Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Q-and-A: 17-year-old music prodigy Tiger Darrow teases to her two – yes, two – new albums
The Booker T. Washington student is a busy girl, composing, performing locally, and playing her many instruments.
DALLAS There are overachievers in school – you know, those kids who ace every test and are part of every extracurricular activity available. Then there are kids like Tiger Darrow, who look like they go above and beyond but are talented enough to back it up.
The 17-year-old Darrow was raised in Austin for 13 years and then moved to Dallas three years ago. She attends Dallas’ famous arts magnet Booker T. Washington high school – home to alums like Erykah Badu and Norah Jones. An actress and multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter, Darrow is no stranger to the arts. At the age of 3, she began lessons on the violin and later progressed to cello, guitar, piano, and ukulele.
Over the summer, she interned with director Robert Rodriquez at Troublemaker Studios, where three of her own compositions were featured in Machete. She is currently helping Rodriquez with the score for Spy Kids 4.
Darrow’s website gives limited insight to her background and thoughts on her music, but PegNews was able to delve further into the life and music of the future superstar who will be opening for Edie Brickell’s band Heavy Make-up on Friday night at the Kessler in Oak Cliff.
Pegasus News: Explain the origin of your name.
Tiger Darrow: When I was 3 years, old I wanted to be a veterinarian – this was back when I got National Geographic subscriptions – and I saw a picture of a tiger. … That was so much cooler than the name “Jacqueline,” and I didn’t know who Tiger Woods was at this point, so it wasn’t like me copying him. I decided that I would be called Tiger from then on, and apparently people went along with it.
How did you come to play the cello among your many other instruments?
When I was around 2 or 3 I took violin lessons, but I really, really loved the cello. I was playing the violin and I decided that I really wanted to play the cello a lot more. I really liked the sound. I didn’t get to play it until sixth grade when I was given the option to. I instantly signed up for the cello and I have loved it ever since. I didn’t even think to do contemporary music or pop songs on it until my freshman year in high school, when I started a duet with the guy I was dating at the time. I taught myself how to sing and play cello and I started to put it in all my music. I just really love the sound. I think it is a nice soothing sound.
How has your upbringing in Austin and Dallas affected you and your music?
Austin is one of those environments where just anything goes. You can experiment with anything. My mom sort of was one of those parents that would let me do whatever I wanted creatively. If I wanted to experiment with this instrument, then she would try to make it possible so that I could. Austin is one of those places where nothing is ever wrong. You can just experiment with things. I think that really helped me get sort of an open mind about everything, not to mention the fact that Austin is the live music capital of the world. I was surrounded by art and music all the time, and that is just how I was raised.
… When we moved to Dallas, I was so scared that I was going to lose that because I didn’t know anything about the arts community in Dallas. It made me so nervous, but I ended up at Booker T. Washington, the arts magnet, and it is amazing. I walk down the hallways thinking that I could not be at a school like this.
There are people doing their monologues in the hall and then you walk a little further down and there are mimes! Just being surrounded by that everyday in school and having teachers that say exactly what my mom said by telling us that anything goes, do whatever you want. Being encouraged like that since I moved to Dallas and also having great music venues to play in, it has totally helped me grow so much.
Tiger Darrow — “The Writer”
Explain your music in your own words.
My music is very bipolar. My live concerts are very singer/songwriter acoustic kinds of things, but the recordings are so different. I write about personal experiences, so everything is very real. I try to make it so that people can relate to them because I like knowing that somebody can listen to a song and understand what I am trying to say and maybe have it affect them in some positive way.
Stylistically, my music is all over the place. I use instruments and chord progressions to try and help convey what the story is that I am trying to get across. I wrote a song that has a very uncomfortable story to it and I used all these weird clashy, diminished chords. It is electronica and so bizarre. But then I have sweeter, gentler love songs that have ukulele and guitar and cello. It is all over the place, but it is because I like experimenting with different sounds. I like seeing what I can get from every instrument that I play.
Can you tell us about your forthcoming album?
Well, I have two coming out. One that I am doing with Cary Pierce (a Dallas producer) and one that is my solo stuff that I am producing myself. I am really, really, really trying to get them out by December, but I am not sure that is going to happen. It will be either December or January for sure. The one I am doing myself is all that crazy diverse music. It is eletronica on one track, then really stripped down ukulele and vocals on the next.
With Cary Pierce, it is co-written with him and has a little bit more of a pop feel with a whole band backing me. It is almost more of what I like to call a tame sound. Those tracks will be songs that I have co-written, with the exception of two tracks that I have written myself.
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