Interview: Tiffany Houghton
Tue, 08 Oct 2013 12:55:25
Tiffany Houghton is pop's best kept secret right now. However, she's well on her way to bona fide superstardom. You can hear it on her latest single "High" [iTunes link]. Her voice soars to impressive heights, carrying an unforgettable and unshakable hook. It might just intoxicate you after one listen...
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Tiffany Houghton talks "High", her biggest influences, and so much more.
What's the story behind "High"?
I was actually on the phone when the idea for this song was born. I was talking to my friend. Some background, I'm totally a hopeless romantic. I'm such a girl [Laughs]. I had just started dating this guy, and I said something to the effect of, "I don't know why they call it 'falling in love', because I've never felt this high before!" I thought, "Oh my gosh, I've got to go!" I hung up the phone, and I sat on my kitchen floor and wrote all of these lyrics. It just flowed so naturally. Then, I went into the studio with my friend the next day, and I was reading these lyrics. I started snapping that first little melody you hear when the song starts. After that, it was over. The song wrote itself. It was such a fun song to write. We were in the best mood, and it was so much fun.
Does this open the doorway to more music?
It definitely does. For so long, I had looked to songwriting as an escape and somewhere I would go when I was in a dark place, after a breakup, or in the aftermath of something difficult going on in my life. So, I'd be like, "Oh, I'll go write about this horrible event". It was an escape, and it needed to be that. "High" was one of the first times I had this breakthrough. I decided I wanted to write songs that make people smile and make me smile. It doesn't always have to be that escape or therapy. It can also be something you go to and laugh about and celebrate.
You can cover an entire range of emotions with music.
Oh absolutely! In three minutes, you can completely capture that emotion. That was a lot of fun.
What artists shaped you?
I listened to a lot of music growing up. I always really loved Avril Lavigne. I loved her because she's a songwriter as well as an artist, and I felt like I was getting the real thing with her. I listened to her a lot. I loved The Jonas Brothers growing up. I loved Mariah Carey. Her vocals are amazing. I really liked a lot of the '90s pop country music like Shania Twain and Faith Hill. I love Katy Perry today. I think she's incredible. She's a great example of someone who's full circle an artist. She writes her songs and has input on her production.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
It is important. I got into songwriting because of my love for reading. I was the nerd when I was little [Laughs]. I loved to read. At seven-years-old, my grandmother got me my first journal. She was like, "Why don't you write down your stories?" I started doing that at a young age. It became this habit. Today, I still write in a journal, if not every day, every other day. I write in a journal every single day. In high school, I had a boyfriend who taught me how to play guitar. At that time, I realized I could take the things I was playing on guitar or piano and put my own words to them and tell my own stories. That's something I'm very passionate about.
What authors do you come back to?
I really like Sarah Dessen. I read a lot of her books growing up. These days, I'm a big fan of books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. That's a great book! I love Nicholas Sparks too. I could read him all day long. Right now, I'm actually reading Pete Townshend's autobiography. Shania Twain's autobiography is fantastic. I'm all over the map. I love to read though.
What's next for you?
Here's the plan. I graduated high school early and spent three years in Nashville to really understand songwriting. Living there, my goal was to meet some incredible songwriters and learn from there. I wanted to really develop my voice as an artist. I really improved over these years, and I wrote some songs I really believe in. "High" is the first one we released. I have more songs up next though. The next one will have its own story and life. I want to give each song the chance to have its own journey.
Have you heard Tiffany Houghton?