FYIG Chats With Synth-Pop/Jazz Artist Tara Kannangara

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a synth-pop/jazz artist based out of Toronto!
 

How did you first become interested in music and when did you decide to take a run at it as a career?

I first became interested in music when I started piano lessons; I think I was about 4 or 5. I always thought it was fun, but I didn’t consider it as an option career-wise. It wasn’t until my high school band teacher brought the idea up to me after class, that I thought it could actually pursue it. I remember she was holding a few pamphlets for music programs at various universities. and handed them over to me so I could browse. I figured if she believed in me, I might actually be able to do it. Huge shout out to Mrs. Webster!! Best band teacher ever. 
 
How would you describe your musical style?
 
I think my music encompasses several genres; I could make a case for  Pop, Jazz, Alternative or even Musical Theatre. If anything, I think of it as grand and cinematic. 
 
Your latest single is called, “I Made This For You”. You actually created the video on your iPhone. What can you tell us about the song and that process?
 
I honestly sat on my couch for 3 hours straight and pieced random videos together that I had saved on my phone. I found the process pretty enjoyable. but when I was done I noticed I could barely move my neck because I had been furiously splicing footage without any breaks. I have no regrets, although I think I need to start stretching more…
 
Your debut album, “Some Version of the Truth” was nominated for a 2016 Juno Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. What was that experience like, especially with it being your debut album?
 
It was entirely unexpected but extremely exciting. It felt good to be recognized, but I certainly had/have a case of impostor syndrome. Artists always wonder whether they deserve the praise they get, I guess that type of self-criticism is part of the job. I think the most exciting thing about it was sharing it with my family. They were very proud.
 
What can audiences expect from your latest album (due out on May 31st), “It’s Not Mine Anymore”?
 
What I hope audiences hear is something new. I really tried to make something that felt truly unique, while still being connected to the genres of music I respect and love. I would LOVE to hear someone say, “I’ve never heard something like this before!” even if it’s not entirely positive. I also hope that people will simply find the work beautiful.
 
You took a cool approach to this album by creating a reimagined look at your life from birth to death. How did you come up with this concept and how difficult was it to execute?
 
I’ve always been interested in the idea of looking forward and backward at our own lives. In both cases, we have to imagine or fill in the blanks about the things we can’t remember or haven’t even experienced yet. I discovered that this process was pretty difficult emotionally, at least initially. It was really easy to remember all of the negative things, regrets, missed opportunities, heart-breaks, and it was even easier to worry about the uncertainty for the future. But after I got through that phase, I started to see how lucky I am and how beautiful my childhood was. It also helped me get excited about the future which is pretty great. So if anything, this process helped me grow artistically and psychologically.
 
You have a Canadian tour coming up. What’s the experience like at one of your live shows?
 
You’ll see a group of musicians striving! We love to push ourselves artistically and we want to give as much as we can. Hopefully, you’ll see something pretty singular. 
 
What advice would you have for aspiring singers/songwriters?
 
My advice is to put your faith and energy into the work. The music industry is very unpredictable and it’s impossible to take control of where it will take you, but what you can control is the quality and respect for the work and everyone who is involved with it. 
 
What’s your life like outside of music?
 
My life is great! Honestly, I think I’m one of the luckiest people in the world. I make music, I help others make music, I teach, I jog, I go to the YMCA, I watch a lot of TV. Things are grand. 
 
Let the readers know where to find you online.
 
You can find me on all streaming platforms! Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, you name it! You can also follow me on Instagram @tara.kannangara and Twitter, 
@TaraKannangara.