WHO GOT BEATS? Presents:
IceBurghSociety.com: Where are you from?
Tamera Russell: I grew up in Brampton, spent most of my life out there and then at 18 I moved out and came to live in Toronto. It’s been almost 5 years out here.
IceBurghSociety.com: What got you into production?
Tamera Russell: I’ve always loved music, but what really got me into production is a number of things: I love piano and I needed to save my average in my last year of high school. I taught myself to play piano at 13; my mom saw that I was always fidgeting my fingers and suggested I take lessons, but the lessons were super slow for me. So we stopped and I took it from there. Now comes grade 12 and I don’t have the best average, but my vocal teacher suggested I take this course called "Music & Computers", and that’s where it all started.
IceBurghSociety.com: Would you consider yourself a beatmaker or producer, and why?
Tamera Russell: I consider myself a producer because I don’t just loop around 4 bars for 3 minutes. I actually arrange songs. I don’t want there to be much similarity throughout a song. And also, it’s more than creating the beat – when I work with artists, sometimes I sit in on their recording sessions and give my input. I actually produce songs.
IceBurghSociety.com: What programs and equipment do you typically use when producing?
Tamera Russell: I use Logic Pro 9 for my production. All I have is my MacBook, so for years I’ve been using the built-in keyboard to produce, and still do to this day. Only recently have I started using midi controllers. I’m looking to purchase a Maschine right now as well, but my MacBook has yet to let me down.
IceBurghSociety.com: How long does it usually take you to make a beat?
Tamera Russell: It really depends. Some beats come easy because I’m in the heat of the moment. Some can take days. It really depends on the inspiration.
IceBurghSociety.com: What part of the production process do you find the most challenging?
Tamera Russell: Personally, I haven’t really had many challenges, except for if there’s a sample that is difficult to chop, or settling with one idea for a sample. Thinking about it, I’m too much of a perfectionist, so the challenge is being satisfied with the finished product. There are songs to this day I have ideas for that are too late to add or polish.
IceBurghSociety.com: What led to your style of production?
Tamera Russell: I started out playing piano in church, so the chord progressions I use tend to lean toward gospel but I love my jazz chords as well; the same applies to my bass lines. As far as drums go, I used to play drums as a kid but that was very brief. But I really like authentic drums, so I’ll use a few drum breaks, but I also love trap drums. So I try to fuse all of that together.
IceBurghSociety.com: How do you think you differ from other producers?
Tamera Russell: I think my ear makes me different. I catch things very quickly, and hear things slightly different as well compared to those in the city. And it also helps that I have a background in music, so there’s really no limits. Music theory is something I encourage all producers to learn. I’m still learning myself.
IceBurghSociety.com: Who influenced your style?
Tamera Russell: Too many to name, I feel like I’ll disappoint myself trying to list everybody. But the top names that come to mind are Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, D’Angelo, and production wise, J Dilla, Kanye West, 9th Wonder, the Neptunes but there are WAY more. I’m getting a headache trying to remember them all.
IceBurghSociety.com: What piece of software and hardware could you not live without?
Tamera Russell: I gotta have my MacBook. Everything I need to create is inside that MacBook. (Apple, let me get an endorsement deal.)
IceBurghSociety.com: Dead or alive, who would be your dream collaboration?
Tamera Russell: This is another question that I have too many names to mention. But if any of the names mentioned before were to ask me to work, I’d probably have a heart attack and delay the whole process. But one name that I’m sad I will never get to actually work with is Redway. We’ve talked about it, but never had the chance. R.I.P. Redway.
IceBurghSociety.com: What's the most successful or highest point in your career?
Tamera Russell: At this very moment I feel great. I had a short documentary published on CBC, I’ve collaborated with The Sorority, which is a rap group out of this city that’s doing BIG things, and I’m getting countless opportunities, this interview included, that I’m just very grateful for. I can’t wait for what’s to come.
IceBurghSociety.com: What projects are you currently working on and what can we expect from you in 2016?
Tamera Russell: I’m actually entering the recording stage of my album. I’ve finished producing and writing everything, just gotta lay down the vocals. I’m hoping to drop that late May, early June. I also have a collaboration EP with pHoenix Pagliacci that we’re hoping to release this fall – many more things to come as time goes by.
IceBurghSociety.com: Any Final Shout-Outs?
Tamera Russell: I won’t say names because I’ll get in trouble if I miss anybody, but I just want to thank everybody who’s been supporting me whether from day one, or if you’re just getting hip to everything. Every ear counts. I see every like & read every comment. I see every share and every follow, and for that I thank you all. I can’t thank you all enough.
To purchase beats and to stay updated with Tamera Russell pls go to: