Meet Jonny Tarr, San Diego singer/songwriter, saxophonist, and producer. He just won the San Diego Music Award for BEST POP ARTIST 2020 and headlined the NAMM show’s D’Angelico Stage 2020 with his band The Jonny Tarr Quintet. He’s been working on finishing his “lockdown” album due to be released by Bristol UK label, THUUMP RECORDS, in December. He describes his current album as “highly personal and vulnerable” and has been live-streaming the material regularly to gauge his fans’ reaction as he counts down to the full album release.
I recently had a chat with Jonny about what it’s like being a recording artiste and what it takes to write, produce and release an album. Here are the main themes we touched on in that interview.
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On the challenges of writing and song versus playing it and recording it in a studio
Writing a song is very different from playing it. You’ve got to learn to play it and be able to record in as few takes as possible.
Getting as much performance time as possible with a new song is important before recording because that’s where everything gels. It also gives an artiste the opportunity to straighten out all the kinks and appreciate the song’s nuances.
Taking a hiatus when writing and producing an album can be beneficial because it gives the material time to sink in. Johnny says he normally finds that he’s able to get new breakthroughs and come up with better material when he resumes working on the album after taking a break.
On preparing the album line up and musical content
The musical content includes protest songs and political songs, something that Jonny admits is a new territory for him because he’s naturally a private person who doesn’t usually write about things that make him vulnerable.
The album includes topics on the environment, racism, family, and love. One of the protest songs, The Song in Our Hearts, was inspired by the BLM movement.
The album features his quintet comprising percussions, bass, rhythm, keyboards, and sax. Each member of the quintet is recording their instrument remotely before it all gets mixed together by the producer – a painstaking process that requires a lot of patience. The album is a highly collaborative effort that includes vocals by his wife and young daughter.
On the album release schedule and material being pre-released
The album’s release schedule is timed to coincide with the 2021 San Diego Music awards with a 15th December deadline. Having previously won the SMAs, Jonny knows what an advantage of winning an important award can bring to an artiste’s music, and he plans to leverage this for his new album launch.
On what inspired The Live album launch at studio west
“It was a sneaky way of trying to get into the SMAs,” jokes Jonny, adding, “I didn’t have any new body of work for the 2020 awards, so the live album was a clever way to be able to submit material in time for the SMAs,” Johnny says the band played and recorded 3 sets, picked the best one and submitted it for the awards with very little fanfare in terms of artwork, logos, etc., just to get it out on time.
On giving a polished live recording performance
“Always be the worst musician in your band,” is how Jonny puts it when asked how his band manages to accomplish such polished live performances using very few takes. “They [band members] always make the music better than it should be,” is how Jonny fondly acknowledges his quintet’s hard work.
Your Next Step
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Hi! I’m Danielle Tucker – singer, vocal coach, and lead vocalist of The Mighty Untouchables band.
Throughout my 20-year career, I’ve equally enjoyed singing country, rock, pop, gospel, and jazz. Today, I’m a professional singer/songwriter available for solo performances, studio recording, and lead vocalist of San Diego-based band The Mighty Untouchables. I also offer vocal coaching to both solo artists and groups through my own studio. I’ve crafted a rewarding vocal career, and it’s my great pleasure to bring music to others through private bookings, performing with my band, or helping others to grow more confident in their own vocal gifts. Thanks for visiting my site I’m honored that you’d like to get to know me!