“My hope is that everyone can find their own strength and listen to their voice.” – Tami
Indeed. With her debut album, Velvet & Steel, Tami brings experience, strength and grace to a body of work that exemplifies woman empowerment. “This album is a journey. A journey of my soul,” says Tami.
A vulnerable masterpiece that is the result of a complex, adventurous and a fulfilling range of life experiences, takes you on a passage of soulful songs, nodding towards great eras and artists. She is a powerful voice packed in a small feminine package that speaks to a broad range of generations.
When renowned songwriting legend, Bobby Braddock (who has penned 13 number one songs throughout his career) and Tami began to select songs, she insisted that none of the songs should have a message about “being a victim.” That passion resulted in the heralding anthem, “Strong Woman”, written by Braddock, which opens the album. It’s a song that encompasses Tami’s powerful message with funky, rock conviction. The track sets the tone for an album that speaks to today’s cultural and global topics.
As a single mother, surviving domestic abuse in a short marriage, cancer, and witnessing the human condition first hand through world travel and personal experience, gives Tami a humble perspective.
“I try to speak with grace, always,” Tami says. “There are so many issues right now that are so important — not only women’s rights, but human rights all together. I know who I am and can speak strongly.”
The first single, “The Sugar Shack” – is a call for love to return, not through tears but with confidence as the lyrics state, “She ain’t as tasty as my sugar.” As an addition to the single, award-winning dance music producer Tracy Young delivers a driving remix sure to be a sweet summer 2017 dance-floor hit.
The path to love is not always conventional, as evident on the tongue and cheek track, “Ready to be Rescued.” Written by Deborah Allen and co-writers Rafe Van Hoy and Kenny Greenberg, the message is clear that it’s a woman’s place in making the moves and saying, “Come get me—on my terms.”
Tami’s music is an expression of stepping into life’s learning experiences. Whether on the legendary Jimmy Reed’s “Honest I Do,” Joe Bonamassa’s “Bridge to Better Days” or The Cure’s “Love Song,” she taps into the diverse influences and the relevant messages that made her the artist she is today.
Tami grew up in a small northwestern town in Oklahoma. There was no shortage of music growing up in her home – her father left her his collection of over 5,000 records. While her father gave her the gift of music, it was her mother that was her advisor, trusted friend, philosopher, always encouraging her to follow her dreams.
Packing that suitcase of dreams, Tami moved to Nashville where her music journey began and was embraced by some of Music Row’s top producers and songwriters.
In 2010, she and her husband seized a business opportunity and moved to the Far East. The move proved life changing as they learned to live, communicate and survive in cold Northern China. She fell in love with the Asian culture and people. It was there she explored her passion for jazz, becoming the “American Jazz Singer” and performing at a myriad of venues, including the Last Emperor’s hotel, in a room rich with leather chairs, expensive smoke and smooth bourbon.
A club owner spotted her and opened up a club especially for her, named Jazz Spot, keeping her well in demand in China. Relaxing after years in China, Tami discovered the lively Blues and Soul club, Oodie’s Place on the beautiful island of Koh Chang in Thailand.
“It was there, that I started looking at my life, and at the impact on how far I had come physically and emotionally. I realized my strength and that I really had this strength all along. I finally understood that I could do anything. Love myself and be intertwined in the music which I loved. That music that could make a human connection even with people who don’t even speak the same language.”
A special moment on the album comes with “Fly On” – an uplifting gift written by her son Saxon. Tami sings it to him and to others as an inspiring reminder to never quit, to keep pushing onward, and to shine through your inner strength.
The album concludes with “Maybe Someday.” The hopeful anthem about loving and accepting each other that was written 50 years ago and remains just as, if not more so, poignant today.
“We must remember we are able to have a voice in today’s world. Sometimes it seems like it’s dwindling back, but we have to keep that passion going and to keep having the conversation. I’m proud to be able to do that because there was a time when we couldn’t. We need to notice love and how others live their lives—if they’re suffering or are in pain,” Tami says.
“I want to matter. I want to make my existence worthwhile,” Tami says. “My goal is to create awareness of humanity with love, kindness and human rights. Hopefully I can use my voice to do that.”