Diva-folk singer-songwriter Tara Velarde blends beau coup flair with sincere warmth on her new Rise EP. Her fusion of vitality and emotional susceptibility conjures up parallels to Carole King, Regina Spektor, and Brandi Carlile.
Velarde describes the EP, “It’s not a concept album, but I call it Rise because there are a lot of reoccurring themes of personal growth. This is me accepting and embracing my own power.”
Growing up with five musical siblings, Velarde succumbed to the allure of dance and musical theater while a teenager, as well as songwriting, which provided her with a vehicle to channel her thoughts and emotions. After taking a B.A. in Music Education from Pacific University, she taught music to an eclectic range of students.
Multi-talented, Velarde excels as a poet, music teacher, choral soloist, and actress. So she did what anyone with all that talent would do, she packed them all together into composing, singing, and performing. Now she’s relating to much wider audiences on a more intimate level, exposing her inner self as a way of connecting to others.
Rise features six-tracks, beginning with “Something Bad,” a cool R&B-flavored tune on a seductive rhythm topped by sumptuous harmonics, including a wickedly braying organ, oozing radiant creamy colors. Velarde’s voice, dulcet and simultaneously filled with femme fatale savors, glows on smoldering surfaces.
“Touch You” opens on an elegant piano flowing into a measured R&B tune bristling with lurking passion. Infused with gospel-like flavors, Velarde’s voice pervades the lyrics with mounting desire. I love it when her tones take on a rasping throatiness, imbuing the lyrics with immediacy.
“For What It Was” rides a gentle folk melody topped by Velarde’s wistful timbres, suffusing the music with lingering nostalgia and hints of regret. “Willow Baby” allows Velarde to strut the warm energy of her voice, as a poignant flute and flowing strings slowly add layers to the melody, until it soars with luminous colors and velvety textures.
“Such An Island” features thick bluesy rock hues, potent, and discharging seething sensuality. Velarde howls with gusto and delicious eroticism on this track, as the organ and guitars burn with dark lustrous pigments.
“The Mountain” displays both of Velarde’s major talents, tenderness and a voice of dazzling range and projection. This is a beautifully moving song.
Rise is a wonderful EP, saturated with captivating rhythms, splendid harmonic colors and depth, along with the intoxicating voice of Tara Velarde.