Maple Leaf

„Acoustic with attitude“

©Andrew Kruse Photography Vancouver

Tara C. Taylor came to Berlin in pursuit of her musical career.
She considers Berlin to be one of the only cities where artists have a great variety of venues to perform at and also to be who they want to be, as the German capital has audiences for all kinds of personalities.
Influenced partly by the punk scene, Tara describes herself as „acoustic with attitude“. She plays various instruments, writes catchy songs and is definitely one artist to watch as well as a very interesting human being in general.

Even though the Corona-Crises has hurt the cultural scene badly, it is here to stay and Tara C. Taylor will be a part of it. That is to our greatest pleasure.
So stay tuned!

-Your husband and yourself took a sabbatical to come to Berlin to focus on your music. How has the pandemic changed your plans? Will you still continue on the same path?

In regards to continuing on the same path, I would say that right now I am seeing this time as an opportunity to re-define myself as an an artist and to branch out beyond my “Acoustic with Attitude” sound to an “Electronic with Attitude” sound. I am not completely abandoning the acoustic music I have created but, I am currently expanding my material to reach more audiences through the streaming platforms. My goal is to have as many songs as I can be added to playlists on all the streaming platforms.

During the pandemic period Don (my husband) and I have been mastering the art of producing music videos at home. An example was the song I did for the Canada Day celebrations. I have been collaborating with my dear friend and musical colleague in Vancouver Canada refining the process of recording songs and videos at a distance. We are really getting good at it! In general Don and I work well together and even in quarantine/lockdown we are very productive.

The pandemic has changed a lot for me. Recently my husband and I were under quarantine for a week on orders of the Berlin Health Authority (Gesundheitsamt) because, we were at a concert at a small bar in Berlin and a friend who attended the show at the bar unknowingly had the Corona Virus (the person tested positive a week after this event). We had a Coronavirus test and our results were negative.

There was also a report in the Berlin Morgen Post in regards to 18 people testing positive after being at a music event at a bar so, this has given me a new perspective in regards to playing live. I really don’t see myself playing live at a small venue/bar because, the risk is too great for the virus to spread. The realization that this virus is a sneaky bastard and people who have contracted the virus don’t even know it because, they don’t feel symptoms and that is a really scary thought. I want to be safe and keep my friends safe at the same time so, unfortunately I do not see myself performing live unless it is out of doors and I have complete control over all my equipment including a personal microphone and stand.

-Your love story with Berlin started in 2007. And now you have been living there for 2 years. What do you still appreciate from it and are there any downsides?

Berlin has always had a special place in my heart. When I was in Theatre School at the University of Manitoba I took a “History of Theatre” class and in that class I was taught about the all of artistic (art, dance, music, theatre & design) philosophies and movements from out of Berlin in the past 100 years. All of this information literally blew my mind and I knew one day I would make a pilgrimage to this city.

I feel that I have been extremely fortunate to be granted the chance to live here and to absorb the creative energy of the city. So many musical/recording artists like Bowie, Iggy Pop, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave & U2 created some of their best works in Berlin. Berlin’s creative energy is something I will never take for granted.

The only downside is being musician/freelance artist has been a little difficult because I am not a citizen of the EU. Starting completely from scratch has proved to be a bit of a challenge. I must admit the most difficult part to navigate is the process to get into the German public health insurance system. Because I (and my husband) are “freelancers” and not employed by a company in Germany getting into the public system is not an easy task. Also, when it comes to dealing with German bureaucracy Don sees it as a strange sport and challenge to manage all the paperwork.

-You started singing at a very young age, is your family musical?

My family are music lovers more than anything. They have always supported my artistic endeavours whether it be music or theatre/film. My mother learned to play the piano at a young age but it wasn’t a pursuit of hers. She really enjoyed playing the piano at home as a hobby. My father was more interested in martial arts (specifically Karate) but he loved to listen to a wide variety of genres of music. When I was a kid my father would listen to anything from classical, singer/songwriter, Irish folk, country, disco, rock, electronic, Kraut Rock, pop and new wave. My younger sister Lori loved dance and she took jazz dancing for a few years and my younger brother Alan was more into martial arts (karate) like my father.

-What is your favourite place in Canada and why?

All of my friends in Vancouver are going to kill me for saying this but, my favourite city in Canada is Montreal. It is a city that doesn’t have to say it’s cool because it is cool. I love the “Montreal Joie de Vivre”, the European look and feel of the city with its mix of old and modern architecture and the transit system rocks. Like Berlin you really don’t need a car if you live in Montreal which is something I really value (for personal and environmental reasons).

-Who is your favourite Canadian and German artist and why?

My favourite German artist/act hands down is Kraftwerk (Rammstein is a close second). My father loved listening to Kraftwerk so, I basically grew up listening to them. Without Kraftwerk artists/bands that have influenced me like Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, OMD and New Order would not have come into existence. I am so happy I had the chance to see Kraftwerk 3D at Lollapalooza Berlin in 2018 and the show was amazing!

Choosing a single favourite Canadian artist for me is a difficult decision to make. I have admired Canadian artists/bands/projects like Buffy Sainte-Marie, Metric, Delerium and the Tragically Hip because, they all share the following common traits which include sounding powerful, being unique, breaking conventional rules of “Pop” and their songs draw strong emotions from me.

-Which artist would you like the most to perform with (alive or not) and why?

This is a really tough question but, if I had to choose only one artist it would be David Bowie. I have always seen Bowie as a fearless artist, someone who didn’t give a damn and also a creative mentor. Also, he was the first concert I went to and when I saw the crowd respond to him I said to myself: “That’s what I want to do!”.

Runners up include: Alan Wilder (Depeche Mode & Recoil), Johnny Marr (The Smiths & Electronic) and Peter Hook (Joy Division/New Order).

-In which venue have you always been dreaming of playing at?

There are so many venues in so many cities I would love to play a concert in but if I became really really popular and could choose anyplace to play I would choose two venues: the Greek Theatre in Berkley California and Waldbühne in Berlin.

-You played for the Canada Day virtual celebrations 2020 organized by the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, how was your experience?

Watching the online Canada Day celebration was exciting because, this is the first time I have played for a Canada Day event. Also, Canadian Comedian Ben Maclean was a great host!

Altogether being a part of it was a wonderful experience for us! Because Don and myself had already been filming videos for online/Youtube shows (ie. Matthew Presidente’s World is Watching You” Youtube house concert show) so, getting our 60 square meter apartment ready for a video shoot was easy. Editing was not a problem and I was glad Matthew Presidente in Vancouver had time to shoot some backing piano and vocals that we could edit together for the song.

-What do you miss the most from Canada apart from your friends and family and do you plan to go back someday?

I miss Bick’s Pickles, Old Dutch Salt n’ Vinegar Chips, Hawkin’s Cheezies, Mae Wes cakes, strangers on the street smiling at you (surprisingly it happens in Toronto too) and the way we are able to agree to disagree when a political discussion has concluded (and then have the option to cheers a drink if the political discussion has taken place at a bar or gathering). We Canadians have a special spark to us that you can’t find in another country.

Do we plan to go back? I think at some point we will move back to Canada. Don’s sons (from a previous marriage) are going to want to have kids of their own and I think Don will want to be closer to them. My parents are getting up there in age and I will want to be closer to them as well.

-What is your greatest career goal?

When I was younger my goal was “World Domination Madonna style” but, Lady Gaga came along and took that position……just kidding. I have always wanted to connect with people through my music, develop a cult following and play cool and intimate venues. In the end I just want to tour, play shows, see interesting places around the globe, meet interesting people and get paid to do it. 🙂

**For more information on Tara visit her website and listen to other interviews here.

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