Tam Lin Interview

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We are happy to present our third artist interview - Tam Lin. This is an excerpt from the interview. Read the excerpt or click here for the full interview!


Tam LinNew York musician, Tam Lin, is not just a regular performer around the city but also a prolific and experienced songwriter.

LW. You are not just a writer but also a live performer. How does this impact your songwriting. Do you your songs evolve from live performance and audience reaction?

Performing for me is both the hardest and most rewarding aspect of playing music. It's hard because when I perform I see right away that there are ideas and words that I'm going to have to let go of because I can't perform them. I might really like a line I've written, but if I can't feel it on stage, well, it has to go. On the other hand, when I perform I get to let go of my own ego as a writer, which is very freeing. I can let the song be separate from me, and just focus on being the voice, the vessel, that lets it come through me and into the world. That's when I love the music most sincerely.

LW. Tell me a little about how you write. Do you have a process or do you wait for inspiration?

I never wait for inspiration, because the only inspiration I've ever experienced has come to me two-thirds of the way into writing a song! If I waited for it I'm sure I'd never write anything. I like to start by building lists of images and emotional statements -- things that feel true, yet unexpected. I'll generally cultivate and grow this list for a while -- sort of like gardening -- and at the same time, I'll start working on some chords and a melody. Then, when the music starts to gel, I'll try to sing through my list till the words sound like music. If I feel like I have a verse and chorus, then I'll start thinking about the story-line too. It's sort of like when a carpenter screws in a piece of wood: he can't screw in any one side too tightly or the other sides won't fit, so he screws each side in a little at a time. I try to do that with melody, rhythm, and story.

LW. Recently, you have started using Lilac Writer. How has this impacted your songwriting? What potential do you think it has for songwriters as it becomes more widely used?

I like the fact that Lilac Writer is structured in more or less the same way as I've always intuitively written: juxtaposing lists of words and rhymes. I like to write by long-hand, but keeping track of what I do in my journal can be cumbersome, so being able to arrange my best ideas online is very helpful. It's a really great service you provide for songwriters to help them stay organized, and I think it will help many people to get over their fears of not being inspired -- not to mention that it will help make collaborations easier.


Read the the rest of the interview for more on Tam Lin!

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