It would be very easy to be sniffy about Tazmin. Looking towards her pure pop pedestal, first impressions might suggest that there’s little more here than an X factor wannabee. One could quite easily dismiss her achievements to date as a typical career path of those who are building up to a future of reality TV shows followed by pantomime in Peterborough.
But to allow any sort of musical snobbimess to guide your judgment here will be missing the point. So, she’s been a child-star in China, turned out for Disney and won talent competitions that only really exist to make money for their organisers. From the outside looking in, her route through all of this might not be as tragic as some and her back-story less compelling.
Let’s not beat around the bush. Tazmin has talent and a work-ethic that’ll put many to shame. Take this tune of hers, Nine More Lives, a song about forgiveness and getting a second chance. Unlike many of your indie stars with a team of songwriters behind them, Tazmin wrote and semi self-produced this 80’s-influenced banger all on her own. And to do so, she openly notes that she drew influence from the songwriting guile of Nile Rodgers, studying the structures that he employs with such dynamic effect. She might not spell her name as TZMN but Tazmin has a broader range of skills to draw upon.
Even if the pop-funk singalong focus of Nine More Lives doesn’t entirely float your boat you have to admit that the video, shot last year in Wadi Rum & Petra, Jordan, is a thing to lift you from the drudgery of your own miserable Winter experience. It’s cool to see sunshine and sights when your own horizons are limited.
Tazmin doesn’t need to be using one of those nine lives to draw me in. But drop your own misconceptions,, give tunes (and artists) such as this a second chance and you might get a welcome surprise.
As this week builds towards the corporate schmalz of Valentines Day, Sonic Breakfast has unearthed a delightful record about love for your listening pleasure.
Find Me Find You: A Story by Todd and Jingyu is quite an album. We’re suckers for stories here at Sonic Breakfast and this one beautifully documents the relationship of our leading characters. The first half of the record takes us from the pain of previous friendships that weren’t quite right through to the initial connection and meeting between Todd and Jingyu. The second half shows how, despite some cultural differences (Todd is American and Jingyu Chinese), the love that develops continues to grow.
One suspects that this is still a couple who hold hands when they walk in the park. You get the sense that Todd and Jingyu wake every morning with that secure knowledge of being able to share the wonders and curiosities of the world together.
Musically, the story of Find Me:Find You also touches on many of Sonic Breakfast’s pinch points. There are counterpoints a-plenty within the sweet, observational duets that make up much of the record. You can easily imagine that you’re listening to the soundtrack from a stage musical here; a simpler Sondheim shall we say?
Do listen to the record from start to finish if this has piqued your interest – it’s freely available on line and well worthy of digging into. For now, Sonic Breakfast wants to share two songs with you .
‘Find You’ is set before Todd and Jingyu meet. Both are establishing their online dating profiles, boiling their wants and desires down into a simplified cliched language that might appeal to their dream partner. And wrestling with themselves over the apparent stupidity of it all.
‘Boy And Girl’ is the album’s central stone. It’s the thoughts of Todd and Jingyu when they first meet; the initial rush of excitement when they realise there’s a connection; the nervous energy that’s expended when you babble on about the first thing that comes to mind in those moments when any silence might be considered awkward rather than perfectly natural.
These are happy romantic tunes, awash with the sweetest of uncorrupted innocence. It almost feels like Spring is in the air.