and developing a ‘keynote concert’ where I share stories from my life, my experience as an entrepreneur, interwoven with songs. Merging my two loves – guest speaking and performing.
Let the readers know where to find you online.