Tia McGraff – Artist Interview
Written by Matt Zin on September 25, 2020
Welcome to the studio, Tia! THANK YOU. IT’S GREAT TO BE ON YOUR SHOW!
Tell us a little about yourself and your partner in crime, Tommy.
I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO CANADA ON THE NORTH SHORE OF LAKE ERIE. SMALL TOWN GIRL. I GOT MY FIRST BREAK IN MUSIC WHEN I WON THE CANADIAN OPEN COUNTRY SINGING CONTEST AND LANDED A SPOT ON A CBC TV SHOW WITH JONNY CASH AND JUNE CARTER. I RELEASED A COUPLE OF ALBUMS TO RADIO AND CMT THEN DECIDED TO MOVE TO NASHVILLE. TOMMY PARHAM HAD JUST MOVED THERE FROM L.A. WITH A PUBLISHING DEAL IN HAND. WE WERE INTRODUCED TO WRITE BY HIS MUSIC PUBLISHER. AFTER WRITING FOR A COUPLE OF MONTHS, WE BROKE OUR RULE OF , “NEVER DATE YOUR CO-WRITER, ” AND THE REST IS HISTORY!
How did you get started in music? Did it start as a child? Let’s talk in your musical influences right now as well, who were they?
‘MY GRANDMOTHER WAS FROM TRANSYLVANIA AND SHE HAD THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SINGING VOICE. I USED TO LOVE TO HEAR HER SING AND DREAMED OF BEING ABLE TO FOLLOW IN HER FOOTSTEPS. WHEN I MOVED TO NASHVILLE, SHE WOULD CALL ME ON THE PHONE.
ONE TIME I WAS SO HOMESICK I TOLD HER I WAS THINKING OF COMING HOME. SHE TOLD ME TO STAY IN NASHVILLE AND PURSUE MY MUSIC. THAT I WAS “LIVING THE DREAM FOR BOTH OF US.” THOSE FEW WORDS HAVE CARRIED ME OVER MANY MILES!
I visited your website and I enjoyed reading what your fans had to say about your music, I would love to hear from you what “you” think about your music.
I AM JUST A BLESSED PERSON. THE FACT THAT I CAN WAKE UP EVERY DAY AND SHARE THE GIFT OF MUSIC WITH MY HUSBAND, TOMMY AND ALL OF OUR FRIENDS AND FANS AROUND THE WORLD, JUST BOGGLES MY MIND. SURE THERE ARE DAYS WE GET FRUSTRATED WITH THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND THE CONSTANT STRUGGLE OF MAKING ENDS MEET THROUGH MUSIC, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, OUR BILLS ARE PAID, AND WE KNOW WE ARE SHINING SOME LIGHT INTO THIS WORLD WITH OUR MESSAGES OF HOPE AND CHANGE.
Let’s talk about your new album “Stubborn In My Blood.” Great title! I want to know about how you came up with the tile of this album. How many songs are on this album?
THERE ARE 11 SONGS ON THIS ALBUM. STUBBORN IN MY BLOOD IS THE TITLE TRACK AND WRITTEN TO CELEBRATE OUR DIVERSITY. WE CALL CAME FROM SOMEWHERE. MY ANCESTORS CAME TO CANADA FROM SCOTLAND AND TRANSYLVANIA. THESE WERE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN WHO OVERCAME A LOT OF HARDSHIP AND OBSTACLES SO THEIR DREAM COULD LIVE THROUGH THEIR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN. ME. I HOLD THE TORCH OF HOPES AND DREAMS HIGH IN THEIR HONOR.
If you were to pick a favorite song from this album, what would it be?
I LOVE PILOT OF CHANGE. I LOVE THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF THE SONG, HOW IT WAS INSPIRED BY THE BEAUTIFUL ORIGINAL PAINTING BY FIRST NATIONS ARTIST SHELLEY NIRO, AND THE MESSAGE INSPIRES HOPE AND CHANGE WHILE LISTENING TO THE STILLNESS OF NATURE AND ONE’S OWN HEART! TOMMY’S EDGY YET HAUNTING MELODY CARRIES THE IMAGERY AND THE PRODUCTION IS JUST COOL!
One Tin Soldier, great song, who wrote that song and how did it all come about?
ONE TIN SOLDIER WAS WRITTEN BY CANADIAN SONGWRITERS, DENNIS LAMBERT AND BRIAN POTTER. I LEARNED THE SONG WHEN I WAS CHILD, IN CHOIR, AND IT JUST STUCK WITH ME. ONE OF THOSE SONGS I WOULD PLAY ON THE PIANO AND SING JUST BECAUSE I LOVED IT. TOMMY OVERHEARD ME SINGING IT ONE DAY, RECOGNIZED IT FROM THE MOVIE, ODE TO BILLY JACK AND SAID HE THOUGHT WE SHOULD DO OUR OWN VERSION OF IT.
What is your most favorite song on the album and what is your most favorite song to play live? PILOT OF CHANGE HAS GOT TO BE MY FAVORITE ON THE ALBUM BUT LET ‘EM SEE YOUR STRONG IS THE MOST POWERFUL AND INSPIRING SONG TO PERFORM LIVE. IN FACT, WE NOW END OUR CONCERTS WITH IT.
How long did it take to put this album together? 3 YEARS.
I see you have other albums out there, can you tell our listeners about them?
JEWEL’S CAFE AND SMALL TOWN LIFE WERE BOTH RECORDED IN CANADA BEFORE I MET TOMMY. BEAUTIFUL ALBUMS AND SOME AMAZING WRITING AND GROWTH HERE. THEY LED ME TO NASHVILLE. THEY ALSO INCLUDED A LOT OF FAMILY INPUT AND LOVE SHARED FROM MY PARENTS. A LOT OF “CUTTING OUR TEETH ON THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.”
TOMMY AND I RECORDED OUTSIDE OF THE CIRCLE AND DAY IN MY SHOES AT OUR HOME STUDIO WHILE LIVING IN NASHVILLE AND THESE WERE OUR “GETTING OUT THERE IN THE INDIE WORLD” ALBUMS. THE ONES THAT HELPED US FIND OUR FAN BASE AND GET US ON THE ROAD.
DIVERSITY AND BREAK THESE CHAINS WERE OUR “MOVED TO CANADA AND MAKING MUSIC WE WANT TO MAKE,” ALBUMS. OUT OF NASHVILLE. OUT OF THE DEMANDS OF WRITING FOR MUSIC ROW AND JUST WRITING WHAT’S IN OUR HEARTS FOR OUR FANS.
CRAZY BEAUTIFUL SIMPLY THAT. JUST A BEAUTIFUL ALBUM FILLED WITH ENCHANTING LYRICS AND MELODIES AND THE HOPE OF DREAMS THAT KEEP US REACHING INSIDE OURSELVES.
STUBBORN IN MY BLOOD…..NOT GIVING UP. I WAS BORN TO BE WHO I AM.
How would you describe your music to a hard rocker?
TOMMY AND I BOTH LOVE HARD ROCK. I AM A HUGE RUSH FAN AND TOMMY HAD HIS OWN HEAVY METAL BAND IN COLORADO BACK IN THE DAY. LOL. WE LIKE TO THINK WE HAVE AN EDGE TO OUR MELODIES AND A MESSAGE IN OUR LYRICS THAT TRANSCENDS GENRES. A GOOD SONG IS A GOOD SONG.
Jake the Road Dawg is a book you wrote, it’s adorable by what I can tell, please share with our listeners what this book is about and where they can find it.
THANK YOU! WE RESCUED JAKE, OUR HUSKY/AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD FROM THE ANIMAL SHELTER IN NASHVILLE. HE HAD OBVIOUSLY BEEN ABUSED AND IT TOOK A LOT OF LOVE TO GET HIM TO COME OUT OF HIS SHELL. WE STARTED TAKING HIM ON THE ROAD WITH US, AND IT WAS LIKE HE JUST LIT UP!
HE WOULD GO ON STAGE WITH US, AMAZING WITH CHILDREN AND JUST LOVED BEING AROUND MUSIC. THIS INSPIRED ME TO WRITE MY FIRST CHILDREN’S BOOK, JAKE THE ROAD DAWG. THE MESSAGE IS “FINDING THE SONG IN YOUR HEART.” I HAVE BEEN VERY BLESSED TO SELF-PUBLISH AND HAVE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO TAKE JAKE AND THE BOOK INTO SCHOOLS, LIBRARIES, ETC. AND SHARE THE MESSAGE OF HOPE AND DREAMS WITH CHILDREN. I HAVE ALSO BEEN HELPING TO RAISE FUNDS FOR OUR LOCAL CHAPTER OF THE DOLLY PARTON’S IMAGINATION LIBRARY FOUNDATION HERE IN NORFOLK COUNTY, ON CANADA. THE BOOK CAN BE PURCHASED DIRECTLY THROUGH ME AT WWW.TIAMCGRAFF.COM
What other projects do you two have coming up that you can tell us about?
I AM CURRENTLY THINKING ABOUT AND PLANNING ON WRITING MY NEXT BOOK THIS WINTER. A SEQUEL TO JAKE THE ROAD DAWG.
We are coming to the close of our interview, could you tell our listeners where they can buy your music? Also any tours coming up?
THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THE BEAUTIFUL OPPORTUNITY OF SHARING MY STORY WITH OUR LISTENERS. PLEASE FIND ALL MY UPCOMING SHOWS AND TOUR SCHEDULES, SOCIALS LINKS AND HOW TO BUY MY MUSIC AND BOOK AT WWW.TIAMCGRAFF.COM
It’s been a pleasure!
HAVE A GREAT DAY!
T Dawn and BTD Radio