“I’ve learned to find one too many homes, pack your bag, little girl, it’s time to go” is a line that stands out to me in Tamara Qaddoumi’s “Flowers Will Rot”, whose visual representation has mesmerized many eyes and ears since its March 5th 2018 release. The video, created by Pablo Lozano, has been nominated for 9 international film festival awards, and the song is so catchy and relatable that we’re still humming along. But for those of us who know her, the video emulates Tamara’s spirit: a free bird flying through a continuous journey, collecting newfound provisions along the way.
We’ve previously spent time with Tamara in a 2015 interview where we picked her brain as an Artist of the Month about her creative process in music and theater. In 2018, however, we have caught her in the spring of her life. One thing that hasn’t changed? Tamara’s avian nature – gentle and curious, adventurous and willing to take a risk.
Tamara laughs as I reveal this theory to her, pleased that I seem to “get” her essence: “I’ve always felt a connection to birds because they have no boundaries… they have no walls.” This speaks volumes of her choice to title her freshman EP Dust Bathing: the term used to describe desert birds cleansing themselves without access to water.
Touching on her history, biography and experiences, Dust Bathing acts as Tamara’s manifesto. “Ultimately, the album itself illustrates the way we learn and make the most of the places we call home, even if we don’t necessarily feel like we belong there.” Like a Chagall painting, abstract with hints, every part of its production plays a vital role– even down to the music, modulation and vocal productions. “The harmonic layering reflects different parts of myself. Much like the same identity crisis we’ve all had growing up, I’m constantly discovering different ends that unveil parts of myself, and take pleasure in deciding to peel of some of [those things].”
Dust Bathing’s lyrical content also poetically strips the reserved Tamara raw. Born in Paris to a Lebanese Scottish mother and Palestinian Kuwaiti father, Tamara has, true to her limitless bird soul, learned that “homes” aren’t barred places with brick walls. “I feel that homes to me are all the people I’ve met and each happy and sad thing that’s happened in my life – it’s a cross between the mental and the physical within oneself.”
From University days in London where she met her longtime producer and friend Wilma Archer, to Beirut, where she refined her craft by working with different production companies behind the scenes, her homes have been abstract, memorable, and provided a lot of substance in her evolution as an artist and a person. “I’ve gained lots of valuable experience from the talented, worldly people I’ve met. Every single person I’ve worked with has taught me something different – unexpected little lessons from all types of people that I carry with me for the rest of my life.”
But as of late, while Tamara has settled back into Kuwait to focus on her music and herself, she found another important sense of home through health and nutrition: an inevitable interest she felt necessary to unravel. This led her to embrace her nurturing spirit by caring for others and connecting within herself, completing a certification through The Institute of Integrated Nutrition, and starting The Talking Birdy: a holistic healing platform in which she shares research found towards obtaining wellness.
“After becoming the Talking Birdy, taking care of my own spiritual, mental and physical health holistically has brought me so much clarity in my day-to-day life. I’ve never been so in tune with my existence on our Earth, right down to my breath – this especially has helped me find awareness of my own voice.”
And so, it all ties in with Tamara Qaddoumi, collecting interests within her nest of happiness and survival, constantly finding rebirth in the process. At the end, whether it’s taking the hungry and curious under her wing while teaching them about wellness, or chirping soulful melodies for us to emulate, Tamara has grown to find that everything she does is “driven by passion, with my heart and soul poured into it.”
We hear that, songbird.
Up Close and Personal Questionnaire
What do you most value in your friends?
Passion, depth, loyalty, silliness and effortless bonds.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Happiness is in moments that are within my reach which catch my breath off guard. I find harmony in laugher, our fickle friend the wind, petting the grass, budding plants, when I am nearest to earth’s treasures and loved ones really. Activating each of my senses.
What is your greatest fear?
Being abandoned in the vast ocean in the middle of nowhere at night.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My failure of being as minimalist as I’d like to be. Aren’t the emotions we carry inside us heavy enough?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
What is your greatest extravagance?
Jumping into things without checking the temperature. Metaphorically and literally speaking.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Sorry (yup, I one of those).
What is it that you most dislike?
Jell-O. (I don’t… understand it…)
Which talent would you most like to have?
Rope lining balance.
If you could have any job, what would it be?
To sing for a living. That would be a privilege. To be able to do what I love for the rest of my days.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
Self-healing. This has also allowed me to take care of loved ones, as their health is also my happiness. Always remember you can’t pour from an empty cup.
What is your most treasured possession?
The moon, Boris (My Frenchie) and my blender.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I’ve been carrying Kodaks with me everywhere I go since 2010. I love the anticipation of waiting while developing film. I also tend to carry food everywhere I go.
Where would you most like to live?
I’m quite nomadic by nature, but I bloom in colder climate. People are more detailed and colorful to me in gloomier weather. It helps me see them better.
What are your favorite words to live by?
“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?” -Douglas Adams.
Follow Tamara Qaddoumi the musician on Instagram: @tamaraqaddoumi and follow her as the holistic healer The Talking Birdy @thetalkingbirdy. Dust Bathing is currently available for purchase everywhere: Spotify, Anghami, Amazon, Soundcloud, and iTunes, amongst many other outlets.