Tia McGraff – Pilot
Hailing from just south of Toronto, Ontario Canada, Tia McGraff is an internationally-renowned, award-winning Americana/singer-songwriter and author.
Accompanying Tia on her musical journey is her life/musical partner, Tommy Parham. The two met and married while both were living in Nashville, TN, and have enjoyed an extensive career performing, songwriting and recording together for more than 12 years. They bring such honesty and passion to their music that they have even been described as the modern-day, Johnny and June! A gifted author, Tia’s children’s book, Jake The Road Dawg has helped raise funds and awareness for her local chapter of The Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Seven international CD releases, various film/TV placements, and numerous nominations and awards (including Americana CD of the year first-round nomination for 2016 Grammy Awards) have earned Tia and Tommy respect in the music industry and a global fan base. The duo have a gift for ‘getting to the heart of the matter’ and writing relatable songs about life, love, and this crazy world we live in. Don’t miss Tia and Tommy’s UK Tour in September, at one of the featured venues listed.
Go into detail on why you decided to choose music as a career.
I won the Canadian Country Singing Contest Female Open Category when I was 19 years old. The prize included cash (used it to buy my first guitar) and free recording time at a studio in Niagara Falls, Ontario. I wrote my first song, Mister with my new guitar, and recorded it in the studio. We decided to release it to Canadian country radio and soon I was getting noticed. I even got a call from a CBC TV show in Toronto and was on the show with Johnny Cash and June Carter. I was hooked on the music industry and knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life.
Brief us the feedback you are getting from fans on your music.
My fans are an amazing and diverse family who literally follow us from all over the world. Tommy and I tour the USA/ Canada/ UK every year and have been doing so for 12 years. We have built up our fan base through social media as well, and they are all telling us that my new album, Stubborn In My Blood is encouraging and uplifting. The songs are empowering them and bringing the message of peace to them. That makes me feel so happy!
Discuss the relevance of social networking to music.
Social Networking is so important in today’s music scene. In fact, I have tried to keep up with it myself, but due to our touring schedule and writing appointments, I have found it necessary to hire a social media person to handle my gig posts, etc. She is amazing, and it helps me keep up with the things I need to take care of, while my fans feel they are in the loop of everything.
Tell us how you record your song.
The first thing I do when recording a song is making sure the song is complete. I write and rewrite until the song makes me so excited I can’t wait to get into the studio. Then we work on establishing the best key for my voice and guitar and arrangement. Tommy and I will lay the song down with a click track and guitar/vocal then let it breathe. We’ll work on a few production ideas before adding other instruments. We’ll decide if this is a track that needs to be recorded live off the floor with the band or can be built by adding instruments one by one. If the latter is the case, then we will begin to send the track over the internet to our musicians, starting with drums and bass. The lead vocal and harmonies are the last to go on the track.
Tell us the story behind the song.
Every song has to have a great beginning or story. Why are we writing this song? Who is telling the story and who is the audience? My song, Let ‘Em See Your Strong was co-written with our good friend, Devon O’Day in Nashville. Devon had started the song and we loved her story of letting this song be a message of strength and power to overcome toxic relationships etc.
State your musical skills.
I have been singing professionally for 30 years and studied private vocal lessons when I was young and sang in musical theatre. I received my Grade 6 in Conservatory piano and Grade 8 in classical voice. I have been playing guitar for 30 years.
Tell us how long it takes to complete a song from the start.
That depends on the song. You just have to let it be. Some take 40 minutes to write some take years…..
Go into detail on how you develop your lyrics and melody.
The song needs to start with an idea, whether that is melodic or lyrical. Tommy leans toward bringing in the melody and I bring in the lyric. One of us will present our idea to the other and we sit down and discuss the who, what, where, and why of it, the mood of the song, and then let it pour out.
Describe the chemistry between you and your fans during a live performance.
My fans are my family. They have become such a part of our lives that being on stage and performing for them is a back and forth of love and energy, a healing process.
List your musical work.
7 full-length CDs, videos on CMT Canada, various awards and nominations, and songs placed in film/TV. My children’s book, Jake The Road Dawg has a 3 song CD in it and was inspired by our shelter dog, Jake who goes on the road with us!
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.
Stubborn In My Blood
The title track is about my family/where they came from/ diversity/strength/dreams/etc. Sums up the message of the album.