Posts Tagged ‘Barbra Streisand’

Several minutes ago, a good friend of mine forwarded me a google link to an article by a wonderful journalist, Norm Whitehurst with whom I had the privilege and pleasure of speaking earlier this year when we did our initial interview for his online publication….

“Love Is More Than Words for Tinatin” – By http://www.ZeroGossip.com

Back in January, I had the pleasure of talking with someone Billboard Magazine touts as one the the 10 fresh faces to keep an eye out in 2008. Her name is Tinatin and she’s not disappointing. The music she puts out is from the heart and you can tell when you hear her voice. Not only that, she’s….gasp….smart! Talented, smart, speaks at least 5 more languages than me (I barely speak one) and is a born performer. She’s just released “Love is More Than Words” which can be found on her MySpace page. And for you, she’s let me post it here. Give it a listen and go add her as a friend. Tinatin will be a star in the near future. Trust me. And if you write to her, she responds. Love her!

From January 2008 ZeroGossip.com

This year will be a breakout year for musical artist Tinatin. That’s according to Billboard Magazine who listed her as one of the 10 fresh faces to keep an eye out for in 2008. In the US, she’s a well-kept secret who’s about to go public in a big way.

Tinatin was born in the Republic of Georgia 23 years ago into a family already deep in the arts. Her father is an architect and painter while her mother is a classical pianist. Now living in New York, she’s working on an album due out this year. Her music is not only enjoyable to hear, but impactful with messages—from the state of the United Nations to HIV, her voice clearly paints a picture for her listeners.

Her single “We the Peoples,” is available on iTunes and will be a part of her album. Billboard calls it, “a penultimate, contemporary anthem honoring the mission of the United Nations, perhaps more relevant than ever, given the flux of worldwide politics… a resonant affirmation that politics actually have potential to unite.” You can’t get a better review than that!

Holliston: There’s a lot of excitement and buzz out there about your music right now. What is it that got you noticed by Billboard?

Tinatin: I think ultimately, especially in New York, it’s a story. If you have a story, no matter how good or mediocre or perhaps even poor, the songs are, A.) it’s the record and B.) it’s the story and if you can put the two together then it can more or less guarantee a buzz. I think New York is based on buzz. Buzz and hype, to me signify New York.

H: The good thing about that buzz for you is that you do have a good product. And you have an album coming out.

T: I’m actually wrapping up with the material. I worked on the album both in New York and in London and initially I started the record in London with Christopher Neil, my producer. When I got to New York, what I realized immediately was no matter how many similarities between the industries in London and New York, at the end of the day a European record is a European record. And in America, unless you do things the American way, it’s very hard to convince them that no matter how good you may be, there is so much out here and you have to do something different. I had to practically re-do a lot of my material done in Europe to make it more suitable together with my team in London (Christopher Neil and Peter Adams) and the US producers, yet keep that European factor there that would make me slightly different from what’s out there.

H: What did you have to do differently?

T: We had to rethink a lot of the arrangements. Some of the production values had to change. For example, as soon as I got here, Christopher Neil immediately got American producers on board such as Bob Iadeluca and FAB, who’s actually a French born producer and songwriter, and he’s already very successful in America. He got them to really listen to the songs and see what they could bring to the table to make it a little bit more American, a little bit more U.S. oriented, yet keeping the same songs that made the record unique. At the same time we didn’t want to go too American so we could still appeal to the European market, thus writing additional material with Chris Neil and Peter Adams – my UK team – in NY.

H: When will the album be released?

T: As soon as possible! I absolutely cannot wait! We’re just wrapping up with the songs. We need a couple more songs and then we’ll be ready to put it out there and see where it takes us.

H: Does the album have a name?

T: Not yet! It was difficult enough coming up with the first single. We had to pick out a song that would not only be a record—a song, but ultimately it would tell a different sort of story about me. I think that’s when we went for the song “We the Peoples” based on the United Nations charter because it tells a little bit about me—my background as a journalist, my attachment toward the UN. To me it’s more than a song. It’s a story. It’s who I am. That song immediately creates an image of me. And based on that, we had to rethink a lot of the songs on the album because I can’t put songs that are too different from it, too girly, or too romantic. It creates a whole concept for the record.

H: What is it about the United Nations that has drawn you to it?

T: I think that the current climate that I grew up in has been a very exciting period for me. Being 23, I’ve seen quite a bit. I’ve lived through a civil war in Georgia…we moved around a lot. There was a lot that really touched me throughout the years when I was growing up. And when I found the place that really sums everything up for me into one, which is the United Nations, where it covers everything from peacekeeping to HIV-Aids to human rights, the concept of the UN is what really drew me to the organization. There is a freedom to be able to make that little bit of difference as a human being yourself, given the opportunity. And through that and in many ways also through the great idea of author and UN expert, Ian Williams, I decided that if I can work at the UN as a correspondent why don’t I write a song that will appeal to people because ultimately music is the language that is very universal. Everybody can relate to it. Everybody can understand it. Music can click with far more people.

H: With all the attention currently focused on you, how do you keep the buzz alive?

T: I think that’s the tricky part. It’s easy to attract someone to your persona and material but maintaining and sustaining that buzz, unless you have something else to offer requires a lot of work. You have to sit down with your team and say ‘OK guys. We’ve got all this attention on us but what have we got next to give to the audience and critics?’

H: Once the album is released, will you tour?

T: Absolutely. I’m rehearsing with my new band in New York. So once we have our concept together as a band we will start playing some venues both in the US and internationally.

H: Having lived in many countries, does that impact the way you write and the way you perform?

T: I really think it has an enormous impact on the eventual product. Having performed in several countries, that’s when you realize what every audience wants. I think every audience in every country is different. They have different expectations from you, different demands, different tastes…being able to target them all with one record has been the biggest challenge of all. Being able to sit down and say how can we make this universally acceptable…how do we make all these audiences feel they are a part of it…that it was done for them, not just done in a different country and imported. Having that experience of performing before international audiences has been very helpful in determining the final sound of me as an artist.

H: Do you have plans on releasing songs in different languages?

T: Yes I do. Very much so. I think that because I made my debut in France, France can be a very strong market for me. I love their music and it comes down to if you love their music and you incorporate those elements into your music that can click with them as well.

H: What brought you to the United States?

T: When I was little, when I was growing up, during the Soviet period, we were so interested in anything to do with the West. When the first Russians, Georgians, and everyone else from the USSR got a chance to travel, my parents were one of the first to be able to actually go to America through my dad’s work as an architect and painter. And when he came back, told me about it, and showed me the films he took, I was so fascinated by it. And factor in American music and musicians like my all-time idol Barbra Streisand that, to me, means America. America, to me, was the ultimate goal. It was the land that meant everything. If you want to make your dreams come true, no matter how much of a cliché that may be, trust me, this country gives you far more opportunities than anywhere else does in the world. When I got the opportunity to move to America, it was a hard decision at first. But I knew that if I could sustain myself for the first couple of years and attract enough attention to be able to stay here for another couple of years, it would mean there is something here for me. If you make it here, you’re bound to make it anywhere else.

H: And your goals for 2008 and beyond?

T: It all comes down to doing what I genuinely love and being able to share it with an audience that responds. Whether it’s through the album coming out this year, the concerts I’ll be doing, it all comes down to being able to do something I love to do.

Tinatin by Chris Lopez

Did You Know?

• Tinatin speaks six languages (Georgian, Russian, French, Italian, English and Spanish) and is working on learning Japanese. Domo arigato!
• She taught herself French through books, watching French television and listening to Celine Dion music (and translating her lyrics with a French-Russian bilingual dictionary!)
• Her three most talked about songs include “We the Peoples” (co-written by Tinatin, FAB and Arnie Roman; produced by FAB, “I Pray” (co-written by Tinatin, Chris Neil, Peter Adams, Jane Ryall; produced by Chris Neil and Peter Adams), and “Wild” (co-written by Tinatin and Ayhan Sahin; produced by Ayhan Sahin).
• Her full name is Tinatin Japaridze.


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Pop Music. Funny how this unpretentious, light-hearted term has truly become a phenomenon and has taken over so many of our lives. Some swear by these two words, others consider the very notion of it way beneath them. But so very few of us have been left completely sterile and ignorant of this genre.

Quite ironically, as I flipped through the online pages of Wikipedia (another representative of today’s pop culture – forget Webster’s dictionary – Wiki is the big boss now!), I noticed how Pop Music is not referred to as a set genre, but instead: “music charted by the number of sales, plays, etc. that the work receives. It is not a particular genre or style of music, but simply that which is the most popular for the tracked period of time.” So true, I never looked at it that way.

Another interesting point made by the same source is that in opposition to music that may require education or formation to fully appreciate it, “a defining characteristic of pop music is that anyone is able to enjoy it.”

What about the pop stars? I often wonder how the simple term “singer” has gradually shifted from the very essence of “a music artist” to the pompousness of “a pop icon” and finally has reached an arguably low form of art under a very glittery “pop star” position.

Can’t say too many pop stars worrying about this too much nowadays, but a significant chunk of the album-buying (not the single buyers!) demographic in today’s marketplace have raised the question on a number of occasions. It’s hard to blame them, really, as there are more and more single-oriented records and much less “conceptualized” albums being made these days. How many songs do you really LOVE on an average album you normally buy nowadays? 1? 2? The days of “I love this album, what a work of art” are pretty much over. Itunes has made it a lot easier and much more convenient to operate on these terms – you like one or two songs on an album but aren’t willing to spend 20 bucks on a CD of 12 tracks, 10 of which you don’t really like? No problem. The obvious downsides are probably present, as well, but let’s leave that to the critics…

It is a shame, though, that most artists (not all) have been replaced by what we now call the “pop stars” on a larger scale. Television has certainly helped a great deal, and particularly all the music-oriented reality shows. But can you do? C’est la vie, really.

These afternoon I came across Nickelback’s Rockstar video spoof about “Pop Stars” which is absolutely hilarious, but at the same time, quite sad if you look at it from a realistic standpoint. Funny and all that, no doubt, but the ironic thing is that joking aside, it actually is a very objective synopsis of what’s popular today. It’s pointless feeling distraught and nostalgic about it, what’s done is done and that’s the end of it… For now. I’m constantly surprised – pleasantly surprised – when I witness first-hand the ever-growing “comeback” of real hunger and thirst among average music lovers for REAL music. Not to say that today’s pop hits aren’t very commercial and very catchy – no offense at all – but what ever happened to the days when we were regularly discovering the big shots like Elton John, The Beatles, Aretha, Barbra, The Jacksons….? Revolutionary talent, that is… It’s hard to beat that sort of caliber, isn’t it. Plenty of fabulous one-hit wonders have emerged lately, there’s no denying of that! Great sounding, well-produced, highly addictive commercial successes all around… But what happens a few months down the line, when what was hot last month is no longer the “flavor of the month” today?

I read an interesting interview with the legendary Sir George Martin, often referred to as “the Fifth Beatle”. His take on today’s pop-music scene isn’t all that lovey-dovey, either… “I’ve listened to quite a few records,” Martin said, “but I’m not terribly happy with the current pop music.”

Everything comes in a full circle, though, no doubt it’ll be that way in this case, as well. Just curious to see what will eventually prove to be the final straw that leads on to the new beginning, a brand new starting point of that same old circle.

Interesting times… And remember: what goes around, always comes around 🙂

P.S. Some of you might be wondering right now: “who cares?” And that’s the bottom line, whether we like it or not – some do, others simply don’t! 🙂

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We, those who love music and have made it a significant part of our lives, more often than not tend to have an all-time favorite piece of music, and even more so, a soundtrack that becomes an life-long companion throughout the years. It can often take on a new meaning each time. However, in other cases, it becomes a time machine, a rare catalyst that carries intangible memories within itself that entice all sorts of recollections in the slightest, most trivial details and beyond.

My personal soundtrack that keeps bringing back so many long lost sensations and memories and creating new ones along the way will always be the one that moved me so deeply on the very day I heard it as a 12-year-old girl in Eastern Europe…And ironically, the film and its script where also based in the same part of the world… For those of you who haven’t guessed – it’s “Yentl”.

The very first time I went into a professional recording studio to record my initial EP, which I refer to as my “first steps” nowadays, I recorded a version of “The Way He Makes Me Feel”. It was shortly followed by “A Piece of Sky” – a song that meant the world to me from the start. As I was singing it in the vocal booth, I knew it would become a very special one for me. Having just lost my grandfather whom I absolutely adored, the song took a completely different, more profound meaning in my heart which ultimately transmitted itself on tape… And what you hear on this page is the same demo I made that same night.

Little did I know, that just over a year later, I would be rehearsing the same song with the original writer, Alan Bergman, for the upcoming tribute show in honor of his wife and songwriting partner – the amazing Marilyn Bergman.

(By clicking here you can read more about this incredible, unforgettable experience that I will always cherish very close to my heart. To watch the video of the rehearsal, please click on this link To see the performance at the tribute show, follow the highlight …)

And as one of my new friends here in this online universe pointed out as a part of his status, “If YOU can conceive it, YOU can achieve it…” And it is so true.

May this power of one’s dream never leave our hearts and minds.

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Some of you probably heard about the Euro 2008 soccer semi-final results – Russia got completely swamped by the Spanish team. In fact, they met twice during the tournament, and on both occasions, Spain pretty much outplayed Russia, particularly in the semi finals.

Now, fear not, my friends, this blog isn’t about football (sorry, I should say “soccer”!) but rather about sometimes – only sometimes – actually feeling like you miss being home, in my case, back in Europe.

One of my best friends in Moscow sent me a message on Facebook this morning and we had a brief chat about the Euro 2008 – she couldn’t believe that I missed all of the games, except for the highlights (Russian cable TV made us, the viewers, watch the scored goals a million times over and over again!) – “It’s time you come back home,” she added, jokingly.

And then I realized something…

A lot of my friends – both in Russia and Georgia – have never really approved my moving abroad. Not only because we don’t get to see each other that often (I visited Moscow, where my parents are still based primarily, last September, but believe it or not, I haven’t been in Georgia for… 4 years… shocking!!!) but also due to a simple fact – you’d be surprised how many of my friends and relatives strongly believe that one should live and die in one’s very own homeland. An admirable kind of patriotism, no doubt, and as much as I love and miss both of my homes and the family and friends, I sometimes wonder if I could ever go back for good, having lived away from home for so long now… Should I feel guilty? I’m not even sure if this is good or bad.

Ever since I was a little girl, watching all the Hollywood movies, listening to what we used to then call “The American music” ranging from Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson, Whitney, etc. I had an inexplicably strong urge to one day live in this country and do what I love the most (and have always loved, in fact) here, in USA. A part of this fascination was definitely an offspring of my parents’ ultimate dream for me to live here someday.

When the first group of ex-Soviet people were finally allowed to cross the border into the Western world, my parents came to the States to visit some friends on several occasions, which was pretty much unheard of at the time. So every time they went away for a couple of weeks to the Land of Hope and Dreams, my cousin (it’s weird calling Ketuta my cousin, she’s my sister, for God’s sake – after all, we grew up together!) and I used to mark the days of their absence on our individual calendar as our grandma had suggested to keep us entertained and out of mischief… 🙂 We were rather impossible, particularly when we were plotting the next “disaster” as a duo! 🙂

Back when the Soviet System Collapsed and people were hopeful and excited about the future back home, my dad, was offered a very tempting and creative job in NY with a Green Card, refurbished home, etc. to go with it, and had my mom not insisting on going back to Georgia (“How can we ever leave our home, family, friends???”, she was definitely against it!) I’m sure we would have moved right away. But we stayed back in Tbilisi, and guess what? A year or so later, a civil war broke out! Good timing! 🙂

The next opportunity was also turned down, but this time by none other than yours truly. When I came to New York to perform at the Alan & Marilyn Bergman show several years ago, my agent strongly suggested – no, he actually insisted – that I stay in the US and pursue my career here, except not in the pop world but on Broadway, instead. Because of all sorts of reasons, I declined the tempting offer and stubbornly made it clear that I wanted to live in London and that was it.

Well, I did move to London some time later, and I have to say I never ever regretted the teenage decision, although deep down, I always had a quiet urge to one day move here, to America, but this time on my own terms. How was it different from the previous offer? It was actually a great offer, now that I look back on it, but somehow I didn’t feel prepared at the time and don’t ask why – who knows! Immaturity being one of the issues, for sure 🙂

So when I think about the struggle and a long path that perhaps could have been easier and shorter, after all, under different circumstances, I don’t for a second want to go back and leave all of this behind, especially being half way “there”, it would mean betraying myself in many ways. And as much as I love and miss my friends back home, there’s a constant will power and a passion for what I do and why I do what I love in a country that was always an ultimate dream destination for me – and there’s no way I could let it go. Those of you who had to make that journey at one point will surely understand what this is all about…

I don’t think I’d be so passionate and so madly in love with all of this had it dropped on my lap too easily and too quickly… Doubt it.

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The other day, I accidentally came across a selection of demos from years ago that had been sent to me by my former U.S. agent in the early days back when I still lived in Russia. The compilation included original songs by the likes of Denise Rich, Andy Marvel, Peter Zizzo, etc. I am always staggered by the power of music and how a mere 3-4 min song is able to untangle such a variety of memories, including the most vivid images, scents and the most trivial, minuscule details… Incredible but true.

I had barely turned 15 when my manager at the time, Yegor Shishkovsky (see: “A Voice on the Radio”) sent me a casual email from a holiday resort in New Zealand to let me know that he had just met a vacationing couple from NY who happened to be in the same industry… “And guess what? One of Peter’s artists has just recorded a new EP which also happens to include a rendition of ‘The Way He Makes Me Feel’!” Being a huge fan of Michel Legrand and Alan & Marilyn Bergman, this song was one of the very first studio recordings I had made. Yegor happened to have a copy of my version with him in NZ and the managers swapped CDs on the spot before parting ways.

As it happens, a couple of months down the line, after exchanging numerous emails and phone calls, Peter and Yegor decided to work out a co-management deal and Peter flew over to London for 24-hours during my promotional tour for a quick meet ‘n greet.

A few weeks later, I was on my way to New York to perform at the Alan & Marilyn Bergman tribute show – an unbelievable dream come true for a Soviet teenager who grew up loving the Bergman songs and adoring their collaboration with a true idol and childhood icon, Barbra Streisand.

Shortly upon my arrival, I met my vocal coach, Danny Madden who trained me throughout my trip and rehearsed “A Piece of Sky” from “Yentl” during the initial period at the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center… I was getting so carried away, I was living a dream – and it was just he beginning!

Within days, I was working with Mike Renzi, the legendary pianist (Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, etc.) at the ASCAP Headquarters in NY…

On Friday, 9th of June, I stepped into the ASCAP building yet once again for another rehearsal; however, it turned out to be a rather extraordinary one. While I was belting out one of the highest notes of the song, a tall, slim man opened the door and came in quietly. He remained silent throughout the rest of the song.

I felt my hands sweating as I realized that Alan Bergman himself – the same Alan Bergman in all the Streisand photos, videos, etc. – was present in the room. After I sang the song, Mr. Bergman gave me warm applause along with a few sweet comments and some very constructive suggestions. We had a very long conversation about various topics, from modern artists (fascinating!) to the family in California (see: YouTube video “A Piece of Sky” rehearsal.) He even sang several of his songs me and my parents, who, as always, were there to share that very special moment with me. I could hardly believe it, honestly!

The preparations for the tribute show were in full blow! The icing on the cake was a late-night phone call from Peter Herman… I almost fell off the bed…

“Sorry to wake you up, just wanted to let you know that Marvin Hamlisch will be introducing you to the audience tomorrow night!”

Oh my GOD!

As I stood onstage at The Pierre Ballroom and pronounced the opening remarks and thank-you’s, I still couldn’t believe my eyes… Everything inside me was trembling and I still managed to keep myself composed “Can’t mess up now!” I thought… The funny thing is, thanks to my amazing dad, the video of the event is actually on YouTube, so every time I look at it, I relive the moment. It was one of those moments when you so want to stop the hands of time and keep turning them backwards! I was so blown away… And meeting all these heroes of mine after the performance was all the more exciting… For a teenager, it was quite a challenge to be handled with care 🙂

I was so thrilled to hear from Marilyn again when I joined ASCAP a couple of years ago. It’s so rare when people of such caliber touch your life so deeply – nothing can erase that, I swear.

A couple of days later, I found myself at the home studio of Denise Rich who was mega popular at the time – everyone who was anyone in the modern pop world had a Denise Rich song under their belt. I was rushed into the studio to record one of her songs co-written with Peter Zizzo and Andy Marvel (clips from the recording session are also on YouTube!) called “Everything”. It was fun to meet Denise, she came to hear the comp on the last day and I still remember bringing her a Faberge souvenir from Russia (mind you, the Bergman’s got a painting from my dad with a special dedication – can’t beat that!)

At that point, I was so blown away by the whole experience of the 2-week trip, I was beginning to lose the plot, literally! It’s so easy to get used to everything at such young age. I actually think by then I had start to take it all for granted!

The Bergman show was followed by proposals to get into the whole Broadway scene, including the suggestion made by Marvin Hamlisch to Peter Herman. I was reluctant, even though I had been in love with this music all of my life.

One night I went to see “Cabaret” with my parents and spent some time backstage… I was so disappointed in the “theater life” – maybe it was a bad night – but I really didn’t enjoy witnessing the ins and outs of it, I thought I was too young to dive into that world and I felt I wasn’t ready to give up my “pop” dreams… I wanted to learn to write, work with specific record producers and funny enough, by the end of the trip, I did not want to live in NY and instead chose to move to London.

It’s quite bizarre but I believe that anything that comes too easily can’t be appreciated half as much as when you’ve actually “fought” with all your might and effort for that dream. There were a lot of “politics” mainly on the personal front (still within the musical scope) involved in making my decision to move to London, and to be honest, I did regret making that hasty move too quickly on a teenage whim at first, but now that I find myself living and making my dreams come true in the same NYC and mingling and collaborating with the people I could have only admired from a distance, I’m really, really thrilled. It took so much time, effort and sweat to get from A to B, but I do appreciate and value the experiences along the way. I had to go out of my way to get back on track with the same people that were pretty much hand-delivered to me on a silver plate initially, but there is a strange thrill of “self-realization” when you achieve those bits and pieces by yourself.

The initial NY trip was magical and I am grateful for every single memory and experience that I derived from it… And yet, I had to learn the hard way, and I do honestly feel so blessed… Not meant as a cliché, I promise – I guess it’s all a learning curve… As long as one remains true to himself/herself – not an easy task in this industry, and probably everywhere else in this day and age.

And by the way, teenagers can be such spoilt brats 🙂 Maturity can be so helpful, and what a shame it only comes with age…

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