"Life seems to weave its way through all of these genres of music (Blues, Soul Gospel, R&B). Life stories about redemption, heart break, joy and excitement, bereavement, ecstasy and just about any other emotion you can think of."
Tia Carroll: Sweet Blues Therapy
Award winning vocalist Tia Carroll was born and raised in Richmond, California and grew up listening to and singing along with everything and everybody, evidenced by the various styles on her albums. She started out playing with a rock and roll band called Yakety Yak playing her 1st show at a backyard BBQ. Tia has now toured internationally with legendary blues icons as Jimmy McCracklin and Sugar Pie DeSanto and opened for Gladys Knight, Ray Charles, Patti LaBelle and Tower of Power. Tia Carroll Live has headlined sold out festivals and venues worldwide.
In 2007 she won the West Coast Female Blues vocalist of the year and in 2008 she received the Jus Blues Music Foundation’s Traditional Blues Woman of the Year. She topped that in 2009 with West Coast Hall Of Fame Female Band Leader of the Year and R&B vocalist of the year in 2011. Tia Carroll is Soul, Blues, Power and Passion. She sings to the heart from the heart. California is well represented when this powerhouse vocalist shares her talent. Inspired by such music legends as Koko Taylor, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin, Tia Carroll is carving out a name for herself on the music scene. Tia Carroll shows are full high energy Blues, R&B and more. Dance or relax Tia has all the elements you need for a full ride.
What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?
I have learned that I am fearless and vulnerable at the same time. When things are awesome, there is blues song born and I can't wait to tell the story. When things get rough, there is another blues song born and I have to be strong enough to tell the story. The blues is a form of therapy.
How do you describe Tia Carroll sound and songbook? What characterize your music philosophy?
Tia Carroll sound can be described as "A box of chocolate covered stuff" The chocolate is sweet, silky and creamy but the stuff on the inside could be just about anything. You just don't know what flavor will be under the chocolate and every flavor is not for everybody, but it will be enjoyed by many. The songbook is pretty much the same. Yes I am primarily a blues artist, however I have been known to Jazz it, Rock it, go to the Country with it and bring it on home to the blues.
"More main stream television options for live music! I want to see me or someone who looks like me on television at a live show, at a bar, in concert at a theater on at some big festival stage. We need blues TV not just on the PBS stations." (Photo by Bob White, 2011)
Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What is the best advice ever given you?
The easy question to answer, "what is the best advice given"…"keep doing it". This advice comes from people who have heard me for the first time and from people who have enjoyed numerous shows.
Are there any memories from shows around the world (Europe, Mexico, Brazil) which you'd like to share with us?
Ha, yes lots! In Mexico I had a crazy situation where I ended up having no guitar player for my band. The promoter sprang into action and found me a player from Mexico City. One rehearsal later and we were on stage like old friends having the time of our life and giving a great show to the fans.
Estonia was really fun, I had my XXth birthday there. The fans at the venue where I was singing and was treated to a wonderful overnight stay in Finland. We took a ferry from Tallinn, which was my first time riding a ferry that took cars as well. What an experience!
Brazil is such a beautiful country and the people as well, I have so many great stories to tell from Brazil. We will have to take many hours, but here is a short story.
What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?
The simplicity of the music. Too much electricity. I would hope to see artists go back to the roots of music, just for a minute, be it Blues or any other kind of music. Pure sound.
"I have learned that I am fearless and vulnerable at the same time. When things are awesome, there is blues song born and I can't wait to tell the story. When things get rough, there is another blues song born and I have to be strong enough to tell the story."
If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
More main stream television options for live music! I want to see me or someone who looks like me on television at a live show, at a bar, in concert at a theater on at some big festival stage. We need blues TV not just on the PBS stations.
What has made you laugh lately and what touched (emotionally) you from the chitlin' circuits?
My journey has led me to some truly fabulous places. I just recently am returning home from a month long tour in Brazil with the Igor Prado band. This is a powerful group of young men with a passion for traditional as well as modern blues. They keep me laughing so much on a daily basis, there have been times that we have laughed ourselves into tears. What has truly touched me is the emotions that are so open with the Brazilian fans. I've seen tears and laughter and they all come to tell me how much i made them feel something.
Which memory from Ray Charles, Patti LaBelle, Sugar Pie DeSanto, and Jimmy McCracklin makes you smile?
Hehehe, Jimmy McCracklin would never call me by my name, it was Tora or Trudy or something. I always knew he was talking to me and he knew my name but it was so funny how many different names he would come up with that started with the letter T. I miss Jimmy, he was the real deal.
What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues with Soul and continue to Gospel and R&B music?
The only line I can think of the ties these all together is the life line. Life seems to weave its way through all of these genres of music. Life stories about redemption, heart break, joy and excitement, bereavement, ecstasy and just about any other emotion you can think of.
What does to be a female artist in a "Man's World" as James Brown says? What is the status of women in Blues?
It is still a struggle, but as long as you don't back down and walk away you will be seen and heard. You can't keep a good woman musician down, and think she won't get up and kick you in the face. What I mean by that is the quantity of bookings for shows may be few, but the quality of the show you will get is tremendous. We have to make our own way and that is ok. Not fair but ok.
Let's take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?
Harlem, in 1928. That would have been the place to be with the thriving night life and Duke Ellington. I'm pretty sure I would have been playing The Cotton Club and the Apollo and making a living doing music. Making a mark on the music business that would be talked about and recounted for many years.
And if I knew then what I know now, I would have tried to make some kind of provisions for performers new to the business. There would be some kind of mandatory class that explains the business of music and also some information on mental, physical and vocal health as well as financial health. I guess that would be too much to fit in a day…heheheheeee
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