Taimane’s two-week tour of California will be making a Santa Barbara stop on October 22, when the singer-songwriter and flamenco ukulele virtuoso performs with her band at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club. In the midst of composing material for a new full-length album expected for release sometime in 2020, Taimane will live debut two of the album’s completed numbers during her current tour. In an interview with the News-Press, she expressed excitement at the prospect of performing new material onstage for the first time, as well as a little bit of nervousness.
“It’s exciting. It’s a little scary, obviously, because you’ve never done it before and you don’t know if you’re going to go blank,” she said.
A great admirer of Santa Barbara’s surf culture, the 30-year-old artist told the News-Press that she is greatly looking forward to coming back to this town and has prepared a number of surf tunes for her SOhO performance. These include classics of the genre like The Chantays’ “Pipeline” and The Surfaris’ “Wipeout,” as well as an original song called “Pipeline’s Daughter,” an homage to the former and one of her two new songs. The other new number is her arrangement of a song called “Directions” by Medicine for the People, featuring lyrics in Hawaiian.
Taimane first picked up her instrument at the age of five, receiving her first ukulele as a gift from her father and starting lessons shortly thereafter. The instrument is omnipresent where she grew up, the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
“Living in Hawaii, the ukulele is all over the place. It’s like the guitar,” she said.
When asked about her musical influences, Taimane said she most takes after the dreamy sounds of Lana Del Rey, the psychedelic guitar of Led Zeppelin, and the Spanish sound of Santana. As a songwriter, Taimane aims to personify the things that inspire her through her lyrics. For example, when she became inspired by the planets in the solar system, she wrote and recorded one song dedicated to each planet. Personifying the celestial bodies through her music entailed reading up on the Greek mythology associated with them and composing lyrics that either told stories or conveyed moods in line with those myths. Despite writing her own original material, Taimane’s favorite song to perform live is actually her cover of “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak, who she once opened for when the crooner performed in Hawaii.
Herself an introvert, playing live is somewhat opposite of Taimane’s nature, whereas working in recording studios is right in line with it.
“Performing is very extroverted, and recording is introverted. It’s about focusing on yourself,” she said.
However, she doesn’t prefer one over the other and instead sees both as necessary parts of who she is.
“I need both to be a balanced person,” she said. Tickets for Taimane’s SOhO performance can be purchased online at the venue’s website www.sohosb.com. Doors to the venue open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8:00 p.m. SOhO Restaurant & Music Club is located at 1221 State St.