Tami is the name of a world-traveling country, blues, soul and pop singer.
Her 2017 album, Velvet & Steel, was produced by country music legend Bobby Braddock, and contained “The Sugar Shack,” a toe-tappin’ tune which stayed on Billboard’s Dance Chart for over 10 weeks.
While Nashville is her home, Tami has gained a following in Thailand, where you may find her singing inside a special blues club on a treasured island.
In this Six Crucial Questions, Tami talks about music, travel, and her sizzling performances.
HOMETOWN: born in Grand Prairie, Texas; raised in Enid, Oklahoma
1. What is your earliest musical memory?
My father playing his classic 78 records ranging from the Ink Spots, Sarah Vaughn, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Nat King Cole, and my mom taking me to sing solos in church. I was four years old, I believe.
2. What has been your most embarrassing musical moment?
I was electrocuted on stage once. I kicked off my shoes in Thailand during a song and stepped on a cord with a hole in it. It was 220 volts. I remember feeling like I couldn’t move my arms or legs and that I was being weighted down and not able to speak or move my head. The guitarist was in the middle of a guitar solo, and I did get out of the shock and came back into the vocals of the song … on time! It burned a hole right through my foot.
3. What do you like and dislike about touring?
I actually love touring. The adrenaline of it. Exploring new places, meeting new people, and new venues. The excitement! The challenges of getting delayed in travel are what I don’t like, but I always try and take a realistic approach to travel and just expect something might not go as planned so if it does go smoothly, we celebrate!
4. What is your favorite record store, anywhere in the world?
My dad’s 78 [rpm] record collection taught me to appreciate vintage records. I love going to foreign record stores wherever we are. London and Scotland have a lot of amazing vintage record stores. Grimey’s Nashville is pretty fantastic.
5. Other than your own music, what is your favorite song or album of all-time? Why?
Michael Jackson’s Thriller album has to rank number one for me, produced by Quincy Jones. Every track burns a memory into my psyche. I listened to everything growing up — Elton John, the Beatles, Queen, the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever, and I love the Best of Bee Gees from 1969. I wore that record out. Favorite song: Earth Wind & Fire’s “September.” It makes you feel great every time you hear it.
6. You wake up in a seedy Berlin hotel room with no recollection of the past 96 hours. Who is your first call?
Ha, ha! So many times I wake up and for a brief second I have no idea where we are. Seriously, we usually are all over China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Japan, London, Nashville, LA, and NYC six to seven months out of the year. I’ve lost count just how many hotels we’ve stayed for the last 10 years. So, I would GPS the whereabouts of my husband and call for COFFEE!
7. BONUS QUESTIONS (JUST FOR YOU): We live in Hong Kong so we understand your love of travel and adventure! Please tell us about your time in Thailand…. How long where you there? Why did you choose to perform there?
I love Hong Kong! I love going up Victoria Peak and shopping in Kowloon. I’ve been going back and forth to Thailand now almost eight years. We found this wonderful little island five hours south from Bangkok called Koh Chang, and it literally is our second home. We have a community of friends there from all over the world and look forward to seeing each other every single year.
I started singing at this wonderful blues club called OODIE’s Place. It’s like a musical blast of freedom where people go to listen to blues music and sing every single night. It’s just great.
(a) What’s the craziest/greatest/most memorable thing you saw in Thailand?
Thailand has beautiful mountains, Lanna country in the North, artist communities, Chiang Mai, we love.
Then, Bangkok is spicy, busy with bustling traffic with tuk-tuks, exotic with fabulous shopping and restaurants. A must see is the Grand Palace and learn about Thailand’s historical monarchy. Then you have the islands of Thailand, dreamy islands, palm trees, beautiful beaches, and ocean life.
(b) What’s the craziest/greatest/most memorable thing you heard in Thailand?
I have had the most musical freedom I’ve ever had in Thailand. I once performed 290 shows in six months–about three shows a day, seven days a week. I went from venue to venue to venue. All different musical styles. I believe that honed me to be fearless in singing. I love hearing the tropical birds and Buddhist monks chant in the temples at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. every night. Sometimes you can hear it from far away if the wind is just right.
(c) What’s the craziest/greatest/most memorable thing you did in Thailand?
We go there for the people. Just lovely and kind. They call it the Land of Smiles. I love the floating markets and riding through the khlongs (“canals”), [the] elephants, fabulous food, Thai spices, and massages. There is always something exciting going on.
- Album Cover Courtesy of Man In The Moon Records;
- Portraits Courtesy of Photographer Ben Zander