Interview: Feel The Vibe... with Dawn Tallman
Dawn Tallman is an American R&B and Gospel singer and songwriter. She is known as "The Queen of Gospel Energy” and is the first choice for many producers for House, Dance, R&B and Gospel Music. Not only can she feature as the main vocalist on songs, but she can also provide harmonies, background vocals, and ad-libs and can arrange vocals too - quite simply a producers dream! Dawn also performs in clubs, concerts, festivals and events all over the world, in her own right and as a member of various ensemble groups.
Dawn has been nominated for three International Dance Music Awards. As a DJ that plays predominately Gospel & Inspirational House music I really feel that this should be celebrated and I really want to celebrate Dawn. It is a huge achievement for a Gospel artist - she is shining the light amongst the secular artists of Dance Music. I caught up with Dawn as she prepares for the Miami Winter Music Conference and the all important International Dance Music Awards.
Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. Firstly, lets talk about how successful you are as a professional recording artist and songwriter.
Your voice has blessed over 40 singles and EP's as the featured artist for various producers in House and Dance Music, plus on albums for Soulstar Syndicate, J Fortino and Beaten Soul. If that hasn't kept you busy enough over the years, you have also found time to write songs - over 50 with Glenn Thornton of Slaag Records, and you have just completed your full length album entitled "For Me". Dawn, how do you do it?
I am really dedicated to my craft of singing. I have always been driven to sing throughout my entire life. This is MY LIFE.
And it shows, one of your collaborations, the song Feel The Vibe which you did with Bob Sinclar (released May 2015), reached number 1 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart and became an international hit. Recently, it was announced that the song has earned you three nominations at the International Dance Music Awards. What were you doing when you first heard about the nominations and how did you feel?
It was a typical morning at home. I was just sending my kids off to school when I received a text message congratulating me on the nominations! I was surprised! and of course honoured to be recognised for my work.
You are "The Queen of Gospel Energy" and Bob Sinclar is the King of Ibiza. You're on completely different ends of the spectrum, or are you? Tell me, how did this collaboration come about, and what was it like to work with him? I remember seeing an Instagram post where you said he treated you like a Queen!
I don't feel we are different ends of the spectrum at all! We are both true to our work and love what we do. We both love vocals in House music. The collaboration came from Bob’s A&R guy Rodney Hill, who contacted me on the recommendation of Melonie Daniels-Walker who is a good friend of mine. Once Rodney looked me up, listened to my work and heard my voice, he let Bob know that I would be great for the project.
Once entering the studio for the session - on time - something that was a shock to them, we came together quickly in working harmony because he is a professional, and I am too. There wasn’t any diva attitude from either of us. And he does treat me like a queen! and I return the honour in all we've done. It is a great working relationship.
Voting for the IDMA closes on the 2nd March 2016 [you can vote for Dawn Tallman HERE] and the winners are announced on 21 March 2016 in Miami, as part of the Winter Music Conference (WMC). Will you be attending WMC this year?
Yes, I will....with a smile!!
I'm sure you will be smiling! You must be very proud. Now, Chante Moore, Gerald Albright, Maysa and Phil Perry are artists that you have also worked with, and you are currently working with Chris "Big Dog" Davis. How does working with artists outside of the House and Dance music scene differ working with producers such as Bob Sinclar, DJ Spen, Sandy Rivera etc...?
There is no difference for me. I put in the same work, effort and energy regardless of producer or sound.
You recently toured Russia as the featured artist in the Harlem Gospel Review. Is there any country which you would really like to perform in, or have your already played in your dream country?
Performing in South Africa would be the dream!! And I'm available! So contact Glenn Thornton at SLAAGRECORDS.com.
Do you get nervous before a live performance? If so how to you get past the nerves? Do you have any rituals to combat any nerves and help you stay calm?
Sometimes I get nervous... but I always center myself through prayer. I pray before each performance.
You grew up in Danbury, Connecticut and you began singing in church when you were a child. Can you tell us who influenced you and your singing whilst you were growing up, aside from any pop stars or famous people? Maybe a pastor or a member of the choir from your church?
My aunt, who recently past, was an opera singer and I really wanted to sing opera when I was younger. Also my father influenced me to sing.
That's something that I never knew about you Dawn, I thought you would be straight up R&B and Gospel. Can you tell me what are the struggles and triumphs of living your dream as a professional recording artists and songwriter?
There's the usual money struggles just like any other job, in terms of wanting to have a buffer, a cushion for the slower times. Juggling time and schedules with my family life and professional life can sometimes be a struggle.
The triumphs are times like this when someone like you interviews me and reminds me of my achievements. I also feel the triumph when I see people enjoying my voice and performances, and when someone tells me that my songs have inspired them and helped them through a tough time in life.
Speaking of inspiring, the singles "I Am Not Afraid" and "For Me” have recently been released as a preview to your new album also called "For Me" and both singles are receiving high praise from DJs and producers worldwide. Empowerment, destiny and happiness are the themes running through these two songs. What we can expect from the rest of the album? How did you put it all together and what was it like working with Josh Milan of Honeycomb music?
Encouragement, empowerment and most of all LOVE can be expected. Universal truths are the continual themes in my music. Working with Josh Milan is such a joy as we are truly musical brother and sister. We have a lot of the same ideas and feel for melody and harmony. So it was easy to put an album together working with Josh Milan as we are coming from a similar point of view.
One last question if I may please Dawn? If you were president for the day, what is the one thing that you would change, and why?
If I was president for the day I would ensure that each person would have a roof over their head. A foundation, a home… to have as a base for their entire life. When you don't have to worry about having a place to live, you are more empowered to take on life.
Many thanks to Dawn Tallman for her time and for Glenn Thornton for the arrangements
BOOK Dawn to sing at your party or event - contact Glenn