Tamtam is a young lyricist and singer of mixed heritage. She draws upon personal experiences to tell passionate and relatable stories for listeners, while leaving her songs open to interpretation. Tamtam has been most influenced by Michael Jackson’s showmanship when performing live. Onstage, she truly comes into-her-own.
“It’s such a positive feeling when you’re in a state of mind where nobody will judge you for being you. I’ve always enjoyed writing songs and music that express how I feel,” says tamtam of her debut single Little Girl.
She met Zahed Sultan at an event in Istanbul, Turkey. He heard her singing one of her songs and thereafter kept in touch and talked about music. She sent him some of her work; one email led to another which eventually led to the final version of the track Little Girl along with the music video. “Zahed has become a mentor to me and I enjoy working with him because we have different styles of music so it’s always interesting when we combine our thoughts and ideas” says tamtam.
We’ll have to wait a little longer for an album though; tamtam says, “When I’m done with school, I am going to start working on an EP (a half album) that I hope to release before the end of 2013.” We can’t wait!
How did your musical journey begin?
My musical journey began when I sang “Thriller” by Michael Jackson in a talent show at school. I was 13 years old and it was my first time performing live. It was the most amazing and exhilarating feeling I had ever felt. As soon as I started singing and engaged the audience, this comfortable feeling of something so pure and natural overwhelmed me. That night I learned that performing is a two-way affair; in order for the performer to captivate the audience, the latter must engage the performer; and vice versa. Ever since that night I promised myself that I would take every opportunity to feel that way again.
What/Who inspires you to write your music and lyrics?
Both of my grandfathers were poets and they were always very eloquent in their speeches as well as their writing in Arabic. I am always moved when I read or hear their words and that inspires me to write lyrics of my own. Michael Jackson is definitely my number one inspiration for creating music because his music doesn’t just constitute hearing, one can feel the words and the emotions that he is conveying through his voice and sound.
Is the final sound of a musical track an individual or group effort?
The final sound of a track is definitely a group effort because you can’t achieve the final sound without attaining the basics and the core of the track. There are many components to a song and fusing two or more minds and ideas makes for a more interesting end result.
Who/What in your early beginnings influenced your music?
I still consider myself in my early beginnings when it comes to music, and I would say that many different circumstances influence my music. Sometimes it’s an experience that I go through, other times it’s an observation and an opinion that I convey through my lyrics, and on occasion I use my imagination to tell a story.
In your opinion, what was the hardest challenge you faced in your musical career so far?
The hardest challenge for me is not being able to be completely open about who I am and where I am from due to cultural and social expectations. Those are important factors and play a big part in my music. I know that one day I am going to have to be more open about it, especially since performing is my favorite component about being a musician.
How has the Middle Eastern world reacted to your sound?
It’s been a positive reaction over all when it comes to my sound. I think there’s also been an element of surprise because I don’t sing in Arabic and my musical style is influenced from the West.
Do you feel that music should always serve a specific purpose?
Each person who creates music should use their music towards something they believe in and are passionate about. Since people’s passions are different, I don’t believe there should be one specific purpose for music.
What is your dream performance space and destination?
The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California, and the Royal Albert Hall in London, England.
What would you like to accomplish in the future?
In the future, I hope to use whatever tools I attain from music to better society and create a more positive world by encouraging people to become more patient and understanding towards one another. I’d also like to help provide a college education for those who don’t have the means to get a degree, because I believe that knowledge is vital in life and it is a blessing to be able to obtain it.