Influences: Anouk, Nina Hagen
K: Hi Tamira. What part of the world are you from?
T: I am Dutch, I was born in Amsterdam. My Father is Dutch, my Mom is from Bosnia and she moved to Amsterdam just before I was born.
K: Do you go back to Bosnia a lot?
T: Yeah, every summer. Some years I go for 2 weeks, sometimes it’s only one week but I do try and go every year.
K: So you grew up in Amsterdam?
T: Yeah and I moved to Glasgow about a year and a half ago.
K: What brought you to Glasgow? Why here?
T: I just wanted a change. I was a bit stuck around my own personal development and I didn’t know how to take the next step. I had a friend in Amsterdam who came from Scotland so when he moved back home I visited him a few times and I just fell in love with Scotland. I knew that when I finished school I was going to move here…and I did!
K: What’s your journey been in music?
T: When I was 5 my Dad sent me to music classes and I learnt things like clapping along to the rhythm of songs and stuff like that and then I got to try out some different instruments like Violin, Clarinet and several others and then after that I was allowed to pick my own instrument to specialise in.
K: What did you choose?
T: The drums!
T: Yeah, so I learnt how to play the drums for 6 years. I still have a drum-kit at my Mom’s house, but I got bored with that. So then in high school I had a bunch of friends that were into Rock Music. We had a gig at the school and I sang “American Woman”. After that I started getting more involved in singing and I ended up studying music for another 4 years at the Art & Entertainment College in Amsterdam. I got to experiment with many music genres. The first one I got to study was actually Blues and then every other style of music was covered. It was really good fun. Out of all the different genres my favourite three were Soul, Disco and The Blues.
K: You are playing with The Brian Rawson Band at the moment which is quite a “Rocky” Blues outfit.
T: Yes, I love Blues but I love Rock as well. My Dad introduced me a lot of music like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin but also music from all over the world which has resulted in my liking all sorts of stuff. I like Indian music for example, but I think that the Rock has been with me since I was born!
K: So how long have you been singing with Brian and the guys?
T: I think it has been since April last year (2015). I’d just moved in to my own place, I got a new job and then I got a phone call from Linda (Appleby Caren) and she said “Listen, we’ve got an important question for you!” and I had no idea what it was going to be but it ended up that they wanted to know if I would sing in the band. They had a couple of big gigs coming up and they had no singer. So I had 2 weeks to learn the lyrics and then we started getting more gigs down South.
K: How did they know that you sang?
T: I’d known them for a wee while and they all knew that I could sing but the band had always had a male singer so I never even thought about playing in the band. When they started looking for a new singer I was thinking about all of the male singers that I knew. I never considered the possibility that I could sing in the band! But hey…here we are.
K: It seems like a really tight bunch of guys and you all seem to get on very well on and off stage. You’re doing quite a bit of travelling for some of the gigs. What’s it like on the road with the band?
T: Oh, it’s really nice. Nice and relaxed. When I’m in a band I like structure and professionalism and all 3 of them are just the perfect people to work with. They’re great fun, honest and just want to play and make music and that’s all I really want to do as well so it’s perfect. I don’t want any drama, I don’t want any competition, I just want to play
K: Do you ever write lyrics when you are on the road?
T: I love Blues but I find it quite difficult to write Blues songs. I don’t know how to link my life into real Blues lyrics. Do you know what I mean?
K: Yes, absolutely. Every time I try and write a Blues song it ends up the same way. Too much detail. The art of the Blues lyric in my opinion is to say as much as possible with as few words as possible and it’s a real art. People think it’s easy but it’s not.
T: Brian writes all the songs for this band so I can just relax and…learn my lines (laughs)
K: So you’ve been here now for about a year and a half. How does Glasgow compare to Amsterdam?
T: I think Glasgow is a lot more open. I moved here when the referendum was going on so everybody was out in the street chatting and arguing, but in a good way. I just noticed how open everyone was towards me and that they wanted to know things about me. In Holland you get the impression that most people have tunnel vision and they are on a mission and they are not interested in others. If you bump into someone by accident in a street in Glasgow, they just say sorry and there is no drama but it’s a different matter if you do that in Amsterdam.
Also, I love the fact that there is so much nature in Glasgow. There are so many parks. In Amsterdam the parks are made by hand but here it is all natural. I find it easier to breathe here.
K: What do you mean? Physically, spiritually?
T: No, just easier to breathe. My friends who come to visit me agree that the air is easier to breathe. It’s hard to explain.
K: What’s happening with the band at the moment? Are you working on new material.
T: Yes, Brian is coming up with some ideas and so is Jim and Calum and I work on the material as well and throw in suggestions while we are working on the material. Everyone contributes.
K: A couple of times when we’ve been sending each other messages in the run up to the photoshoot you’ve said that you were in a rehearsal. You seem to work a lot as a band. How much do you actually rehearse?
T: Every week. Even if we don’t have any gig planned, we still rehearse. You get sloppy if you don’t rehearse. People get to a point where they think they know a song and then they stop working on it but once you get too comfortable with a song you start making mistakes. You always need to keep on training and training. If I don’t rehearse for 2 weeks, for example while I am on holiday, I can really feel the difference in my vocal chords and it’s the same with the guys who play an instrument. If you put it down for too long you end up losing your timing and your speed.
K: While we were talking earlier you mentioned that your Mother had been over to visit and that she had caught a gig while she was here.
T: Yeah, she really loved it. I think she had been a bit concerned about her daughter being over here all alone but then she met all the guys in the band and all of the people that had become good friends and she said that she was very happy for me and she wasn’t worried any more.
K: Who are your biggest Dutch influences?
T: Anouk is a famous Dutch singer. She has a beautiful raw voice and her personality is so big. I’ve also recently discovered that I may have some Nina Hagen influences. She is crazy and has a beautiful opera voice and sings all of this old style music. Yeah I think Anouk’s voice and Nina Hagen’s stage performance have had a big influence on me.
K: Your Dad seems to have had quite a musical influence on you as well?
T: Yes, he always wanted me to sing and play the drums.
K: Wow, that’s a talent.
T: As long as it was a basic beat I could probably do it but…nah…really, really hard.
K: What’s the future for you here musically?
T: Just work really hard and get as many gigs as possible and play a lot of festivals. There may be an album this year as well. We’ll see.
K: What are your biggest passions outside music?
T: Travel. I love to travel.
K: I’m trying to redress the balance of women that sing the Blues on the site. Do you think there are more female artists on the British Blues scene recently?
T: Mmmm, I don’t really know. The whole male/female thing doesn’t really bother me. If you want to play then play, it doesn’t really matter.
In Glasgow I was really pleasantly surprised by all the responses I got when I started in the band.
K: What about Amsterdam? Any gigs planned for the band over there?
T: Yeah, absolutely! There are some really cool venues over there. Brian has asked me about 5 times already! So whenever we can get some good gigs over there we can go no problem.
We’ve already been invited by a few places. We could stay at my Dad’s place (laughs)
There’s this dirty, tiny, smokey little Blues Club called Maloe Melo and there have been so many great players that have gigged there. Jeff Healey, Poppa Chubby and there is live music almost every night.
There’s another bar called Bourbon Street. I met Dennis Chambers in there and shook his hand. That was very cool.
K: This evening has been very cool Tamira. Thanks very much for your time and for picking a great location for the shoot. Best of luck with the band and with your travels.
Kelvin Walkway, Glasgow
Camera: Nikon D750
Lens: Nikon 24-120 f/4
Focal length: 78mm
Exposure: 1/60 sec at f/4
Time of day: 18:11
Conditions: Evening light
Lighting: White Westcott umbrella, Nikon SB910
the kelvin walkway