Photo by Shayan Asgharnia for Okayplayer.
First Look Friday: Be Empowered By The Talented Tiffany Gouché
Hailing from the city of Inglewood in the land of angels and dreamers, California, comes a talented force in the form of Tiffany Gouché. After falling in love with her Fantasy effort from 2014, Tiffany has continued to kill it in a way that has impressed the hell out of music snobs from both sides of the coast. For those just getting familiar with the ageless wonder, the growingly popular singer-songwriter stems from a musical family.
"I come from a long line of musicians," Gouché said in a previous interview with TheHeartOfLA.com. With an uncle who plucked the bass for both Chaka Khan and Prince, and personally in a group called "Woodworks" with her cousins, Tiffany has proven her musicality in writing songs for Usher Raymond and the Pussycat Dolls. Armed with classic vocal intonation and strong songwriting, Tiffany followed up her Fantasy with one of the perfect titles from an artist in all of 2015.
Pillow Talk, Tiffany's most recent EP, which was powered by the standout cut, "Red Rum Melody," enabled the Inglewood innovator to kill it with the slow jams. Shaped by her family history, both good and bad, Tiffany Gouché is a powerful new voice that is worth staying in tune to. After developing her sound and character through self-reflection and actualization, Tiffany Gouché, a proud queer woman, exemplifies strength, creativity and skills — which makes her one of our dopest First Look Friday interviewees.
With that said, we're excited to introduce you to Inglewood's inspiration, Tiffany Gouché is this week's selection to end the week on. We have the exclusive distinction to premiere an unreleased cut from Tiffany Gouché in the form of "Breakthrough," click through to page 2 to listen as you read our convo and get to know this essential new artist....
OKP: To music snobs the world over, you are making an impact all over Los Angeles. What is it that the City of Angels is seeing and hearing that the world has yet to discover?
Tiffany Gouché: A new sound, a new story, a new way of using melodies and chords. Infused with my story and my pain, I think the world is ready to hear that. My most cherished influences would be Missy Elliott and Stevie Wonder. I say Missy because she's a female producer and she just killed the game. She always went back in on a craft and came back with something new that we were all excited about. Stevie Wonder, man, we already know the deal. He's just a musical genius, and I don't think that anybody's ever used the 12 notes how he has in his career. I don't think anyone ever will.
OKP: For those who have a passion for music, they hone their skills and practice their craft. Who are your most cherished influences in music and why?
TG: Doing music for me while growing up in Inglewood was beautiful. I started playing the piano when I was about seven. I got into production when I was about 11-years-old. When I got into high school, my mom passed up the first week. A lot of that musical development came from dealing with my pain and trying to create a space in my production where I could flee from my pain. A lot of my sound comes from my pain, and yet I appreciate it now. I'm still developing that. I'm still opening that wound and allowing God to heal me within all of that I have experienced. I come from a family of musicians, so it was always beautiful to do music with them. I still do to this day.
OKP: A song like “Red Rum Melody,” which is fueled by some deep-seeded passion has placed you on the radar of music snobs who have a heavy presence in the industry. Can you talk about how life was for you while developing as an artist in Inglewood? How did you react to your first bits of press?
TG: My first bit of press was a bit exciting. When I first dropped my first album, which was Lionheart, I dropped that on Tumblr. I think one of Kanye West's blogspots reposted it, and my cousin showed me and I was like, "Oh my God. I'm doing music. Oh shit!" It was unreal to me that people would actually check for my music because I started doing music just for myself. I never really wanted people to hear it, but I didn't really care about everybody knowing it was out there and it being a big thing. It was just more of an expression to me. So, yeah, that was cool.
OKP: Can you also talk about the importance of the music industry scene in Inglewood and Los Angeles and how you see it evolving in the next five years?
TG: I think the importance of the music scene in Inglewood and Los Angeles is that the area is there for everyone to support each other and support good music. Support the real music, y'know?! In the next five years, in the right hands, music can actually be in a better place and I definitely want to contribute to that.
Read about Tiffany Gouché's best experiences as a professional artist on Pg. 4...
OKP: Songs like “Last Breath” and “The Deepest” are funky, sultry and very melodious, so how do they fit into your overall artistic narrative? What has been the best experience so far as a professional recording artist?
TG: I think those two records fit my artistic narrative because they are simple, yet tasteful records, and I like to do a bit of both when it comes to style. People can relate to what I'm singing about. Not everybody is a musician, so you want to make the record feel good and you want people to be able to repeat it. You want that repetition. That's what good music is, it's simplistic genius, basically.
One of my best experiences in music as a recording artist would have to be working with Jill Scott on her last album called Woman with my family. Everybody in my family sings and I had the chance to sing with all my cousins and my sisters and my aunt. That was a really beautiful experience. Jill Scott is an amazing woman and that is an amazing album. If you all don't have it, go get it. That was one of my favorite experiences of the last year.
OKP: What are some elements that you’ve learned about yourself that comes out in the music?
TG: Some of the elements that I've learned about myself in making music is I'm very inclusive when it comes to creating. I like to sit in my bubble with my headphones on and make sure I get everything that I need out, because it's a very spiritual thing. I don't just make music to make it. I get it from God. I have to sit still and allow whatever's in me to process and then put it on a canvas and then critique it later. I've learned that I'm very sensual. I like to make feel good music. I like for people to listen to it and just get lost in it and get lost in the chords and the melodies and I learned that I'll never compromise that. I'll never change the way I create.
OKP: When did you lose your songwriting virginity? Can you talk about the first song you wrote and what it was about?
TG: The first song I ever wrote, I was like six-years-old and it was super funny and super cute like [singing], "Boy don't leave me because I something-something." I don't even remember what it was all about, but it was sung to a beat that my dad made. It was funny. It was so cute. I don't even know how I knew about relationships at that time or anything of the sort. I just knew, at a young age, that I was mature. That was my first song.
OKP: How can your music speak truth to power in an age where people are so quickly digesting sounds and disposing of artists in a nanosecond?
TG: I would say that my music can speak truth because people still want the truth whether or not it's over-saturated. Whether or not bullshit is being spread by the millions. I think the real still stands, and I think as long as I stay true to myself and connected to the source that my light will be seen. I think that my music will speak truth as long as I vow to wanting to put out the real and wanting to change the crap that we're in.
OKP: Collaboration is uniquely a key to the success of certain creative individuals who wish to change the game. Who would you want to work with in the new year and why?
TG: Who do I want to collaborate with and why in 2016? I want to collaborate with R. Kelly because I think he is one of the most prolific songwriters in the world, period. He's tasteful and he understands music, and I think that we could make something really dope. Kendrick Lamar would be another artist that I would want to work with in 2016. I feel like we would make great music and it would be such an honor to work with such a great and innovative artist that's a great spirit as well. He's a great light. He's serving his purpose well. He's doing his thing. Those are two people that I definitely would want to work with in the next year.
Read how Tiffany Gouché plans on changing the music industry on Pg. 5...
OKP: What is the message that Tiffany Gouché is trying to present in her music?
TG: The message I'm trying to present in my music is to always be true to yourself and to love on yourself and love on others, and don't judge. You don't have to live like someone else. You can be different. You can dress different. You can talk different. You can do whatever you want to do. It is your life and I just want to present myself to you all because I live that type of life. And I want that feeling to resonate with others. In short, be yourself, man.
OKP: How do you see yourself changing the music industry for the better versus all the bad stuff that goes on within it?
TG: How do I see myself changing the music industry? I would say that it would be to continue to work on my craft, perfect my craft, put good music out there and always do my best at putting my best foot forward. Eventually, people will catch the wave. I've been doing music for a minute. I'm still going, I'm not tired at all and I'm ready to put out the best music possible. That's how I want, that's how I plan on changing the music industry, by being myself and allowing God to use me.
OKP: Can you share any interesting stories that might’ve happened during the creation of “Travel Behavior” from the Pillow Talk EP with us and the Okayplayer audience?
TG: "Travel Behavior," [laughs]. As of recently I did a couple shows out of town where girls act a little bit differently than when you're from that side of town. They feel like they don't have to answer to anybody. There's no responsibility. They can be as free as they want to be and they don't have any limits. I wanted to make a song about the freedom of being away from your home and not having anybody watching you, you know what I mean? Not anybody judging you, you get to be yourself. I wanted to create a vibe around that feeling alone, you know what I mean? I pray more people will just do that in general, regardless of them being out of town. "Travel Behavior," it's just a fun record. It is a let-it-go type song.
OKP: If the reader’s learned one thing from this First Look Friday chat with Tiffany Gouché — what would it be and in what octave would it sound like?
TG: If you learned anything from me, man, just be yourself. Stay true to yourself, perfect your craft, perfect whatever it is you do. I think it would be in the key of D, basically. Just pursue your dreams, man, and be yourself.