RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW CANADIAN ARTIST TIA MCGRAFF
What made you decide to start the band?
I started my career as a solo singer-songwriter before moving to Nashville. When I met my husband/songwriter, Tommy Parham we broke our rule of never date your co-writer. Not only that, but he started accompanying me on stage. Happily for us, we’ve been married for 16 years now, and enjoy touring as an acoustic duo (although he insists we keep the band name as Tia McGraff).
Introduce us to the members and your musical history?
I great up in Southern ON Canada on the shore of Lake Erie and began singing professionally after winning the Canadian Open Country Singing Contest. I moved to Nashville and met and married the love of my life, Tommy Parham. Tommy is a Colorado native who was living in L.A. when he signed his full staff deal in Nashville and relocated to Music City USA. That’s where we were introduced by his music publisher.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
Who are your influences? I have a lot of influences in my music and professional life, but I really like to think that people hear that and they tend to compare an artist.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
Our green screen
What useless party trick do you have?
Showing up with too much food.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
I have been blessed with 30 years of stage experience and the most fun I’ve had is every time I step on a stage with my husband/guitarist, Tommy Parham. We consider each performance a gift to give away and receive. Especially after coming through the pandemic and wondering if we’ll ever have the opportunity to perform on stage again.
What was the worst experience on stage?
The night I needed to fire my guitarist after he told me he needed to take over the stage for 20 minutes because he had invited agents out to see him. Luckily, my bass player beat me to the firing punch.
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about?
Tommy and I love being together, seriously, we are never apart and love being on stage together.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
You know those leaky drops of water that fall from your huge green alien eyes when your emotional? That’s what our songs will do to you.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
Music and live performances are so devalued after the pandemic, artists are not going to be able to support themselves through music as we could a few years ago. I predicted this would happen when artists offered free social media concerts during the pandemic and the public got used to music for free.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
Radical Road. It’s the story of my life, written with the love of my life, and Tommy plays the heck out of it on his big Guild guitar.
I hear you have a new ep, what can you tell us about it?
The 7 song EP (I couldn’t get it down to 5-6. These are my babies) is called With Love. I co-wrote the first single, Go Your Own Way with Tommy Parham and Kevin Fisher in California. We demoed the song over the internet, pitched, and decided we love the demo version so much, why not put it on the ep? In 2021 we won Social Justice Song of the Year at the EmPower Music Awards in Kansas.
Talk me through the thought process of the ep?
Tommy and I spent the pandemic writing and producing our new songs with Kevin Fisher by sending the tracks over the internet. We took the time to dig through old work “tapes” and song demos and were inspired by what we found. Some beautiful gems were buried in a box. Some have been dusted off, and re-recorded for the new EP, and some have inspired new ones to be written and recorded. It’s been the most beautiful recording process I’ve enjoyed in a long time. Not rushed, in between tours, but rather, “we don’t know where this is going but it’s fun.”
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the ep?
Trying new production styles and not having a deadline to meet. Deadlines can be a good thing for artists who tend to procrastinate and become too particular.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
I would have taken time off the road in the past to enjoy this style of writing and recording instead of fitting in a new album between tours.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
To enjoy the process of starting at square one again and this time, not taking any part of the exciting journey for granted. Not rush out touring just for the sake of it, but rather let our music reach the world and receive the good things that come from making people feel better.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Like the words to our lyric says, “Go your own way. Be whoever you are.”