TAVIA has been on our radar for a while. Her EP 'A Walk In The Madness' is about a difficult time in her life, it's about working through the pain and learning to live with loss. It's vulnerable and ethereal with stunning vocals that we can't get enough of. We talked to TAVIA about the EP and the challenges she's faced.
How did you get started in music?
TAVIA: I'm really grateful to be where I am because no one could have predicted that I would be a professional musician and songwriter! Our family isn't particularly musical, and as a kid, I was much more interested in drawing, painting, and poetry. I started dipping my toes (well, fingers) into music when I was about 11 or 12, taking piano lessons and then, eventually, guitar. My teacher had us playing all the classics, but as soon as I had mastered a few chords I lost all interest in strumming along with Yellow Submarine and poured myself into writing lyrics and melodies. I went on to play/sing in church, and study classical guitar in college, but from the get-go, songwriting has been my main love.
Tell me about your new EP? What’s the story behind it?
TAVIA: The 'A Walk In The Madness' EP came about during a season of my life that was really difficult. Even though I don't live near my family, we are really close, and we experienced a few losses that knocked us off our bearings a bit. It was right around Thanksgiving last year, I was collaborating with my friend and producer Phil Simmonds, and I remember getting a phone call from my mom to tell me that a good friend had passed unexpectedly. I was already heavy with the loss of my Grandma a few weeks before and raw from the acts of violence in our country, and it felt like too much to process. As I look back now, I'm grateful to have been working with someone who could see that I was struggling and could help me express it through soundscapes and songs. A few of the songs on what would become the EP were ones I wrote on my own, and others Phil and I wrote together. We tracked almost everything in home studios and laptops and created this incredibly unique project that holds space for anyone going through transition or grief. At its core, I can say that 'A Walk In The Madness' is the most honest thing I've ever made.
Is there a particular song that is extra special?
TAVIA: Every song is special in some way to me (obviously), but I will say that "Raise A Glass To Freedom" has a sacred quality that sets it apart from the others. It was written in one long, very hard day after the shooting in Thousand Oaks last November, and I knew from the moment I started writing it that it was an important lyric. It might seem presumptuous to say, but the experience of writing that song was like being given a message that it was my job to decipher and write down. I sort of believe it has its own mission in the world, and I am just the means of it getting out there and heard.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you in the music industry?
TAVIA: Ah that's easy. The biggest challenge for me is staying focused. With content flying around everywhere, and stats and numbers and streams and opportunities at our fingertips, it's difficult for me to keep focused on what is important. When I am unfocused, I am also overwhelmed, and when I'm overwhelmed, I get nothing done! So that's for sure the biggest challenge. Also, doing my own makeup.
What’s your best piece of advice for young women?
TAVIA: I wish I followed this advice more, even now: Ask yourself what YOU want first. Don't wait on the rest of the world to tell you what type of artist, writer, engineer, teacher, business owner, whatever, you should be. Just take a risk, and if you make mistakes, who cares? True art challenges and changes culture, not the other way around.