In an age of gimmicks and over processed sounds, the nostalgic idea of authentic vocals and magnetic stage presence seems un-imaginable. But there’s power in experiencing Grammy-nominated artist Tamar Davis: reminiscent of funk, soul, rock and R &...
In an age of gimmicks and over processed sounds, the nostalgic idea of authentic vocals and magnetic stage presence seems un-imaginable. But there’s power in experiencing Grammy-nominated artist Tamar Davis: reminiscent of funk, soul, rock and R & B. She evinces passion meeting entertainment through her authentic, high-energy performances that makes her “Prince’s favorite singer” ~ Washington Post.
Unlike the vast majority of post-Whitney/ Mariah Carey soul singers, Tamar Davis is a true entertainer with a fully developed stage presence. She’s sassy and sexy but also able to laugh at herself, a trait solely missing from a genre filled with dour, overly serious women ~ Pioneer Press
The songbird discovered her gift at age three. By nine, the Houston native was a lead vocalist in a group of six singing, dancing, rapping preteens called Girls Tyme. After losing on Star Search, the budding stars continued on separate paths. Tamar opted to pursue a solo career. (Three of her former Girl friends--Beyonce’ Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Latavia Robertson—would eventually form powerhouse Destiny’s Child.)
A few years later, Tamar’s demo caught the attention of music royalty: Prince. Tamar was invited to his Paisley Park studio and offered a production contract. Though she didn’t get to meet his royal badness and a deal wasn’t sealed, a seed was planted.
Tamar cultivated her talent at Houston’s Fame equivalent—The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts—and was among 20 honorees selected from a field of 8000 international applicants for the Presidential Scholar for the Arts award. Intent on furthering her career and her education, Tamar headed to Los Angeles to study music at the University of Southern California. She graduated not only with classical training and a Bachelor of Music degree, but also with the ability to sing in French, Italian, German, and Swahili.
Tamar returned to the Star Search stage in 2004 for the “Battle of Champions.” Despite praise from judges like Naomi Judd—“ You have an amazing voice”--and show host Arsenio Hall—“It’s so unique. It has a Stephanie Mills/Whitney Houston vibe...”— she didn’t prevail in the competition. She also auditioned for the fourth season of American Idol; but didn’t make it in front of the three charismatic judges. A producer’s critique: Tamar was too polished. That polish served her well as she landed a gig as the lead vocalist of a grown-up girl group: a jazz/funk band called Angara, recording with master pianist Joe Sample, and singing with “sticky fingers” jazz legend Lee Ritenor and Tamia.
In early 2005, at the behest and invitation of famed choreographer Fatima Robinson, Tamar attended an awards show after-party hosted by Prince. Seizing the opportunity, she reintroduced herself and a million dollar question followed: “Can you sing for me?” Prince asked. The answer was clear: Tamar blew him away and the seed began to grow.
Tamar became a vocalist in Prince’s band, performing at his renowned house parties, and even joining him on stage for a solo at the NAACP Image Awards. While contributing background vocals on Prince’s 3121 album, she also began recording her own. By the end of the year, the student and teacher were both signed to Universal Republic Records. Now, Prince was ready to introduce his “favorite singer” to the world.
In 2006, the dynamic duo set off on a cross-country, 11-city tour. At the electrifying, sold-out shows reminiscent of old soul revues, the leading lady’s performances were the talk of the town. Commanding the stage, Tamar won over legions of Prince fans across the world and gave music critics something to talk about.
In Philadelphia, Paul Altobelli wrote that Tamar “had the body and moves of Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin's voice” and the City Paper lauded her “powerful voice and saucy showmanship.” The Washington Post reported that Tamar “impressed with choreographed calisthenics and luscious vocals.” Chicago’s Unrated Magazine said with “her soulful voice, sultry demeanor and magnetic stage presence…Tamar has all the makings to be a star.” The Houston Chronicle marveled at her “magnificent and powerful voice.”
A veritable knockout with voluminous hair, desirable curves and feisty moves, Tamar was by Prince’s side on "Saturday Night Live," "Good Morning America," and both the 2006 BET and Brit Awards. And yes, that’s Tamar working it in his Fury video.
With the introduction made, new fans yearned for more. Yet, the world wouldn’t get to know Tamar as quickly as planned; Universal decided not to release her album due to a departed relationship with her mentor and the record company. But you can’t keep good music down. One of the many songs Tamar and Prince wrote and recorded together, the forcefully inspirational Beautiful, Loved and blessed was recently nominated for a GRAMMY.
“Words can never describe the times of being in the studio or being on stage or headlining a Prince tour. He's a genius. He's a businessman. He's innovative and he's skilled. I can humbly say I've had the honor to be blessed with learning how to be an overall entertainer. Stepping out on my own was hard in the beginning because I started using the training wheels as a clutch. But when you are called to an industry that speaks to the heart of man, you have to continue to search for the high call. You can't always hear when you're leaning on man's faith or desires. Prince told me I can be a pioneer in this business now fly and be that and more. The setbacks, trials, and tears have made me understand that your current circumstance does not depict where you're going. Its through your faith and perseverance in God that takes you to where you need to be.”
Remarkably, she is now one of the first unsigned R&B artists to have been nominated for music’s highest honor and was just named Houston’s Rising Star 2007 (Ensemble Theatre). Honoring her rising star, Tamar Davis continued to climb both onstage, cast as the nuanced lead in Tyler Perry’s hit stage play “The Marriage Counselor” (New York Times) and in the studio. Finding favor with the television/movie mogul, Tamar then showcased a tear jerking “To Dream the Impossible Dream” for the grand opening of Tyler Perry Studios. The question of the evening became “who was that singer?”
The answer can be found on her second studio, yet first released self-titled album “My Name is Tamar…” It displays her distinctive sound, a result of a steady diet of artists as varied as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Yolanda Adams, Barbara Streisand, Janet Jackson, Prince, Chaka Khan and AC/DC. It is a genuine collection of anticipated songs resonating the importance of lyric to melody and passion to performance. It blazes her bold, golden pipes with incisive tone and timbre through lyrical magic. With infectious party songs and soul ripping ballads, Tamar redefines an era where Rock and R & B were still kissing cousins. It’s a gathering of fresh sounds from a veteran artist dedicated to the communication of music and audience. Being true to the relationship of artist and song, Tamar delivers honesty and compassion both on record and live.
She began composing “My Name is Tamar…” two years ago after meeting two Atlanta musicians, the Jets, while on the road with “The Marriage Counselor.” Composed of thirteen inexpungible songs, “My Name is Tamar…” compels you to appreciate where Tamar began her journey to where she is now: an artist whose trials have maintained her to establish a career that spans through time. Tamar’s’ self-composed album opener “Just Do It” grooves on Prince-inspired funk with its unforgettable baseline. With its fashionable hint of distinction “Just Do It” emphasizes 80’s musical changes and prods you that “her name is Tamar and she loves to sing.” It’s about the finality of procrastination, Tamar says, and moving forward. Another of the albums persuasive songs is her single “Heartbeat.” A melodic flux of desire, Tamar describes Heartbeat as her analytical approach to writing a song. Co-written with a high-school friend, “Heartbeat” is an innuendo of the physicality’s of one’s heartbeat yearning for an ear to hear her as she sings “Baby, listen to my heartbeat.”
We live in a time where some of us are in a hurry. We don’t sit in a car with our families and talk with each other anymore because we are either on the phone talking or texting and we don’t realize that the real cry is quality time with each other. Heartbeat asks that you listen to my desires. Whether it’s time of understanding or time to spend with one another.
Charismatic and idea-inspired, “Red Carpet” puts its listener in the innermost desires of Tamar as a little girl and to some, it makes you agree that we all want to walk the red carpet. “As a little girl I always wanted to walk the red carpet,” Tamar claims. “I had one for my sweet 16-birthday party and I felt like a million bucks. But I wasn’t the only one. Everyone who came to my party wanted to do the same. It’s something about the red carpet. It means you can look your best and not feel guilty about how much money you spent on your wardrobe or your hair or your nails. And the best part about red carpet events is there’s no curfew.”
Equally personal is ballad “Love Speaks.” Pushed along by a resolute and interminate piano, Tamar rides the melody with the simplicity of vocal and piano, climaxing to a boisterous dialogue of the language of love. It is poetic in nature as only Tamar describes. “As the only girl in my family, I've learned there’s not just one way to communicate the power of love. A relationship between a mother and daughter is different between that of a sister and brother and so on. Regardless of how far or near I am from my loved ones, we still know that at the end of the day we love each other. Flowers given to one person may not mean the same as a good ole laugh to another.”
In August 2009, Tamar Davis was invited to sing in Antalya, Turkey. As the only American representation, Tamar performed both her single “Heartbeat” and “Love Speaks” ending with a dynamic rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly” with the Berlin orchestra. Receiving, once again, a standing ovation, Tamar continues to expand her audiences, being the most talked about performer that one must experience. Through this anticipation, Tamar perseveres as a force to be reckoned with.
Congress Theatre by Anthony Kuzminski The last time Prince graced Chicago with his presence, he was in the midst of reengaging his long time fans by performing close to 100,000 people over a five nights, proving that he still had the...
Former Prince Protege Tamar Reactivating Career by By Gail Mitchell Singer/songwriter Tamar survived a wild ride on the music industry roller coaster last year. Reintroduced to early mentor Prince in 2005 following her graduation from the University of Southern...
Congress Theatre by Anthony Kuzminski The last time Prince graced Chicago with his presence, he was in the midst of reengaging his long time fans by performing close to 100,000 people over a five nights, proving that he still had the magic to rock with the best of them. In fact, I’ll go on record that his 2004 “Musicology” trek found Prince at his prime live power with the finest backing group of musicians he ever assembled. A little over a week ago, on a very cold Chicago night, lines wrapped around five city blocks as people waited to see Prince’s return in a theater around 1am. Instead of being front and center in the spotlight, Prince’s job was musical director and guitarist. The spotlight shined brightly on Prince's latest protégé, Tamar (pronounced "Tay-mar"). In the past, Prince has usually picked his protégé’s who were heavy on sex appeal and deficient in musical talent. Does anyone really think that if not for Prince that Carmen Electra would still have men slipping dollar bills into her g-string? Because of Prince’s past choices I forked over my $31.21 in the hopes of seeing Prince astound me with his axe work. However, to my astonishment, I walked away with more.
Regardless of Prince’s past choices, his newest protégé will sweep you off your feet with her soulful voice, sultry demeanor and magnetic stage presence. Right from the start Tamar performed like an industry veteran. Price was to Tamar’s right as he let his fingers flow freely across the frets for close to two hours. One song into the show it was evident that Tamar has all the makings to be a star. She lit up the stage as she prowled across it with confidence, backed by the two twin backing singers (in school girl outfits) who moved in carefully choreographed seizure-like moves. Besides running through material from Tamar’s new album (due later this spring) other highlights of the main set included a killer rendition of "When A Man Loves A Woman" where Tamar soared as her voice reached new heights on this R&B classic before Prince stepped out at the end for a killer guitar solo. Tamar nailed every note vocally while the crowd cheered her on. I’ve seen A-grade acts try and bring up and coming acts on tour with them only to see crowds treat them like a virus. Tonight was not one of these nights as they embraced Tamar and did not seem disappointed that Prince was there in a support role. However, when Prince did appear in the spotlight, his guitar playing was trancelike. His playing takes me to another world as he's arguably the most talented man to throw a six string around his neck since the great and late Jimi Hendrix. As a musician, Prince is unmatched by anyone on this Earth and the grace and ease with which he performs leaves me in complete and total awe.
Former Prince Protege Tamar Reactivating Career by By Gail Mitchell Singer/songwriter Tamar survived a wild ride on the music industry roller coaster last year. Reintroduced to early mentor Prince in 2005 following her graduation from the University of Southern California, the music major signed on as a vocalist in his band.
After Prince secured a one-album deal with Universal Republic in late 2005, Tamar began working double time contributing backing vocals on Prince's 2006 album "3121" and recording her own Universal Republic debut, which was never released.
The ride didn't end there, however. As 2006 wound down, Tamar learned her duet with Prince, "Beautiful, Love and Blessed," had earned a Grammy nod for best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals. The song, which Tamar co-wrote with Prince, lost its bid to "Family Affair" featuring John Legend and Joss Stone with Van Hunt.
It's an interesting thing to be nominated and yet be an unsigned artist looking for a home," Tamar tells Billboard. As to why the album wasn't released or whether Prince's mercurial nature might have played a role in the situation, Tamar declined to comment. "I don't have anything negative to say and I don't feel defeated," she declares. "I'm pushing forward.
Of late, the artist has been flying back and forth between New York and former home base Los Angeles to record another album. Collaborating producers include Kwame and Somethin' for the People members Ro (aka Rochad Holiday) and Sauce (Curtis Wilson).
Tamar owns the songs from her aborted Universal Republic set. Some of these are being pitched for TV projects and may also appear on her new album. This time around she's gunning for a more R&B-driven approach. "The last album was all live and I didn't get the DJ Scratch feel on some of the songs I wanted to," Tamar explains. "This album is more R&B/hip-hop/funky with a Tina Turner vibe. But it's still very melodic.
Whether Prince will appear on the album remains a question mark. "He will probably be on here somewhere. It's a good mystery that I'm keeping," Tamar says.
Although the former backup singer and Prince still talk, Tamar says they saw each other for the first time in six months at the Grammys. While the connection is still there, Tamar knows it's her time now. "It does hurt that I don't get to perform as much with him," she says. "But if I stay under his wing, I can't fly. And I'm ready to fly.
Prince Supporting Role Doesn't Disappoint by Michael D. Clark (Houston Chronicle) It was only last month that the owners of Houston’s newest downtown nightspot, Warehouse Live, finished building the place. Little did they now that one of their first bookings, Friday’s sold-out concert featuring Prince and his young protégé Ta’mar would be trying to raids the roof right back off the joint.
Prince fans were cautioned that he would simply be playing a sideman role. He and Ta’mar are introducing the classic soul and R&B song Beautiful, Loved & Blessed (due March 21) to select cities. Houston was among the lucky ones, most likely because it’s Ta’mar’s hometown.
True to his promise, there was no late jam and no huge outpouring of past hits or even selection from his upcoming 3121 (also due March 21). This was, however, a chance to see Prince at his most relaxed.
Ta’mar’s band consisted of a beat-savvy percussion duo and a keyboard player. She has an authoritative voice hat commands attention, such as Aretha Franklin’s or Annie Lennor’s. And she can wrap her notes in emotion and make the glide like a torch singer. Her first song (I’m guessing at son titles non but the title track have been revealed), Heart of Gold, featured her bantering like Neneh Cherry before breaking it down with a feminine, yet tough rap reminiscent of Lauryn Hill.
We’re Going to Have a Party was a nice piece of Motown nostalgia – uprooted by Prince’s B.B. King-style blues improvisation. Having the opportunity to hear him play, without the borders of his catalog, was ecstasy and the reason this show should stand apart for Prince fans.
After Prince and Ta’mar sang their duet single of Beautiful, Loved & Blessed, they brought the audience members on stage to dance to a cover of Play That Funky Music White Boy.
Then Prince came back. First, with a rockin’ rendition of the obscure Partyman from the Batman soundtrack, and finally with a brief, heartfelt version of Purple Rain. By not completely keeping his promise, he sent the crowd home on air.
Philadelphia Citypaper.net: Ta'mar Davis by Unknown The Power 99 announcement that for one night only Prince was going to play The Electric Factory vaulted fans into a ticket grabbing frenzy. Then Tickermaster flipped the script — it wasn't a solo appearance by his purple highness, instead the bill read, "Ta'mar with special guest Prince." At $50 a head. Ta'mar took the stage shaking it in a sexy gold dress, flanked by twin dancers/backup "singers," a three-piece band and Prince on guitar. The vibe was part old soul revue, part rockin' jam session. The crowd stood stunned, as Prince shouted proudly, "Ta'mar! Ta'mar!" — repeatedly demanding crowd participation. Equipped with a powerful voice and saucy showmanship (she’s been well mentored), Ta'mar covered a half dozen classics, but it was the blues-driven and straight up funk jamming with Prince that roused the audience from the dead. Bits and pieces of Batman's "Partyman" failed to satiate an older, loyal crowd of diehard Princelings. Floetry's Marsha Ambrosious joining the fray didn’t help; it was just another song that Prince wasn't going to sing. The show stands as another great Prince marketing coup and a slightly awkward introduction to Ta'mar.
Pioneer Press: Prince Protegee Wows Sold Out Orpheum Theatre by Ross Raihala Saturday night's guerilla gig at the Orpheum Theatre lived up to its billing, all right. It was an evening of Tamar, with "special guest Prince.
Minnesota's famed son only took the lead once during the 90-minute concert, which was announced a mere four days prior. He tore through "Partyman" from the "Batman" soundtrack, but spent the rest of the night concentrating on his still awe-inspiring guitar work and keeping the spotlight focused squarely on his latest protégé.
It was a gutsy move, especially as Prince hasn't always relied strictly on musical talent in choosing his would-be stars. (Don't forget he's the guy responsible for Carmen Electra.) In this case, though, he picked a winner — a terrifically entertaining and utterly loveable frontwoman who can already hold her own with one of the most talented performers of the 20th century.
It barely took five minutes for Tamar to crack the sold-out crowd. She's got a magnificent and powerful voice, but unlike the vast majority of post-Whitney/Mariah soul singers, she's also a true entertainer with a fully developed stage presence. She's sassy and sexy, but also able to laugh at herself, a trait sorely missing from a genre filled with dour, overly serious women.
Prince clearly modeled Tamar and her pair of backup dancers/vocalists (twins who look like living Bratz dolls) after the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. As such, Tamar wrapped her golden pipes around both funky, infectious party songs and soul-ripping ballads — reminiscent of an era where rock and R&B were still kissing cousins.
The set list incorporated original numbers that'll likely appear on Tamar's debut album, due in May, and ingeniously chosen covers that Tamar handily made her own. Most surprising was a feral run through of Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough." Less successful was the twins' take (sans Tamar) on sister Janet's "What Have You Done for Me Lately.
Curiously, Tamar and Prince didn't tackle their joint single, "Beautiful, Loved and Blessed," a new track the pair recently debuted on "Saturday Night Live." Not that the show suffered from the omission, though. Prince's fatherly look of pride and omnipresent sly grin said it all — now we all know just how special Tamar is, too
Washington Post: Ta'mar, An Act with Amazing Backup by Sarah Godfrey Most everyone knew going in that Prince's appearance at Nation on Monday night was a showcase for his latest protégé, Ta'mar, and that the Artist himself, on guitar and background vocals, would eschew center stage. But, not unlike dating someone just to get next to an attractive roommate, attendance seemed based on the hope that the hotter commodity might be coaxed into a quick romp.
Although Prince was the draw, Ta'mar -- she of the "Black Sweat" B-side "Beautiful Loved & Blessed" -- impressed with choreographed calisthenics and luscious vocals. She powered through countless covers, among them "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)," during which her voice and Prince's licks merged into one mesmerizing, pulsating mush. Most beguiling of the original material, presumably from Ta'mar's future debut, was a playful little soul fizz that seemed to be titled "Milk and Honey.
A superb wingman, Prince mostly stuck stage right, surrounded by the newest New Power Generation band, grinning and pointing to his "favorite singer." He offered nothing from his upcoming album "3121," but did hijack a small portion of the 90-minute show. He shredded through the psych-funky guitar solo on "Anotherloverholenyohead" from "Parade," and got so caught up in "Batman" soundtrack burner "Partyman" that he had to stop and compose himself, saying, "Y'all gonna make me shake my do loose.
The set commenced, as all Prince-affiliated concerts should, with a dance party -- this one driven by a medley built around the roller-disco soul of Barry White's "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me." Prince sang the original lyrics while a singing-dancing duo known as "The Twins" (think Wendy & Lisa sans instruments) alternated with lyrics from "Hollaback Girl.
Despite the expectation of a solo encore, when Prince left the stage, repeating the sign-off "It ain't over," unfortunately, at least for the night, it was.
Pioneer Press: Ta'mar with Special Guest Prince by Paul Altobelli March 1, 2006, Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA – Who else but Prince could announce a show with less than a week's notice, sell it out instantly and have fans lining up in the cold after midnight on a Wednesday? And here's the kicker: Prince wasn't even the headliner.
Part of a renegade theater tour intended to introduce audiences to his latest (in a long line of) protege, Tamar, Prince opted out of the main spotlight Wednesday night (actually, Tuesday morning) at a packed The Electric Factory when he and his band took the stage just after midnight. Instead, he handled lead guitar duties, allowing the glamorous Tamar, and a duo of identical twin backup singers, to front an old-school R&B-styled revue that kept people dancing until well almost 2 a.m.
Even before the show started the audience was dancing. Standing stage right behind two turntables was the hottest DJ I've ever seen who spun an incredible variety of old school funk classics and of some Prince tunes including the full length "Black Sweat." Check out DJ Rashida's website for more information.
The first half of the show was basically Tamar's soon-to-be-released album titled "Beautiful Loved & Blessed" and due for release on May 2, 2006. I'd say Tamar (www.tamaronline.com) had the body and moves of Tina Turner and Arthea Franklin's voice. Prince did his best to stay in the shadows and let the spotlight shine on Tamar. At one point--after playing a riff from the extended "Kiss" 12"--Prince even said, "No, no, no, its not my show." Tamar really won me and the crowd over. Despite her novice status, Tamar commanded the stage.
The second half of the show was a guitar funk party. Prince and Tamar treated the crowd to "Play that Funky Music," Aretha's "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)," and a searing "Rock Steady" (what it is, what it is, what it is), a Jackson-family special of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "What Have You Done For Me Lately?", Sly's "I Want to Take You Higher." The only time Prince took the microphone on his own was with a full-out funky vocal on "Party Man," through which you could practically hear him laughing. With a stage filled with dancing audience members, Prince stopped his "Party" just long enough to tell a grabby older woman, "Excuse me grandma, I'm working."
New York Times: Couples Therapy, for Better or Worse by Charles Isherwood Sermons and smackdowns vie for supremacy in the universe of Tyler Perry, the creative impresario who presides over an expanding kingdom of black entertainment. Movie audiences who soak up the church-scorning bile of Madea, the bad-tempered, big-boned matron who could flay you with her tongue from the other side of a football field, also bask in the lessons in Christian forgiveness and redemption that Mr. Perry deploys as sentimental buttresses to her towering irreverence.
Mr. Perry has become a singular figure in the world of American show business. In addition to producing, writing, directing and starring in movies — he plays three roles in his latest, “Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail” — he also produces two television series from his base in Atlanta. But the juggernaut of his career began in the theater, and Mr. Perry continues to write, direct and produce plays.
On his latest, “Tyler Perry’s The Marriage Counselor,” which plays a split run of two weeks at the Beacon Theater, he also receives credit as songwriter and shares credit for the set dressing. (The cheesiness of the last suggests that he may be overextended at last.)
The new play, Mr. Perry’s 10th, is about evenly divided between men and women exchanging lowdown verbal artillery and lectures about staying on the true path by heeding the healing word of God. Mr. Perry’s plays are less standard stage works than odd admixtures of gospel-pop concert, comedy show and church service. If the various elements are hardly integrated smoothly, each moment appears to satisfy on its own terms.
Tamar Davis gives the most nuanced performance — in the only remotely nuanced role — as the title character, Judith, whose marriage to the hard-working accountant Roger (Anthony Grant, known as Tony) has hit a bumpy and boring patch. At the home they all share, Roger’s father, Floyd (Palmer E. Williams Jr. of the series “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne”), keeps himself in trim by spraying insults at Judith’s mother, T. T. (Alltrinna Grayson) while hatching an “economic stimulus plan” to improve the family finances by growing weed in the backyard. Mr. Williams’s jazzy, showboating comic style is a real delight, even when his zingers are feeble. (One of the lesser: “I liked you in ‘Star Wars,’ Chewbacca.”)