Tia McGraff is an internationally renowned and award-winning Americana/Country singer-songwriter from Port Dover, ON, Canada. With Scottish and Transylvanian roots running through her songwriting and voice, Tia’s talent has been described as “haunting and soul-gripping.”
Tia has six albums released with the latest being Crazy Beautiful. Tia is currently in the UK on tour, please check out her tour dates and try and catch a show.
I caught up with Tia this week for a quick chat about her music, tour and other topics
Hi Tia how are you?
Hi, I’m great thanks, how are you?
Wonderful, thank you. Talk us through your week?
Well, we flew into Glasgow on Monday, had a great show with CMR radio. Then we visited with a friend before amazing shows in Bedford and Shrewsbury. We had an unexpected adventure involving planes, trains, metros, buses and cars!
For those who are unfamiliar, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your music and your influences?
I am from Port Dover in Canada. I am part Transylvaanian and part Scottish. My first musical inspiration was actually my Grandma Hofgraff. I wanted to sing like her. She would call me when I moved to Nashville, which continued to inspire me. I also met Johnny and June Cash at a TV show I was on and they had a big influence on me; even now, I ask, “What would Johnny and June do in this situation?”
You are visiting the UK for almost a month and I believe this is your 12th time here? What keeps bringing you back?
Yes, we’ve been touring over here for twelve years. It’s amazing. In that time, we have played some wonderful venues and made some very special friends and loyal fans. We love coming back to see and play for them and to meet new ones. People in the U.K. are so receptive to the music and to the lyrics. It’s wonderful. Also, I have connections to Scotland, so I always feel at home over here.
Other than shows, what else will you be doing on your trip?
We will be seeing some sights, exploring, catching up with friends, writing and having fun making memories. We are also excited to be taking a few days to visit Romania, where my Grandmother was from, to see where she came from and walk in her footsteps.
One of your dates, you will be playing at The Highclere Castle Country Show – this is the castle where they filmed Downton Abbey. Have you ever watched the show?
We love the show! We were so excited the first time we played there, it was incredible. We are still excited every time we go back,
Tell me a little bit about your involvement with the event as it seems you will be playing two sets on one day?
Yes, we’re playing a set at 12pm and another at 3pm. We played there last year and are delighted to have been invited back.
What is the country music scene like in Canada? There always seems to be a lot of festivals and such?
Yeah, there are tons of music festivals across Canada. Lots of great music and musicians. We’ve also been playing a lot of venues near where we live.
How do Canadian and UK crowds differ?
U.K. Crowds really listen. They take in the lyrics and relate to the lyrics. Often after shows they come and tell me about a particular song or even line, that has really resonated with them.
You have just released the single ‘Nineteen’ to radio – tell me about the song and the inspiration behind it
The song is really about looking back and wondering where the time has gone. How can it be this long since I was nineteen? A reflection on who we were and who we’ve become.
How easy or hard is it to select a single and do you have in mind songs you wish to release when putting an album together?
Lots of songs don’t make the final cut and the singles pick us. They’ve gotta fit the music atmosphere at the moment, to be right.
Your current album is ‘Crazy Beautiful ‘ – how would you describe the album and what was the writing process behind it? Was it easy to put together or did any songs not make the album that you wish had?
Several songs didn’t make the final album but we were very pleased with the end result and fans love it. Tommy and I wrote all of the songs. Crazy Beautiful was inspired by a TV programme we watched about an Olympic skier who died skiing and is a song about holding onto your dreams, no matter what. “Mesa Gold” and “The One I’ve Waited for”, are more personal. The first was for Tommy’s Mom and the latter is my mom’s favourite of my songs. “Wing Walker”and “Movin’ the Smoke Away” are about taking chances and living our lives. “Be Still”reminds us to stop and be and enjoy the moment and “The Fire” speaks of our shared responsibility. There seems to be a theme running through the CD that people really respond to, especially in the current craziness of the world. It offers people hope and inspiration and I love to hear the stories they share because of that.
I understand you are working or about to release an EP? Could you tell us a little bit about that and what to expect from it?
The new EP is called “Nothing to Lose.” It contains seven acoustic tracks, as you would hear them onstage (which is more than a standard EP.) We wanted some new music to offer people this tour. Some of the songs, such as “Masterpiece” have been loved since we debuted them on our last U.K. tour. “Rocks You Can’t Move” is an old favourite we have revisited and “Dartmoor” is a tribute to the beautiful ponies we got to hang out with on our last tour. What an amazing day.
How hard or easy it it to put an EP together when it is usually around four or five songs?
This is my first EP. We decided to record this very raw and acoustic so our fans can take home the version they heard performed. Narrowing the list down to even 7 was hard for me. So many have to be saved for later albums. But not having the full production, like we had for “Crazy Beautiful”, makes the EP much more organic.
Where can we see you play this tour and what can we expect from your shows?
To me, music is a gift of healing. I take the stage with one desire; to share that gift and the opportunity to make my audience feel connected and inspired. Like we’re all on this journey of life together. We all basically experience the same struggles and desires, regardless of where we come from.
We are playing mostly in the South of the country this time round and our dates can all be found at our website http://www.tiamcgraff.com and on my Facebook page, Tia McGraff. We would love to see you all on the road!
Thanks so much and hopefully see you at a show
Look forward to it !
Crazy Beautiful by Tia McGraff