Tamar Kaprelian Talks "Sinner or a Saint," Billy Joel and Disney Movies
Thu, 21 Oct 2010 13:59:04
Tamar Kaprelian keeps things simple on her debut album, Sinner or a Saint.
There's a classy understated elegance to the lilting pop of "New Day," but she infuses songs like the title track and "Raining in Paradise" with a poetic prose. As a songwriter, she's got storytelling down to a science, and her voice proves the perfect vehicle for each one of the tales she weaves. The Los Angeles songstress has orchestrated one of the best debuts of 2010, and she's certainly destined for some very big things in the near future.
Plus, she's got great taste in Disney movies…
Tamar Kaprelian sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about Sinner or a Saint, the stories behind her song, why The Stranger rules and her favorite Disney animated flicks.
Is storytelling one of your goals with songwriting?
Well, I take a lot of pride in really perfecting my lyrics and being able to tell stories through my songs. All of the people I grew up idolizing did that. I wanted to make a very classic-sounding album, so I figured I would not only do that musically but lyrically as well. You're right on with that observation…
Did you approach Sinner or a Saint with a vision for the entire album, or did it come together in the studio?
The funny thing is, "Sinner or a Saint" is one of the last songs that we wrote for the record. If anything, it was really the song that tied the whole thing together, and that's why we chose it as the title track.
What does that overarching theme mean to you?
I think every person—whether we like to admit or not—has both sides. The rest of the record has a lot of themes. I wrote "Sinner or a Saint" with Ryan Tedder and Brent Kutzle from OneRepublic. Ryan listened to the entire record and said, "Tamar, there's a part of your personality that you're not really exploring. I really think you have these dual sides and you can either be a sinner or a saint." When he said that, I immediately wanted to follow that thought. It's a really cool song title. The song really came together organically from there. That title helped spark everything.
"The Otherside (Aleatory)" really stands out. What's the story behind that track?
I'm happy you like that one. "The Otherside" is my song about my experiences in the music industry and how it can really be a torturous process at times. I've been in the industry for seven or eight years now. Sometimes, you end up looking at your experiences and asking, "Why do we get ourselves in certain situations?" It's about finding peace within yourself and all situations— whether they be good or bad. It's my song about how I view the music industry. I feel like "(Aleatory)" ties everything together. "Aleatory" means happening by luck or by chance. You almost don't have control over things that happen. I very much believe in fate. I think that instrumental is a nice way to tie the whole album together thematically.
If you were to compare Sinner or a Saint to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's an amazing question. I've never gotten that one before! I grew up loving classic Disney films. I don't know if I'd compare it to a Disney movie. I don't know if it's because I used to watch it as a child but the first movie that pops into my mind is The Sound of Music. I might say that [Laughs]. That's the first thing that rolls off of my tongue. That film has this theme of survival and conquering the impossible. I feel like a bit of that is tied in with my album as well. I'm going to go with The Sound of Music [Laughs].
What are your favorite Disney movies?
Well, I love Aladdin. That might be my favorite. Growing up in each stage of my life, I had one that I was deeply attached to. The Little Mermaid is great too. They just had really good songs. The quality of the music in those movies is remarkable.
Which records shaped you?
I'd say Billy Joel's The Stranger is one of my favorite albums of all time. I can go back and listen to that over and over again. I feel like that album helped define what I wanted to do musically with Sinner or a Saint.
Have you heard "Sinner or a Saint" yet?