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Division of Laura Lee
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A Conversation With Tiffany
by Samuel Barker
and
Rayanna Barker

April 1, 2001


Tiffany!
Tiffany

Samuel Barker: I know there has been a lot of time between you last two albums, did you spend more time doing the "mommy thing"?

Tiffany: The "mommy thing"? Yeah, basically I took some time off, I knew that music was changing, it was going more dance. I just wanted some time off, I wanted to take some time to reassess. I was changing management, so I was trying to find what the next phase for me was. And before I knew it, I was married, had a baby, and living a normal life. I really enjoyed that. So it was kinda like "enjoy it a second," then I started writing...in '93, '94, I started writing with Moren, our keyboard player. We'd get together and get a band together, We went to Asia and did some gigs out there, we mostly did stuff out of the US because we didn't want to be obligated to have a specific sound or destination. I was really searching.

Samuel: One thing I noticed is that you've written a lot more of your songs now, do you play any instruments to help you write or is it mostly in the lyrical sense?

Tiffany: I play a little piano, but nothing I'd really want to show anybody. Just for when I sit down with other writers, I'm just like (imitates playing). I have distinct melodies that I hear, and it's a pain in the butt for everyone to collaborate with me because they have to find me as I am, I pretty much have a distinct melody at the beginning of the song, like the verses that's like something that just came to me. They just come, and when they come I just have to flow with them. Then there are months when nothing happens and I'm like "Is that just a tease or what?"

Samuel: Has it been easier performing the songs you wrote, since you knew more of where they were coming from?

Tiffany: I think for right now I just want to do music that I can identify with. A lot of times when I was searching for songs, people would send songs and they'd be ballads, really fluffy, happy dance songs. That's great, but that's not who I am, I have no intention of doing music like that right now. It was really frustrating because I could break the mold of how people perceived me, so I wasn't getting a lot of great songs. And I knew I wanted to write and by 1994 I really begun to write, pretty intensively for part therapy and part to challenge myself and I wanted to do it. So when I started working on this album I went from '94 til now, I went through a lot of phases. I went to Nashville and started collaborating with writers there, and things didn't really work out. So I went back home for a second and that's when I kinda found myself a little bit.

Samuel: Who were some of the artists who influenced you most when you were writing the newer songs?

Tiffany: Wow...on this album my influences haven't changed. I'm still a big fan of Stevie Nicks, Aretha Franklin, U2, Edie Brickell, Paula Cole. Paula Cole probably inspired me most on this album. I was going through a time in my life where I could most identify with her lyrics. She writes and produces her own stuff, and someday I'd kinda like to do things from that aspect. I think that was the most influencial for this album. It wasn't even like I ever set down and was like "I want it to sound like this!" There were certain things, like there were some tribal feels to some of the songs, and I really wanted that. For me, for the production of this I was like "Push it, push it harder!" I really didn't want it to be whimpy or puffy. I'm sure it's just a phase I'm going through for this album. For me, for this album I didn't want it to be too happy, too overproduced. I just didn't want that.

Samuel: So a lot of it was just you're way of coming out and having control of everything, not really in a controlling factor, just being able to plan your own destiny.

Tiffany: I think this one was me just opening my big mouth every 5 minutes. I don't produce, I don't do that. I know what I want exactly, but I can't make it happen. So definitely I have to work with people and I have to trust people, and on this album I think I got what I wanted. Which is great. I don't think we'd have the album we had today if it wasn't for those three people in that room, sometimes being frustrated, not fighting it out, but being verbal enough to say "No! This is not going to happen." There were times I felt very awkward on this album, like I was speaking out too much, but at the end of the day I had to do my own thing.

Samuel: Do you feel it's important to evolve with the times and how you feel in life, instead of being caught with one thing and making it the only thing you do?

Tiffany: I think for myself I definitely, starting off I kinda got stuck in one thing. So I think for me that freaks me out, whenever I feel like I'm going to be put in a box I will run the other way. Just because it's something that has developed in my personality, I just don't want to be confined to one type of music or one type of dress. I think it's not reasonable. I think people grow and they change and they evolve. One day you're feeling sexy and the other you're not feeling too hot. That's life and sometimes in the industry if you start off pop you have to be pop. I understand that whole concept of the business and that's what we invested in, but I don't think for an artist that's true. Like for me, I know what I'm doing now with the rock base, that's what I want to do. But I also know when I collaborate with other artists and do other projects as well, and sometimes people get a little schitzo thinking, "Well, is she going country because she did a country song?" No, that means it's a project. And I'm a very eclectic person and I started out singing all kinds of songs and I want to still do that.

Samuel: So for you it's more important to do what you're feeling as opposed to doing what the industry wants you to do?

Tiffany: Well, you definitely need the industry. You need the radio, you need the radio, you need these people, but if I'm not doing the music I love to do, I'm miserable. It's all downhill for me. I'll just go home and be a miserable depressed person, and I can't have that. I have to be able to have a good time and have fun. It's hectic and some days you don't have fun, but for the most part that's about the people around you. I've developed this sixth sense of laughing at things that really aren't funny. I don't really know what, but I guess it's a defense mechanism or something. I just find things funny instead of being bummed out. I'll have this short stint when I'm angry then I'll just laugh hysterically, because there are a lot of things out of your control, you can't control everything. Just roll with it.

Samuel: On this college tour, has it been interesting to see the kids who were around when you started out now grown up and still being fans?

Tiffany: Yeah, I think everybody has changed. What's even more of trip is seeing people who worked for me or spent time on the road with me as dancers or just friends, it's interesting to see them now be artists, being successful or being successful in their lives, have kids. It's weird, I go talk to the New Kids and they have kids, it's like "This is a strange conversation." I think that's stranger than seeing my fans growing up, because I knew they were. Because they were on the second album, already growing into a whole other phase and I felt that was where I was losing my niche. They were all going more towards dance and I really didn't want to do that. I tried it on the third album to be more like dance music, but my voice, my vocal was still harder edge, but it didn't work at all.

Rayanna: Have you ever thought about doing Broadway?

Tiffany: I'm not interested in Broadway, it's something Debra (Gibson) does, and she makes a lot of money at it, and good for her. I went and saw her on Broadway, and she does it well. I just couldn't. Maybe later on, I'm not closing the door but I don't have any interest in that. I'm not really a Musical person. I don't really care for Musicals. And really to be out on the road doing that kind of thing, I don't even know. I guess because because I'm a little too sloppy. I like what we're doing now. I like a free for all, for me it's more back to the basics. And at some point we're hopefully going to get to where everything is kinda etched in stone, we have more more production, have people who really know the music, you have a confined set list, everything is programmed so you gotta stay really stay within that relm. And that's safe, and that's more normal than what we're doing now. Right now is more schitzo, but I like what we're doing now. It's just rock. It's basic, everyone is getting a different show. I never know what I'm doing when I get up there. It probably drives the band nuts more than me. But everyone is getting a different show and it keeps me fresh, interested, and on my toes.

Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at suma@rockzone.com.

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