A chat with Tamar Kaprelian

Born in Scottsdale, Ariz. and raised in California and Georgia, Tamar Kaprelian released her debut album, “Sinner or a Saint,” at the end of August. Mane Entertainment has a free download of her song “Delicate Soul” on their Tumblr. Courtesy of Interscope Records

Tamar Kaprelian, usually known by her first name only, is headed to the Living Room on Wednesday for a show with John West. She took some time to talk to the Loyolan about anticipations of playing on a college campus, growing up wanting to be Billy Joel and why the digital movement in music is really an advantage for young up-and-coming artists.

Kevin O’Keeffe: How did you come to play at LMU’s “Live in the Living Room” venue?

Tamar Kaprelian: I was doing an event for this label called Cherrytree Records, and one of your event coordinators was there. She asked, “Would you like to play on our campus?” I said I would love to do it! After all, I’m in L.A., I’ve been to your campus many times. I actually almost went to LMU! And I haven’t actually played many college campuses – this is probably my first.

KO: What are you looking forward to most about playing a college campus?

TK: Definitely to see the reactions I’ll get from young people my age. I think my music caters to intellectuals, so I think it’s something the kids at LMU will really relate to.

KO: You just mentioned that your music caters to intellectuals. If you had to boil it down, how would one best describe your sound?

TK: Well, that’s a good question. You know, I’m definitely a singer/songwriter, and it’s definitely a pop record. But I grew up idolizing classic ’60s and ’70s songwriters. I basically grew up wanting to be Billy Joel. It’s not a vintage sound, but it definitely has throwback flair, at least a little bit.

KO: What was the one moment in your life when you knew music was your calling?

TK: According to my mom and my dad, I was singing before I was talking. It was something very innate to me. I just knew I was going to get into music, one way or another. It just really organically happened that way.

KO: You’re playing with John West at this event. Did you know of John West, your fellow artist at this concert, previously? Have you ever heard his music?

TK: We have definitely not met. And I haven’t heard his stuff either! I need to check him out!

KO: On the topic of other artists, who would be your dream collaborator?

TK: I think I’d go back and say Billy Joel again. He’s the reason I got into music, after all. Or Sting, maybe. For a more contemporary artist, I’d probably pick Alicia Keys. I think she’s really classy and her music is really beautiful.

KO: What is the experience you want your fans to take away with them after a concert?

TK: It’s all about having fun and having a good time. It’s really about having someone connect to your material and having someone feel the emotion you were feeling when you wrote the song. You want the person to leave and feel emotionally satisfied.

KO: What would you say to someone who isn’t usually a fan of the singer/songwriter or pop genre of music to convince them to listen to your music?

TK: A good song is a good song, regardless of the genre. I think all people should have appreciation for that. It doesn’t matter if it’s hip-hop, country, even beat poetry… A beautiful piece of music can transcend all genres.

KO: Do you find that the constantly changing world of music, what with the influence of the Internet, YouTube, etc. is an advantage or disadvantage to up-and-coming artists?

TK: It’s definitely an advantage.

KO: Really? Why so?

TK: I’ve been doing this for eight years, and the music industry has changed three or four times. It’s always been difficult. But if your music is good, if it’s honest, people will hear it. Frankly, I think YouTube and the Internet are extremely useful for young artists, because in the past, artists would have to tour for years to build a fanbase. It’s gonna be interesting to see how a really big Facebook following will translate to record sales and people coming out to shows.

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