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New music, supporting Rebecca Ferguson and performing at The Great Escape Festival… 2018 has been a wild ride so far for Tara Flanagan!
We had a chat with the second year Creative Artist student to listen to new track ‘Let Your Guard Down’ as well as finding out everything that’s and hear her aspirations for the rest of the year…
Introduce yourself. How did you get into music?
“My name is Tara Flanagan and I come from a beautiful town by the south coast of England called Poole, in Dorset. I’m currently in the final months of my degree on the Creative Artist Course at ACM, Guildford.
I was always obsessed with music as a child, singing along to the power houses like Whitney Houston as her songs were played around the house and forever dreaming to be one of the Spice Girls… or Britney Spears. My first experience of singing was when I was 7 years old, joining the school choir. One of the clearest memories I have was when I learnt a Gareth Gates song from a ‘Pop Idol’ Karaoke CD my Mum bought me (I was a pop fanatic… and still am to be honest). I spontaneously sang it in front of my dance class at school. When my teacher heard me, she brought me to the headteacher’s office. I was ABSOLUTELY terrified as to why I was being brought there, little did I know it was to sing in front of my headteacher!
Looking back now, this was a pretty brave thing for me as I was one of the shyest kids ever and confidence was quite a big issue for me growing up. There was something about singing that allowed me to overcome that fear. That was when I realised my love for singing!
For my 13th birthday, my parents kindly gave me a Fender guitar and I began teaching myself via the internet. I then discovered songwriting. At the same time, I was also participating in musical theatre shows and competitions (The first solo I ever sang was ‘On My Own’ from Les Miserables at our school concert when I was 10, which sparked my love for musicals). Musical theatre helped me to grow massively with my performance skills. From singing during a music competition, I was contacted by a music producer who was one of the judges, and it was then at 17 that I recorded my first single ‘Run Run Run’ and EP ‘The Game’ and that was when I fully realised that I wanted to be a Pop artist.
From then on I’ve been privileged to participate in several music events like performing at the BBC Introducing Live Lounge and to be supported by Britrox TV. Through them, I had the privilege to perform at the House of iKons fashion show at London Fashion Week and one of my gigs shown on TV.
Supporting the American Soul, R&B group, Shalamar and pop singer Rebecca Ferguson were some of the highlights this year as well as performing with my backing band at gigs and festivals. Performing at Tileyard and at Metropolis Studios through ACM were great and memorable experiences. I feel so privileged to be surrounded by SO many passionate, talented and hardworking people at ACM that inspire me every day. Through doing gigs and experimenting more with my sound, I have begun to develop my own pop identity, combining my challenging melodies with thriving electronic backlines, which led to tracks like ‘Let Your Guard Down’, with a more electropop edge.”
What’s the story behind new track ‘Let Your Guard Down’?
“I wrote Let Your Guard Down two years ago; one of my favourite songs I’ve ever written. I played it at several gigs across the past two years on piano. The positive feedback from those who had seen me perform the song was very inspiring.
The song itself is centered around the feeling of frustration – the type of frustration you can feel with someone when it feels like they’re not fully opening up to you and you’re not fully opening up to them which creates huge communication issues and self-doubt. This leaves you in a very confusing place with a feeling of desperation to know how the other person feels and thinks.
I’d like to say that it’s a punchy pop track that combines vulnerability, lyrically and vocally with dark electronic beats.
The positive feedback from the song during live gigs and from my ACM tutors encouraged me to record it in the studio, so I teamed up with Producer Harrison Perks from HP Music in Dorset and we worked on the production for the song. I am SO thrilled that it is finally out to the world! It has been 3 years since I last released original music online so this is a very exciting time for me. I’ve been so eager to share this with everyone.”
Tell us about the recording process for the new single.
“It was such a fun and engaging recording process as I was so eager to turn my ideas for the production of the track into actual reality! Harrison was awesome as he could really see my vision too. We did a lot of experimenting with a lot of live and digital sounds, incorporating lots of subtle 80’s inspired synths and live electric guitar. I was especially excited with the chorus of the track which, with the added production, transformed my song into a much more upbeat, dance-y number.”
What does the rest of 2018 have in store?
“This single is the first instalment of my new music. I’ve been working on new material and have another single planned to be released this summer, and then maybe another one or two new songs later in the year. I just want to keep recording, releasing and performing my new material and hope that people will love it as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it! I will be playing at some festivals this summer and thrilled that I will also be doing a headline show at The Boileroom, Guildford on Friday 13th July. I hope everyone can come and have a jam with me!”
If you’d like to study at ACM and follow in the footsteps of our students like Tara, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit www.acm.ac.uk/open-days to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.