A little town in the Florida panhandle may be the only true home to Southern songstress Tanya Gallagher, but her music spans the country from the coastal plains of the Gulf of Mexico into the far reaches of the Pacific Northwest.
Born and raised near the Florida-Alabama line, she spent her formative years along the Gulf Coast studying environmental science and working odd jobs whilst fine-tuning her song-writing skills. Her 2013 release, Oh My Love, reveals beautifully crafted melodies and thoughtful folky refrains, enough to garner the attention of both her US and Canadian peers. Collaborating and performing alongside fellow wordsmiths and fans, like James Adkins, her song-writing conveys the honesty and wisdom of a woman who is beginning to establish a musical identity all her own, yet one still rooted in the soulful folky crooners who have paved the way before her.
With her calming voice, an acoustic guitar, Gallagher uprooted and moved from Pensacola, Florida to Vancouver, BC in the fall of 2013 to pursue a PhD in Landscape Ecology and continue song-writing.
Her new album ‘VIRGINIA‘ released on September 30th and is now available on iTunes.
In this interview spotlight, we chat with Tanya about her newest project, influences and more.
Q&A along with links and streams can be found below.
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
I was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida, but moved to Vancouver, BC 3 years ago to pursue a PhD in Forestry. My friends joke that I sing vengeful lullabies. I simply write down what comes out. I don’t always necessarily know what that is going to look like. Some days I just sit down with my guitar and wait to see what happens.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?
I’ve been writing songs (first in the form of poems, and later as actual songs with music) for as long as I can remember. Songwriting is something that catches me off guard sometimes. When a lyric or melody pops in my head I grab my phone and hit record to try and capture the idea. I feel like the songs are what lead me down this path. And the fact that they keep pouring out when I least expect it is what motivates me to stay the course.
Who or what are your biggest influences when it comes to your creativity?
I find that solitude does wanders for the mind. In a society where we are constantly surrounded by things (people, ads, technology) vying for our attention I find that when I’m by myself I have a chance to finally sort through and make sense of all of the stimuli I’ve encountered throughout the day. It’s then that I feel most myself and ultimately the most “creative.”
How is your new release different than previous ones? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?
This release was produced with a good friend of mine, Brandon Hoffman. Brandon has played with a myriad of great bands around British Columbia and has his own project (Blocktreat) that our friends all lovingly refer to as bleep-blop music. It’s truly something great – a mix of chopped up musical pieces all sewn back together in a samply-folktronic kind of way. He played bass on and mastered my 2013 album Oh My Love and I had been wanting to record a record with him for quite some time. I met up with him the first week I moved to Vancouver, BC and instantly knew we were going to have a long lasting musical friendship. We spent the Fall of 2013 recording the songs for Virginia in his living room in East Van. These songs capture a very specific moment in time. Word for word they are an honest portrayal of how I felt that fall. It’s not necessarily what we set out to do, but it’s what happened.
Do you face any challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? On the flip side, how has technology helped you (if it has)?
It’s a challenge to build a stand-out musical identity in this day and age. The interwebs are flooded with musicians and songwriters dying to be heard. That said, I generally feel that technology is wonderful. It’s overwhelming and intimidating at times, but ultimately it’s allowed me to collaborate with friends strewn across the continent. I’ve co-written songs with friends living in Virginia and Ohio via text message and voice memos and FaceTime all from the comfort of my apartment in Vancouver. It’s crazy to think that that can happen, but in this digital age it’s all so convenient and easy.
How do you feel about streaming services? Any romantic attachments to the physical formats: vinyl, 8-track, cassettes, CDs?
I recently became the sole owner of a record player and have been trying to slowly build my collection one vinyl at a time. I would really love to put out a 7 inch record of the first two songs off of Virginia. That is my dream. I’m still scheming up a way to make that happen. I also absolutely love CDs. When folks get into my car that’s the first thing they remark about. I started collecting CDs when I was in middle school and it’s been something I’ve had a hard time letting go of. I know bluetooth and ipods and all of that technology exists, but I there’s just something really special about records and CDs. I guess I do kind of have a romantic attachment to the physical formats.
Where can we follow you online and hear more music?
- Bandcamp: https://tanyagallagher.bandcamp.com/
- iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/virginia/id1141575944
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tanyagallaghermusic/
- Website: http://tanyagallagher.com/
- Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/tanyagallaghermusic
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/TanyaLGallagher
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BaylenMusic
Anything else before we sign off?
I think that’ll do 🙂