Tamara Gee talks about her Eurovision memories and new music experience!
In 2008 Isis Gee won Polish National Final „Piosenka dla Europy 2008” with maximum ammount of points from jury and public. In the semifinal of Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade she performed beautiful ballad „For Life” and managed to qualify to the final. Now she is back under the name Tamara Gee, and her new album will have not only strong ballads but also untempo songs!
After Eurovision many things changed in your life and career. In which music style do you feel more comfortable and what kind of surprises did you prepared for your fans?
I have been fortunate to be heard by some of the top producers in the world while living in Los Angeles. Through my management team in LA, an incredible and life changing chapter has opened up for me and I am so Grateful. I have been honored to be writing with and be produced by my biggest musical mentor, multi Grammy Award winning producer/song-writer Walter Afanasieff on my new album. The album encompasses both ballads and uptempo material. When I first heard Walter’s production of Celine Dion’s „My Heart Will Go On” and all of his globally praised work with other legends such as Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Luciano Pavoratti, Luther Vandross, Leona Lewis… I hoped to work with him one day and then… that time finally arrived. He has created the music and sound of the world’s biggest vocal icons. When we started recording together and I closed my eyes in the first session… knowing I was singing in front of such a mega legend, I became a little nervous. But I learned quickly of his belief in me as a singer and recording artist and he began to pull colors and tones out of my voice that I had always hoped to discover.
When working with Walter a special energy is created and I hope that transcends to the listener. This is what ultimately what inspires me to keep creating music. We just released the first single and video clip from the album entitled „YOUR ALIBI” of which features some „making of” material with Walter and I in the studio in Los Angeles and are so pleased with the responses. I have been diligently focusing and preparing my voice these past few years, with intense training from both Walter and Rihanna’s vocal coach in Los Angeles. I was waiting for the right time to begin recording this album as I truly wanted to reach my goals with a personal level of vocal expectations before getting in front of a microphone and recording again.
Stylistically, artists such as Whitney Houston and Celine Dion have always been a big inspiration to me in that, they have brought both worlds of big ballads and up-tempo music together. My first concert was seeing Whitney Houston when I was 13. I cried through the entire event and the biggest lasting impression for me was when she sang „The Greatest Love Of All” and then „How Will I Know”. The power of a ballad in combination with an up-tempo song, are so compelling and they cover all spectrums and colors, of feelings and emotions. So while working with Walter on those big ballads, I also wanted to work with the top producer/song writer on the up-tempo dance material.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had my feet planted on two continents throughout this process, one foot in LA and one in Sweden working with Swedish hit maker Anders Hansson, the genius who wrote and produced the big hit „Release Me” for Idol winner Agnes Carlsson. He also wrote my favorite up-tempo dance song on the album entitled „I WIll Be Strong” of which we all believe is a big hit. Overall, I want to constantly evolve as an artist and to be as diverse as possible, creating music that comes from the soul and translates and transcends that Energy directly to the listener.
Which kind o plans you have for the nearest future? Are they connected to Poland?
My plans are to continue spreading Love and Joy through the music, wherever it is appreciated on this planet and beyond 🙂 Music is a gift that comes from the Universe and through us, it’s not about me or about us as artists. I believe we artists have to be humble. We are privileged to be able to share our passion which should ultimately require that we have a responsibility to empower people through our music, through our voice and our message.
We must be humble as there are so many beautiful and talented people in this world, and often times… the real stars are unknown. They are the mothers working two jobs to support their children, the fathers sitting by their terminally ill child’s bedside giving them strength, the people who risk their own lives to help us live a better life or to create change in society… These are the true stars and they go unnoticed. So that is what constantly humbles me and keeps me going. My goal has always been to honor them, to give back through my music. I’m not a fan of self promotion so I don’t like talking about what I am doing but more about experiences, emotions and what they feel like. But if I must… in short, these days after wrapping up the album, I am performing a lot in Italy and the US as well as being asked to be the face and promote a cosmetic campaign with NEBU Milano. Of course, I always LOVE coming home to Poland and would be absolutely thrilled to be involved in doing more concerts. On the lines of this, it was such a pleasure for me to perform „Adagio” on Dzien Dobry TVN around Christmas time and I want to thank all of the fans for their Love and Support 🙂 It was so thrilling to be back in Poland!
How do you remember your participation in Eurovision 2008? What Eurovision gave you and what do you think about the contest now, after few years?
I found the Eurovision experience to be really Incredible, very Humbling and ultimately Soul Strengthening for me on many levels. It was such an honor to represent Poland and I will always be enormously Grateful to Poland for giving me the trust as well as the opportunity to represent the amazing native country of husband, as well as my ancestors. Being a part of the contest left a lasting impression on me. There were also so many emotions running through my life at that space in time. Behind the scenes…. Many did not know, but I was suffering a lot. The night before we filmed the video clip to „For Life”, my beautiful 23 year old cousin Mindy was killed in a car wreck. We grew up together, she was practically a Sister who also really supported my singing career and I was devastated knowing I would not be able to attend her funeral. That was horribly upsetting and very emotionally overwhelming. My heart was filled with pain from her loss and I can say, the biggest obstacle I had in Eurovision was quieting my mind associated with this pain and at the same time facing some gossips coming from the country I was representing from few people trying to harm my image.
But I must confess, as a result… I am a much stronger woman from this experience. Overall, I achieved what I wanted to and I am proud… Just knowing that the song I wrote out of Love, was received and touched peoples hearts and lives in such a special way, that has given me great joy. Of course, I wish I would have placed higher for Poland, but once we arrived in Belgrade… I had to face the reality of what was being said regarding the politics and no judges in the finals, the intense competition (40 + countries)… Plus I was encouraged to be realistic, especially finding out that the big love ballads are really tough to place high with the contest in present times.
But the song won a lot hearts around the world. To this day, we receive emails from all around the world, people sharing that they played this song at their weddings, at their babies baptisms… at their most precious moments in their lives. And that is what touches me, that is what music is all about. „For Life” was and still is a regular song played in Brazil radio and music tv, (and they were not a part of the contest) which only shows the exposure and opportunity to share music through such a platform to be very powerful.
Would you like to perform at Eurovision Song Contest again?
A few years ago I would say no, but now… I would say… yes 🙂 And of course, I would be humbled and honored to represent Poland again. My heart is in ballads, but next time I would go with an uptempo/dance song…
You were the last Polish singer who manage to qualify to the final of ESC. Do you still follow the contest?
I think all of the past Polish artists have been absolutely great! For me, it all comes down to the song and in the back of my mind I always ask…. Does the song and artist have International global power potential? So in this respect, the song that really captured my attention and ultimately drew lead me back to tuning into the contest with some intrigue… was when I heard Loreen’s „Euphoria”. I was actually shopping at Abercrombie in LA when the song began playing very loud. I didn’t know who it was or that she was the recent Eurovision winner. All I knew was that it was undeniable hit, brilliantly crafted, very well produced and vocally performed and that’s when I researched who it was. A song like Eurphoria is a perfect combination in such a contest, the mystery and feeling of a ballad but is an undeniable dance hit. I love that I have heard it in LA and Vegas for example, and it is also considered very hip and cool. It was not a sell out, it was very artistic, not flashing skin, or singing about something to shock people or try and grab their attention with cheap or shallow topic. To me that’s real art form and the basis of what Eurovision was originally created for… It’s what we vocalists and song-writers strive and aspire toward achieving in our song writing and performing. But overall, on a whole… I do believe the contest is much more competitive and political in our present time, as apposed to years ago when artists like Celine Dion or Lara Fabian were modestly dressed singing ballads. I am so honored to have been the first Polish representative to reach the finals to date with the new rules, which were ultimately created due to so many new countries participating. 20+ years ago, there were 10-12 countries competing in Eurovision and now we face a typical average of 40+ entries, which makes it extremely competitive in comparison.
I also believe music reality television programs have inspired more artistry, for singers and song-writers to become even greater and because of this… the competition has become much more intensified and convoluted in the past decade. There are more and more incredible vocalists and songs emerging in the market today and these artists are equally equipped with motivation, creativity, excellent songs and striving to be the very best.
Do you think that Poland should participate in the Eurovision?
I believe Poland should absolutely compete and most importantly, have fun with it! It’s an honor to represent such an amazing country like Poland! Of course, in such a contest… it all begins with an amazing song. So I truly hope whoever is selected goes with an open mind, but has an incredible song under their belt that translates well to everyone, as well as represents Poland with the class and dignity it so greatly deserves. It is an amazing event and it is ultimately a representation of Poland where people from all over the world are watching, so I believe whoever is selected this year or anytime in the future, should keep the political aspects of the program in mind and most importantly…. Represent Poland with all of their Heart and with Integrity that Poland can be proud of 🙂 I wish whoever it is the very best of luck!
Thank You so much for the interview and I want to send a Big Thank You to the Fans for all of Your endless Love and Support throughout the years. I am so Humbled to have Your Love and Support. YOU are the reason I continue to create MUSIC!!
Rozmowę przeprowadził Maciej Błażewicz, autoryzacja: Adam Gee