There are very few artists whose musical works make the listeners travel into a world where the sonic elements serve as a peaceful listening experience and make you feel like you are personally attached to the songs. The latest album by Canadian singer-songwriter Tara Maclean, Sparrow, is a collection of songs that give you a similar feeling. We had an excellent opportunity to interview her about this album, so before we get to that, let us know a bit about Tara and her new album Sparrow.
For those of you who are unaware, Tara Maclean is an internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter whose career spans a whopping twenty-five years and counting. She also possesses several awards and accolades in her bag. Besides being a prolific singer-songwriter, Tara has also written a book, Song of the Sparrow, released on March 14th, 2023. Her latest album Sparrow, released on March 31st, 2023, is a soundtrack for the book.
Sparrow is an album that feeds the soul!
Tara Maclean’s latest album, Sparrow, boasts a set of songs worth discussing. First of all, this forty-seven minutes and twenty-five seconds long album of ten tracks comprise the re-recorded versions of seven of her old songs and three completely new songs. It sounds a bit odd when you think of it in a way that a new album has the majority of old tracks and a significantly fewer number of new ones, but Tara explains this in the interview, and now we know why it is how it is!
Every song in Tara’s new album Sparrow somewhat hits you right in the feels, and both the musical and lyrical brilliance in each track makes one feel overwhelmed in a positive way. To put it precisely, all the songs in this album seem like the listener is experiencing a narration of different stories in the life of an unknown friend. You can tell by the words and the compositions that these tracks are born out of sheer personal experiences. However, although the topics are personal, Tara certainly makes sure that her listeners enjoy every moment of listening to this beautiful set of amazingly composed songs. We had a wonderful chat about this whole album, and Tara was kind enough to give us some valuable information on her ideas, recording, and writing process of Sparrow.
Let us see what Tara Maclean says about this beautiful album, Sparrow!
1. Hello Tara, first of all, Sparrow is an amazing album, and the songs are beautiful. So, before we get to it, let us begin with your influences. Which bands or artists have positively impacted your musical journey over so many years?
Thank you! So many positive influences! I would start with Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Daniel Lanois, Lisa Gerrard, and Dolly Parton! Oh, and Stevie Nicks, of course! These days I listen to many Icelandic Neo-Classical music like Olafur Arnalds, and I am also a big fan of Novo Amor. Dido impacted me deeply because I toured with her forever, and that was amazing to witness her rise up close and see how she stayed the same cool, hilarious, and grounded woman.
2. There are three new songs, and the rest are different versions of some specific tracks from your other albums. So, what was the idea behind making this album?
I was in the process of writing my memoir with HarperCollins, and I noticed I was going very deep into describing the songs. It was the perfect time to revisit them, not just in the descriptions, but to get inside them. So I re-recorded seven and added three new ones. The new songs came through just from being so open and inspired, and really, they are the theme of the book.
3. All the songs in your album Sparrow are lyrically intense and thoughtful. So does every song have a personal story attached to it, or the lyrics are born out of the sheer imagination of situations?
Every song I have ever written is deeply personal. The ones on the album have had a major impact on my life. Some were hit songs that opened doors for me, and some just opened places inside me as a poet. I am so happy that songs I wrote in my late teens and those I wrote in my late 40s are all hobnobbing on the album together!
Tara Maclean’s process of writing and recording!
4. Tell us about your writing and composing process. Do the lyrics come first and then the music, or vice versa?
For me, they often come together. In my book, Song of the Sparrow, I describe it as music is the water and the words are the waves. They are part of each other.
5. One great thing about the songs in the album is that each one boasts terrific production and has a different musical vibe. The choice of instruments is also excellent for every song. So, would you walk us through how the whole recording process went about?
I have wanted to work with Dan Ledwell for years and am a huge fan of his production. We sat down for a day and played with each other all our favourite things, like two teenagers with their record collections. We were in complete sync. Then, to be honest, I sat back as he took the songs to new levels and hired the best musicians around while I ate keto carrot muffins and drank bubbly water. It was the most hands-off I have ever been because he is a genius, and I trusted him so much. It was just a big, giant YES throughout the whole experience.
6. So, what is the next thing fans can expect from you? Another new album or single that will be out soon?
I am doing a book and album tour across Canada and the UK, which is exciting. I will absolutely be making another album, writing another book, and touring forever. However, the big dream is to create a show that surrounds the story of the book and do these shows with symphonies around the world. I am working my way up to that. No dream is unattainable, but you have to keep dreaming. That’s the giant blank canvas to paint your life on.
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