Tami Neilson Is Embracing Family Life: In The Real World & Virtually

Published in Music  
Tami Neilson is part of the line-up for the virtual concert Bandwidth, from the people behind Blues On Broadbeach. Tami Neilson is part of the line-up for the virtual concert Bandwidth, from the people behind Blues On Broadbeach.

Fresh off the release of her current album, 'CHICKABOOM!', this weekend country-soul chanteuse Tami Neilson will be beaming in from her lounge room across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand when she performs as part of Blues On Broadbeach's virtual concert Bandwidth.

After been forced to cancel their 2020 event, Bandwidth will feature a swag of artists from this year's original line-up performing from their own homes this Friday including Tommy Emmanuel and Karise Eden.

"Bandwidth is an online meeting point for our festival tribe, a celebration of our event and a snapshot of musicians working from home around the globe," Festival Director Mark Duckworth says.

"It's a non-traditional concert experience that we can provide for our audience to enjoy. Turn on, tune in, drop out."

"The best way to get rid of the blues is to sing the blues," Tami Neilson adds, "so I'm looking forward to joining you all online, with my brother Jay Neilson beaming in from Toronto to join me for a special set we've cooked up just for you."

You’re part of Blues On Broadbeach’s virtual showcase Bandwidth; you have your brother, Jay, joining you virtually from Toronto, as well. Any specials treats to your performance you two are planning?
Yeah, Jay was supposed to land in NZ today to start our Australian tour. I was so looking forward to showing him the Gold Coast!

When Blues On Broadbeach asked me to do a set for their online festival, I called up Jay and asked him to join me. So, we’ve cooked up a collaboration from opposite sides of the world for you all.

Blues has always had the power to heal in times of despair and hardship; almost the perfect tonic for our current world, right?
Preach! I often steal Willie Nelson’s quote: "If you want to get rid of the blues, play the blues."

Any tricks to motivate your performance without the direct feedback of an audience?
That’s showbiz, baby! Whether it’s performing to a camera in isolation or to a live audience that aren’t paying attention, I was raised in a family band and taught to give it all you’ve got, no matter what.

Are there any peculiars of performing virtually you didn’t realise till you started playing?
It will always feel weird to finish a song to silence and have no audience reaction or applause.

How did you find last year’s festival experience performing in Broadbeach?
A festival on the Gold Coast?! Paradise! The audiences were so warm and appreciative, I loved every minute.

How stir-crazy are you to get on stage somewhere hopefully really soon with a live crowd in front of you?
Reading this question just made me salivate, so. . . that’s how stir-crazy.

Given we, as a society, have had a taste of no live music in our lives, once things return to the new normal will more people than average go see bands/ artists live?
That is my hope. It looks like it’s going to be quite a while before we can resume touring internationally, so my hope is that nations will embrace their local artists – not just audiences going to shows, but mainstream media, radio, TV with airplay and exposure would be the best way to heal our broken, local music industries.

While you’ve been in lockdown, have you discovered any new hobbies or taught yourself a new skill?
I have been producing a weekly TV show for my YouTube channel called 'The TAMI Show' where I perform live music, do beehive hairdo tutorials, showcase a stage outfit from my closet and the designer who made it, feature an album from my record collection each week.

It’s been a HUGE learning curve, only being able to use what I had in my house at the time of lockdown to film, edit and produce a weekly episode.

Just before the madness of COVID-19 descended on us, you’d release your newest album ‘Chickaboom!’; how has the response been?
'CHICKABOOM' was released two weeks before the world turned upside down. It had incredible reviews in Rolling Stone and MOJO and the momentum was like nothing I had ever experienced before.

It felt like riding the crest of a wave and the wind suddenly stopping dead. I am really grateful that it was released, though, as it’s been incredibly special to see the joy that it is bringing to people during such a dark time.

You mentioned you wanted a collection of songs that would still go ‘boom’ when they were stripped back; did you manage to achieve that?
I definitely feel like it lives up to the 'boom' in 'CHICKABOOM!'. But, I’ll let you listen and decide for yourself (see what I did there? Wink wink.).

What was it like to include your brother, Jay, on the album?
It was really special to have Jay be part of this album. We grew up touring across Canada (where I’m originally from) and the US in our family band for over a decade with our parents and other brother, Todd.

I then moved to New Zealand and married a Kiwi, building a solo career here for the past 15 years, so, it felt like coming full circle, like returning home musically.

How does it compare to your 2018 album, ’Sassafrass’?
'SASSAFRASS' was as big as I had ever gone sonically with horns and strings, etc. I wanted 'CHICKABOOM' to strip things right back to basics: a guitar, drums and bass, three people in a room together, to capture that crackling, live, raw energy you would find if it was an album unearthed from the vaults of Sun Records in Memphis.

What’s next for Tami Neilson?
Cooking dinner for my kids, ha! There is no way to plan at the moment, so it’s one day at a time, enjoying this time with my family, creating what I can, controlling what I can and letting go of what I can’t.

Bandwidth premieres on Facebook on 15 May at 7pm EST.



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