Interview with Tima Montemayor by Jessica Gilbert
Jessica: Tima, it’s wonderful to have you here, and thank you so much for doing an interview for TSM.
Tima: Thank you, Jessica. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Jessica: Firstly, tell us a little bit about the musical training you’ve had and background. What inspired you to get into singing and music?
Tima: Well, I was always around music growing up… my Dad being a musician and all. I think I started my first piano lesson when I was around 5. Can’t really say I was disciplined or interested in learning to play because my heart was really set on singing. Thinking back right now, I should have practiced more. But… things changed when I started studying Chinese Opera. I really loved it… I got to sing, perform, and wear exotic costumes and theatrical makeup. It was really different from all the other musical classes. I guess everything just evolved from there.
Jessica: Currently, you have three albums out – Until Now, which has gained much attention generating national radio exposure, rave critical reviews and named one of the Top Independent releases in 2005 by Popular Songwriter magazine. Your song “Raining” spent several months as one of the most requested songs on one of the top radio stations in U.S. Then a song off your second album In This Trance, “Forgive Me” was the most requested song on a popular radio show for several weeks. You also have a Christmas album Midnight Clear. Tell us more about your hit songs “Raining” and “Forgive Me.” Where do you get the inspiration for all your songs? Finally, what was the first song you ever wrote?
Tima: You know, it’s always so exciting to hear that one of your songs is doing well or that it has been playing on the radio and people are responding to it. For me, I just love to write and sing so just being able to do that is already a great reward. As far as the song “Raining” doing well is extra special for me, because it’s the first song I ever wrote. It’s kind of a funny story, I had been doing some backing vocals in a studio for other artists, and one day I asked the producer, Rick McComas, if he would help me with my own recordings. He asked to hear one of my songs. Well, I didn’t have one and basically, no song, no recording. So it was at that point I started thinking about songwriting for the very first time. Long story short, I went back into the studio a couple of months later and presented a rough version of “Raining”. It was a happy day for me because we started working together immediately. Rick added so much to the song, from the classical feel to the rhythm, which really made it unique. We’ve been writing songs together ever since.
“Forgive Me” on the other hand almost didn’t make it on the CD. It is one of my most personal songs, and at one point, I had some reservations about releasing it. It was like I was baring it all or something, and it made me feel a bit vulnerable. But funny enough, it became the first single from “In This Trance” and we even made a music video for it.
Jessica: What’s your process for writing lyrics?
Tima: The inspiration comes from different places but almost all the time, my songs are very visual to me. What I mean is… I see the story of the song kind of like a scene in a movie (if that makes sense), and then I translate what I see into lyrics.
Jessica: Your latest album release is In This Trance. How did you come up with the album’s title?
Tima: Well, I wrote the song “In This Trance” while on a promotional tour for my first CD “Until Now”. It was kind of surreal to be honest with you… the song came to me as we were driving through an Indian Reservation on the first day of the tour. And then, that same night, while I was supposed to be performing songs from “Until Now”… at one point, I don’t know… I just felt like singing the new song that I had just written. It was unrehearsed, not quite ready to be heard to be honest with you, but still, I wanted to do it and I did. It just felt right, you know? Anyhow, while on the road, we actually began writing more songs. From the beginning, I always knew I’d name my next CD “In This Trance”.
Jessica: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?
Tima: End poverty and world hunger and this is why…
Jessica: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?
Tima: Ahhh… that would be the very wise quote from Audrey Hepburn. “Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm… As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
Jessica: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about you and to purchase your music?
Tima: Here are some websites where you can find me:
Jessica: Thanks again for doing an interview for TSM and wish you all the best with your music in the future.
Tima: Thank you so much, Jessica, for bringing artists of all types into the spotlight. Your magazine is awesome!
(This is a reprint from an interview with Talent Spotlight Magazine)