tamera russell

WHO GOT BEATS? Presents:

Tamera Russell


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 RussellThis 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 RussellI’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.

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