Jazz has never been so elegant. An interview with Tatrina Tai
I have had the pleasure of not only hiring Tatrina for some of my largest events, but she has quickly become one of my very good friends. She is crazzzzzy talented. She can sing in English, French, Italian, Spanish German and Latin, is easily one of the nicest and most welcoming people I have ever met. Check out my interview with the beautiful Tatrina Tai! Thank you to Karyn Kimberly for the photos! Check out Tatrina performing at Una Pizza + Wine HERE and for more information check out Tatrina's website HERE.
1. You have a beautiful young family who are so lucky to have you sing to them! How do you incorporate music into their lives?
Children are such innate musical creatures. I have never met a child who does not respond to music. Whether they respond by bouncing or dancing to the beat, humming along, or clapping their hands, children respond to music so naturally. Even the youngest babies respond to the melodic voices of their loved ones. I sang to both of my little ones from the time they were born (to be honest, before they were born). When I had my first baby I would sing to him throughout the day. I would sing to him while we played, when it was nap time, in the car...I was always making up songs with him. He would coo along, or pat his knees, and I thought it was so precious that my little one loved music as much as I did. And when my second child was born, I made the assumption that it would be the same with her. However, as she continues to do till this day and I assume will do forever, she completely surprised me! From just a few weeks old, whenever I would start to sing to her she would make it blatantly obvious that she wanted me to stop! It was such a shock to me! I like to think that it was her way of telling me that she had her own music going on in her own head...because now she sings along with me all the time. And when I’m not singing, she fills the house with her songs. My children actually fill my days with more music than I would have without them. I love it!
I recognize an importance of celebrating music with others, and so when my babies were just a few months old, I registered them into Kindermusik with Kari and Friends. Kari Soroski runs a wonderful music school in Louis the 8th Mall, with classes available for newborns up to 7 year olds, and every age in between. It’s a space where little ones are encouraged to explore, dance, play instruments, interact with one another, in an encouraging and nurturing environment. I feel so blessed to have been able to give my children their first classroom experiences there. Now my oldest takes piano lessons in Jesse Brown’s private music studio, and he couldn’t be happier. I hand picked Jesse to be my son’s first formal music teacher because of his amazing ability to instill a deep love of music into his students. That’s the most important thing for me as a mother right now...that my children develop a love of learning. Incorporating a love of music into the lives of my children has never been anything that I had to think about...except for when my daughter was trying to make me stop singing, haha.
2. When did you start singing and performing?
I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t singing songs. I was adopted when I was 2 years old and moved to Canada from Korea. My family tells me that when I arrived, I came equipped with a wide range of Korean children’s songs. So many, in fact, that my first english word was “shut-up”, compliments of my older sister. The poor girl had to listen to my non-stop Korean preschool repertoire everyday! (Sorry Davina! I love you!)
My father was a minister, so I grew up singing solos in his church and also sang in the choir from a very young age. My sister and I were also given the great opportunity of piano and violin lessons. From the time I was a young child I was performing or competing in local music festivals. However, it wasn’t until my piano teacher was moving away that she made my mother promise to start me in singing lessons. So when I began high-school I also began my formal voice training in the Marilyn Whitehead Studio. My time with Marilyn and her Fireside Singers was such a pivotal time in my life. She taught me so many lessons in performance, precision, and dedication. Marilyn is one of my greatest mentors. I remained in her studio for 4 years, and a short while later joined the U of S as a vocal performance major, studying under Dr. Garry Gable (former department head). It was at the U of S where I truly honed a deeper understanding of my voice as an instrument, and all of the depth and colours to be found within.
Somewhere in all of my classical training, I found myself slipping away every now and then into the sultry, seductive jazz scene in Saskatoon. I have had the humbling opportunity to perform around Saskatchewan with some of the province’s best jazz musicians. It’s a habit that I’ve never been able to shake. Performing took a backseat for awhile, when I started my family. I didn’t want to be traveling on the road with little ones at home, and that decision was the right one for me. Now that my children are older, I’m so excited to be getting back in the game.
3. If you could sing with anyone, who would it be and why?
Right now I would chose to sing with Michael Bublé. Not only is he a tremendous Canadian talent, but he and his family are in the U.S for cancer treatments for his 3 year old son Noah. I would sing any song, any genre of music, that would put a smile on that little boy’s face.
4. What are your future goals for your career?
Getting through December is a goal in and of itself at the moment. I’ve got a packed schedule with shows all over the province. Combine that with other family and community holiday events, I’m hoping I make it to 2017 in one piece! I’m also focusing on expanding my performances out of province. I’ve been a regular performer at the Saskatchewan SaskTel Jazz Festival for the past 5 years, and I’m hoping to branch out to Winnipeg, Montreal, and I’d really love to perform at the Halifax Jazz Fest. I typically set goals for myself with a year or two in mind, and so wherever these goals take me in the long term will be a tremendous adventure.