Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!
How long have you been writing/performing?
Tara Anne Chugh: I started performing when I was about 15 years old with my two sisters in a trio pop group called CS3. I branched off around the age of 19 when I moved to Arizona and began performing at coffee shops and wine bars with some friends. We had the opportunity to open for a Grammy-nominated singer in 2013. Since then, I've made my way back to the greater Seattle area, which is where I made the transition as a songwriter. I had always put off writing for the fear of sounding silly, but now I wouldn't have it any other way.
Tell us about the artistic process and the different stages that work into it.
I usually sit at the piano and let the music come to me; I let my fingers do the talking. I'll try out a few chord progressions and run with it. Once I'm done with the piano mix, I'll send it to a few friends and ask them what thoughts or images appear when they listen to it. In a weird way, it confirms the thoughts in my head. I'll add all of the other stuff from there to bring the "drama" and "voila" there you have it!
Where does your inspiration come from? What other musical artists do you take inspo from?
I love a good movie that makes me cry - sad or happy tears. I believe the key to feeling each emotion in a film is the music. So I'll think of the scenarios in a movie or actual scenarios in my life and write from that starting point. I've always loved music from Jim Brickman and Hans Zimmer. Lyrically, I would definitely have to go with Sia, Adele or Ingrid Michaelson.
What kind of genre is your music? What kinds of things do you write about?
I'd say my genre is a mix of adult contemporary, indie-pop and soul. For my instrumental stuff, I like to write music that draws emotion or helps you relax. For my lyrical music, I mostly write about topics that can help someone heal through a tough situation. For as long as I could remember, I've used music to get through the difficult times in my life — breakups and all!
Do you have one song that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
"Rise Up" means a lot to me because I've had this song in my back pocket for years. It was just the bare bones, and it was sitting in my phone's recorder app just collecting dust. The meaning of the song stems from being at your lowest point in life and rising up to try again. The song rises and falls throughout, and it reminds me that God did not intend for our lives to be rainbows and sunshine all the time. We'll always go through ups and downs, so it's really about how we respond that will build our character and strength. I recently released the music video for this song, which features our city of Tacoma!
What experiences in your life have shaped your music/art?
My husband and I were struggling with infertility, so when we finally got pregnant, we thought we were finally out of the woods; we lost our baby 12 weeks in. We were devastated, to say the least. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I started writing down lyrics for the first time – a letter if you will. The music flowed through my soul and helped me heal one note at a time. I'd say the other major event in my life that shaped my music was finally becoming a mother to a beautiful baby girl exactly one year later. If you listen to my first album "Eleven Eleven" vs. my second album "Begin Again," you'll be able to hear my inner thoughts and feelings throughout.
If we want to hear more of your work, where should we go to find it? What about upcoming shows?
You can find my work on www.taraannemusic.com or on Apple Music, YouTube, Spotify and Amazon Music.
What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
Right now, I'm teaming up with a sync licensing company to write music solely for film and TV. I would absolutely love to hear one of my songs on the big screen or the little screen in your living room. My goal is to make you cry — in a good way.
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
I'll take a grande hot americano, one pump sugar-free caramel and a splash of milk. I won't drink it if it's not hot enough!