“I grew up in a very musical family,” says singer-songwriter Tara Velarde. It all started “in the tiny town of Yamhill, which is close to Portland but very much out in the country.” From there, Velarde “studied music education at Pacific University, and was totally immersed in the choral world until I got inspired at an Avett Brothers concert in 2014 and decided to make my music my main focus.”
That same year she released her debut EP and has never looked back, playing “countless venues, house shows, radio and TV stations, podcasts, fairs, festivals—you name it,” Velarde says. But the last several months have seen her take a new tack, recording—at The Rye Room with producer and engineer Matt Greco—and releasing singles.
“Producing one single at a time has been a new approach for me, but I think it's my favorite method so far,” she tells. “I love the chance to spend quality time with the song and give it all the space it needs to be its best self, and to not be distracted by any other tracks. It feels immersive, and very satisfying.”
“This song is intimate and provocative, but ultimately it's about a tough situation that I think many of us have been in—being totally in love with the wrong person,” she explains. “I wanted to capture the obsession, and the simultaneous agony that comes from the secret. It's the first track I've released that steps into more of a soul genre, which is really exciting to me. I consider myself first and foremost a singer-songwriter, and while I've edged into folk, blues rock, and even a few Latin rhythms, it feels like it's high time to embrace the more soulful side of my voice and songwriting.”
Featuring Timothy Van Cleave on drums and harmonies, Liz Chibucos on guitar and harmonies, Julio Appling on bass, Greco on organ, and Velarde on lead vocals and keys, you can expect the upcoming EP to include "both full-band numbers as well as a few solos that are really dear to me,” Velarde tells. “I really value musical variety in the songs that I present, so you can count on some heavy hitters as well as some tearjerkers. I love to reach people like that through the highs and lows of the emotional spectrum.”
And you can look forward to feeling all the more feels with Velarde after she tours some new tunes around the American West, spends May and June in Italy and Spain, and completes a few more recording sessions at The Rye Room.