Tuaca Kelly is an Amsterdam-based, singer, songwriter and love warrior that blends the root music of American country, folk, rock, jazz and hip-hop with her original compositional candor, wit and feel good she calls it.
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Interview with Tuaca Kelly
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Nope. It isn't un-boxed.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Hip-hop project
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I'll investigate and return to this question.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! Both!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To serve the song.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Being present.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Q: Are your parents hippies? A: Hah! Q: Is that Native American? A: No, its Italian.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Ask 100 people for 100 different answers.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What you wish to accomplish with your music? How do you feel I can help you do that?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Be yourself. Use what you have. Stay in your budget. Be honest. Ask questions that are meaningful.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A CB radio and flare gun to signal for help to get off the island!
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: Left. Left. Right. T at the road. Right. Up. Down. Down and out. Up again. T at the road. Right. Right Right? Right!
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Laconic. I focus on the vocal and build to support that principal instrument.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: k.d. lang - music hero since the 1980's. I would love to co-write / co-produce an record with her and have her sing top-line on a hip-hop song I have. Annie Clark - same humor, fearlessness, chutzpah... I dig the deep dive on human themes and associated character to explore them. This give such texture to her music. She's genius and very cool. Dame Dolla - he so grounded Will Smith - he is so goofy and clean as a whistle Timbaland + Missy Elliot - fire and ice with so much feel Pharrell Williams and Rick Ruben together - 'cause the vibe at Shangri La is dope and that would make for a interesting experimental joint. Finneas O'Connell - he is progressive. Never repeats himself. Always make a 'new' record. And its an Irish thing.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Be ready before your clients arrive. Use your imagination to anticipate what they might need production wise and practically. If you know they are vegan, for instance, print out the menus for local joints and be ready to order if the session is scheduled to last all day. Do your homework. Know WHO you are working with, not just what you are going to work on.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Hip-hop Jazz (For folks in Europe: I am an American with an American accent).
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Songwriting (verse, chorus, tag, top-line; jazz, pop, rap/hip-hop, rock, country). Singing / Crooning / Rapping / Free-styling / improvising. Empathy. Decision-making. Giving direction. Maintaining the safe-space I created for magic to happen.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Imagination, ideas, direction, 'feel', human connection / empathy, character.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Meet and vibe. The dream someone has for their music is personal. I want them to succeed and feel good about what I have to offer to bring their vision to life. The best match is when I feel a connection to the person and their music, and they are open to my ideas. Emotional maturity, professionalism, imagination with a clear vision/goal, and communication is paramount to making a great time in the studio.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Logic Pro Various VOX-interface Various microphones Various string instruments MIDI keys Tongue drum Cajón Purified structured water + Candles + Palo Santo + Essential Oils, ad hoc.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: k.d. lang Annie Clark (of St. Vincent) Jack Antonoff Finneas O'Connell Billie Eilish John Mayer Jacob Collier Harry Styles Kendrick Lamar
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: As a crooner - feeling very at home in American root music such as jazz, pop and hip-hop - I bring a positive professional down-to-earth attitude to serve the music by listening to what the project or song is asking for. As a producer / mentor - I feel about who the artist is, intuit when the idea is in alignment with the artist / brand / song and set do my best to nurture a supportive environment, working relationship for the best / most natural performance and keep morale - though all the emotions that can come up during the recording process - high. My primary focus is the vocal and give shape to how the music supports the vocal and the message it seeks to convey.