Introducing… Tamar Kaprelian!

Hey Everyone!

I was searching on the web recently and checked out a new artist that I think you should look out for! Her name is Tamar Kaprelian! I also got to interview Tamar, she was SUPER sweet! Check out what she’s like below, we even have a super cool interview where she tells us about her secret celebrity crush!!

Make sure to check out “Sinner or Saint,” available now!

On her debut album, Tamar Kaprelian sings about being “a delicate soul.” “Old soul” is more like it—if you consider the classic pop stylings of 30 or 35 years ago; the remnants from another lifetime, as they literally are for this 22-year-old singer/songwriter. Growing up, Kaprelian gravitated toward the rock classics her musician father schooled her in.

“I’m definitely an old soul when it comes to music,” she says. I grew up only listening to all those records my dad would play in the house, from Queen to Paul McCartney to Sting. My dad used to play Billy Joel songs to put me to sleep. Asked what 21st century artists she listens to, she reels off Mika, Coldplay, Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys, and John Mayer—basically, all the contemporary artists who are as steeped in the great music of the ‘70s as she is.

As proud as Kaprelian is of the musical heritage passed down by her parents, she has at least as much pride in her ethnic heritage. “I’m 75% Armenian, and I have a little bit of Irish blood in me, too; my dad’s half. We speak the language at home, and it’s a part of my everyday life.” But her first language might have been music. She sang before she could talk, singing “Happy Birthday” to herself at the age of 1.

“I started writing songs when I was 14, but I didn’t play anything. So I started playing piano to be able to put down the melodies that I was already writing and singing into a little recorder.” She had no formal training and picked the instrument up by ear. Even when she began to be more accomplished, her musical aspirations were unknown to her classmates. “I definitely wouldn’t talk about my music at school. I didn’t go to any of the high school parties. I would do my homework and do all my AP classes, go to the studio, go to sleep. That was my entire life—along with classical ballet, which I was very into. I’m proud to say I wasn’t one of the cool kids.”

Kaprelian has a classic story of being discovered more or less at random. Actually, she’s got two or three of those stories. Her first discovery came at age 15, when a talent scout tapped her on the shoulder at her local mall after watching her sing with a school group for a fundraising event. One contact led to another until, right as she was about to go off to UC Berkeley at age 18, she was instead personally signed to a major label by one of the world’s most famous record company chiefs.

That particular fairy tale was not her destiny. That would-be debut album was scrapped and Kaprelian and her former label parted ways. Then, in odds akin to being hit by lightning twice, she got discovered more or less off the street again.

Mindful that some other singers had broken through with covers, Kaprelian’s producer suggested that she film herself doing a solo cover of OneRepublic’s “Apologize” to post on YouTube. “He said, ‘You’ve always liked Ryan’s style of writing, and it’s piano-based. What have you got to lose?’ Soon after, she learned OneRepublic was sponsoring a contest to see who could do the best cover of “Apologize,” so she uploaded it. Weeks later, she was getting twin messages from people at Interscope—one informing her that she’d won the contest, and another inviting her to come in for a meeting.

And here’s where she really rolled a seven: “Honestly, I feel so lucky, because Interscope let me make the record I wanted to make. My A&R guy was like, ‘Do what you want. I trust you.’” The rewards of that mutual faith are abundant.

Her core recording band included well-known players Abe Laboriel and Matt Chamberlin on drums, Chris Chaney on bass, and Lyle Workman on guitar. That the album would also have some orchestration was a given—I wanted the record to sound very rich and lush and full. And there are barely any synths on the record. I wanted everything live.”

The strings are usually used for seasoning, but they become altogether prominent on the song “March Mornings.” Kaprelian says: “No other instrumentation aside from the strings and a vocal. I really wanted people to hear my voice. When you have a song that has a much bigger arrangement, like ‘New Day’ or ‘Sinner or a Saint,’ you can’t tell if I can really sing or not. In ‘March Mornings,’ you can hear the quality of my voice, and that was the goal for that song—aside from trying to model it after one of my favorite Beatles songs.”

Lyrically, though, “March Mornings” couldn’t be any more different from the lonesome “Eleanor Rigby.” It’s a song of ebullient, newfound hope, and—not coincidentally—the first song she wrote after signing her deal with Interscope, “about how incredibly excited I was about the whole situation.”

“New Day” is also a profoundly positive song, but with a slightly darker lyrical edge; it was written after Kaprelian lost her previous label deal and before she signed the new one, when she was struggling to maintain faith in her musical path. That first single, which was prominently featured at the climax of an episode of MTV’s The Hills, was written “about how completely unhappy I was, and really about struggling, persevering, and being in a situation where you don’t know how you’re gonna dig yourself out of it. And at the end of it, life is like a road—you don’t stop in the middle of it. I really want people to listen to this record and get a sense of hope from it.”

Kaprelian veers darker in “Should Have Known Better,” which is “definitely about someone who did me wrong and led me in the wrong direction. Had I not gone through that experience, I wouldn’t have written the record that I wrote.” “Raw” is a pure lost-love song sent out “for every angry female who’s ever been wronged by a man.”

But that rage is the exception, and not the rule, on an album that has more tender than raging moments. “Purified,” for instance, is “my ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ moment. I remember listening to Carole King’s Tapestry over and over and over again. I wrote it about my producer, Xandy Barry, who stood by my side and said ‘I believe in you. We’re gonna do this together. And I will spend as much time with you as I need to, to help you get to this next step.’” The bulk of the album’s tracks were produced by Xandy Barry and longtime associate Wally Gagel. On “Sinner and a Saint,” she collaborated with Tedder. Bandmate Brent Kutzle produced “Three Simple Words,” a non-album, iTunes-exclusive single.

The ten songs on Kaprelian’s debut album are full of dashed hopes, fierce renewal, and proud vulnerability. The singer expects to bond with a younger audience, but has already been surprised at how her music clicks with listeners of a certain age, too—which maybe should be no surprise at all, given its lyrical depth and roots in rock classicism. By the end of the album, listeners both young and old are certain to feel the emotional connection. Or, as she said, “Spend a couple hours and we’re all best friends.” How was it that a piano woman from another generation once put it? Oh yeah: You’ve got a BFF.

Check out the interview here:

Written by Juliet Schroder

Juliet is the founder and executive producer/host of Celeb Secrets and Celeb Secrets Country. When not reporting on the latest news in pop culture and country music, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and exploring the latest fashion trends.

Juliet holds a B.S. in marketing from St. John's University.