California Pretty Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing award-winning Americana singer-songwriter and children’s book author, Tia McGraff. 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 an 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 a 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. Her latest album, “Stubborn in My Blood” features the Top 20 Canadian Country iTunes single, “One Tin Soldier.”
1Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?
I’ve been blessed to have an exciting and lengthy musical career. Over the years, I’ve worked with amazing stars like Randy Bachman (BTO), Johnny Cash, Andrew Gold. However, the most amazing story is how I met my life and musical partner, Tommy Parham. I had met his music publisher the year before, in Nashville. When I moved to Music City a year later, he invited me to the studio to meet some of his writers. Tommy was the first writer I met there. We were introduced, started writing together, then broke our rule of “never date your co-writer.” We’ve been married for 13 years!
2What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am so excited about the current release of my album, Stubborn In My Blood. After a successful UK tour in Sept., and chart action in North America, I am looking forward to sharing the journey of this beautiful album into 2019. At the same time, I’m excited about my children’s book, Jake The Road Dawg. Jake and I are embarking on some Christmas pet expos and upcoming events. Then I am planning on bunkering down this winter and writing Jake’s next adventure.
3Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
My fans! Hands down! I’ve met some amazing artists and music producers and engineers, but my fans and the stories they share with me after our shows continue to blow me away. There is never a concert event, or book signing, that I don’t come away feeling inspired by the stories shared and the light surrounding them. Tommy and I have had fans come up to us after festivals and tell us things like, “we were in marriage counseling, convinced our marriage was over. The counselor asked us to pick 1 favorite song that would be ours to focus on during our healing. We chose your song, Lavender Tea and listened to it every day. Here we are today still together and happier than ever! Thank you for your beautiful gift of music.”
4Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
My ancestors. They are the brave ones who had the courage and vision to leave their homelands (Scotland and Transylvania) and travel across the Atlantic to make a better life for their loved ones…..I hold on and carry the torch of music and my dream high because of them.
5How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I hope so. I try to write lyrics that will inspire and bring hope and joy to people. I’ve also been championing and contributing to the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Foundation through moneys raised from my concerts and Jake The Road Dawg book sales. Reading and music go hand in hand…stories. Every child has one of their own to tell and ought to be able to write it down and read it to others.
6You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂 I am truly frightened and saddened by the latest wave of hatred and bigotry. The violence and anger that is spewing into our society at an alarming rate. My grandparents fled Eastern Europe because of it. This is not something that we are so far removed from that we can ignore or pretend can’t take over our world again. I pray and hope that my music will somehow reach the hearts of others who not only feel the way I do, but those who don’t. That perhaps my music and messages will shine a light into the darkest corners of the darkest and most desperate hearts of this world. Diversity is not something to be afraid of. Diversity is something to be celebrated as a beautiful gift God has given us all. We are all unique in our own way yet still all God’s beautiful children. All Of Us!
7Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Take time off. I’m so bad for that. Have taken pride in overextending and over touring and over thinking. But I got so burned out last year that I was waking up with anxiety attacks in the middle of the night. This year has been one for reclaiming my joy in making music and not giving a hoot what others think. One day at a time.
8I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
He or she just might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂 Dolly Parton. I would love to have the amazing blessing of just asking her how she handles business/music/writing/performing/ all with such ease and class and keeps such a positive attitude. I would love for her to read my children’s book, Jake The Road Dawg and sing her one of my songs. Just to have her opinion.