Armed with a voice “you just need to hear" (BBC London) and an irresistible blend of snaps, claps, and golden trumpet peals, Tara Priya combines vintage soul, poetic lyrics, and a dash of pop to provide relief from today’s Auto-Tune avalanche. Sweet and sour, lovely and lovelorn, the retro-soul “jewel” (Access!) is a story as distinctive as her sound.
Her parents, in true Berkeley-hippie fashion, raised her on The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Billie Holiday. The Persian mother and Indian father were delighted when, at four years of age, she began playing piano and writing poetry. Delight turned to dismay when, at nine, she eagerly followed in her brother’s footsteps and became addicted to Tupac, hip-hop, and playing the drums.
“I didn’t stand a chance,” Tara admits, “The catchiness of ‘60s pop and old soul, the rhythm and grit of hip-hop, Dylan’s beautiful lyrics, the pain in Billie’s voice…I was hooked from my first listen. Which was probably in the womb.”
Tara never lost her taste for any of it, and her juxtapositions would come to define her. After losing her mother to cancer at eleven, she begged her father for voice lessons and began training as an opera singer. Stunned by Etta James a few years later, she added jazz voice in high school and started performing around San Francisco. Tara then switched coasts to attend Columbia University, where she quickly settled down in NYC’s performance circuit.
Anxious to focus solely on music but reluctant to drop out of college, Tara sped through and graduated in two years with her BA in Economics. She returned to California to write & record her 2011 eponymous EP—an homage to her Motown influences with a bite that is entirely her own—and proceeded pour herself into her singing career while living in a poolhouse in Los Angeles. Within a few months, Tara was named a winner in nearly every major songwriting competition, including the “starmaker” Billboard Song Contest. Invited to festivals from SXSW to Canadian Music Week to the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in India, she garnered global critical praise for her “fantastic, timeless vocals” (CityBeat) and “punchy, sass-laden retro-soul” (Time Out).
In 2012, Tara’s first full-length album, “Tara Priya”, was released exclusively in Japan via P-Vine Records. An exceptional mix of sass, soul, bitterness, & pop, the LP debuted at number two on the iTunes Japan and Amazon.co.jp R&B/Soul charts. Its single, “Run Like Hell”, charted for 17 weeks on the Japan Hot 100, soaring to number six on both the iTunes R&B/Soul and Billboard Japan charts. A second full-length album is slated for release in Spring 2013.
Tara’s first EP, also titled “Tara Priya”, was released in Summer 2012 via Rockhit Records in Germany/Austria/Switzerland, where it was praised as a "summer pop hit" by Time Magazine. Tara is currently recording her debut US/UK full-length album in Los Angeles and London.