Miriam Tamar Interview
RESiN: Where were you born?
Miriam Tamar: I’m originally from the Boston area. It’s definitely a cultured and intellectual city, which helped lead me down the academia and nonprofit work path that I was on before moving full time into music. I got my degree in Peace and Justice Studies, and both the coursework and fieldwork I did in Africa definitely influence my sound and lyrics, as I explore themes of shared humanity, resiliency, empowerment, and self-discovery.
RESiN: What is your favorite song to listen too right now?
Miriam Tamar: I listened to a lot of Motown, soul and folk. But looking back, I can tell that Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and Peter Gabriel’s “So” albums totally introduced me to world fusion and African fusion sounds- those were my first tastes of African legends like Youssou N’Dour, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Angelique Kidjo. Anything Joni Mitchell, Des’ree “I Ain’t Movin,’” Eva Cassidy “Songbird”…so many!
RESiN: Where do you call home right now?
Miriam Tamar: I’m now based in Los Angeles, but feel pretty fluid. I’ve always had a sense of wanderlust, which is reflected in my lyrics. I will say, there’s a small but powerful live world and jazz fusion music community in LA, and I really respect the artists and musicians in it. They inspire me to continually push myself to evolve and bring out my best and truest artist.
I definitely went through an ongoing personal evolution while I was abroad. The more you learn, the more realize there is to know, and that goes for learning about a culture, and for learning about yourself, and your ability to grow. Being exposed to different ways of life, value systems and perspectives that were new to me, and also seeing people struggling in situations of extreme adversity, but managing to overcome that adversity and find a sense of hope and meaning- it really deepened my soul. Resilience and empowerment are so powerful and inspiring. I’m in an on-going dialogue with myself around these themes- it’s what keeps me going on a personal and artistic level. Less abstractly, now in the US, I also find amazing world music and African music to listen to, and seek out unique musicians to collaborate with.
Musician or not, I advocate that anyone explore the world as much as they can- I think learning about other cultures and value systems opens hearts and minds. I don’t think a musician needs to travel to find content or inspiration- we all have different life experiences, emotions, messages and ideas that we want to express as creators, and these are all valid. Exploring the world can only add to this.
RESiN: What do you enjoy doing outside of music?
Miriam Tamar: I love food and travel- you can’t always hop on a plane and take an adventure, but at least you can find a restaurant and go try something you’ve never eaten before, and get a taste of somewhere new! Beaching and hiking also really center me.
RESiN: If you weren’t doing music as a career, what do you think you would be doing?
Miriam Tamar: I’d probably still be working in international nonprofits, but likely from a music and arts angle, so I could get more creative
RESiN: If you can hang with any fictional character, who and why?
Miriam Tamar: Ohhh- maybe Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice– she’s witty and strong and loyal, and seems like a wonderful friend. But Abbi from “Broad City” would be good for a travel adventure or crazy evening!
RESiN: If you can share some life wisdom with the kids of today, what would it be?
Miriam Tamar: Nothing is permanent. Whatever is worrying you will pass, and whatever is present will only be there for a moment, so enjoy and be present in that moment! Everything comes and goes.
RESiN: What was your BEST show experience?
Miriam Tamar: In Uganda I collaborated with a traditional percussion ensemble and we had an amazing show fusing East and West African sounds with Western music. Working with them was really how I discovered my sound, and performing and having that incredible live energy and seeing the audience on their feet feeling that energy and responding to what we were doing, brought me so much joy and set me on my current sonic path.
RESiN: Do you have a venue or event that is on your career to do list?
Miriam Tamar: I love performing- and honestly, anywhere where there are people who love music- that’s where I want to perform.
RESiN: Anything that you would like to promote?
Miriam Tamar: I hope that people will hear the messages in my “Firedance” EP –that we’re all on journey and there’s always struggle and sorrow along the way, but we’re resilient, and it’s our ability to find the hope and the love that creates the meaning and connects us all.