Tamara Weber-Fillion calls her debut album Time, Wind and Fire, and by all indication, those elements were factors in her overall success as a singer.
Photo Credit: Kelly Jacob
Starting with time…great timing…on the advice of a music coach, the singer auditioned for La Voix (Canada’s edition of The Voice) in 2010, and became one of the show’s breakout stars that season. Fire…she’s got fire. You can see it when she performs on stage and when she belts out songs like her rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Doors”. At the time she’s answering my questions, she was in a middle of a Canadian tour that brought her and her band’s members (Rosemarie Richard and Rachel Hardy-Berlinguet) to Canadian cities Montreal, Lavaltrie, Beloeil, and Ste-Marie-de-Beauce.
Kreyolicious: Tell us about yourself. And share some musical memories growing up.
I’m a big dreamer, but I always thought that everything was possible and I think that served me well up to now. [Smile] I remember clearly stealing my brother’s guitar to learn by myself when he was away. And also bying a few cd’s and learning all the lyrics, trying to sing like my favorite artists which were Avril Lavigne, Justin Timberlake and Our Lady Peace at that time.
Kreyolicious: Was there something about your upbringing that pulled you towards music?
I don’t really know, it was always in me.. I had to touch everything I saw that made sounds… I was always interested without knowing why. Nobody plays music in my family, but they all enjoy listening to it.
Kreyolicious: You entitled your album…Time…Wind and Fire. Why?
I put a lot of thoughts into my first album’s title. First, it was an album that took five years over all since the first song (“Unsettled Heartbeats”) was written an its release. “Time”. Im a little obssessed with astrology, i’m was born under a wind sign and been in a meaningful relationship for almost three of these five years with a fire sign “wind & fire”. It was also a hint to a book of my favorite author, Antoine de St-Exupery, Sand, Wind and Stars.
Kreyolicious: Coincidentally, your album’s title has the same initials as you. Was that intentional?
Yes. It was intentional.
Kreyolicious: What was it like putting the album together?
I wanted to make a personal album since it was my first one, so a lot of my friends are part of it…I wanted to be entirely me. It took a while, but it was a lot of fun and it’s been recorded in an old-fashion way. All the musicians together and we recorded the voices after.
Kreyolicious: When you were on La Voix…Did you feel any pressure…either internal or from tradition…to do a cover instead?
I didn’t perform any original song on La Voix…It’s forbidden in the rules of the contest, but I wish I could have.
Kreyolicious: You play the guitar expertly. You’re no novice. So, what advice would you give to someone who is?
I don’t consider myself as an expert guitarist at all. It’s more to accompany myself. I feel better with my guitar. I never feel alone with it—even though I am sometimes on stage, it gives me strength. The only advice I would have to give is to never give up, because it’s not always easy, but practice and believing makes everything possible. [Smiles] This advice can apply on everything in the [entertainment] business too.
Kreyolicious: Does your Canadian-Haitian heritage play a role in your music?
Not necessarily in my music, but in my motivation for sure. I always wanted to give back what I had and this is more than luck. It is love.
Kreyolicious: You’ve been to Haiti?
I’ve been to Haiti twice to build a school with the Mark Bourque association…
Kreyolicious: When you’re on stage…how do you maintain your connection to your fans?
I don’t have any tricks to maintain the connection, but I’m a pretty empathetic and emotional person and I believe I reach people with my own way of feeling even with my eyes closed.
Kreyolicious: Half-a-century from now, when a musical expert and biographer is analyzing your music and your life…how do you want to be remembered…what do you think they’ll say about you?
I hope that they will talk about me as a strong woman that made a positive impact as a musician and as a human being, because I’m planning on using my differences to help other people to accept themselves and knowing that they are beautiful the way they are. I also want to help in less fortunate countries—especially Haïti.
Special thanks to Six Media for making this interview possible.