Call her a diva and call her a folkie. Tara Velarde embodies that elusive combination of swagger
and sensitivity. She writes songs with a sharp sense of poetics and vulnerability, and then steps
up to the mic to her deliver words and vocal melodies with powerhouse pipes. Tara’s world is
Diva Folk, and she owns it on her recent album, Rise, out in May of 2019.
Tara’s latest is an artistic watershed, and represents a powerful personal paradigm shift. “It’s not
a concept album, but I call it ‘Rise’ because there are a lot of reoccurring themes of personal
growth,” the Portland, Oregon-based artist says. “This is me accepting and embracing my own
Tara’s special blend, diva-folk, is an expansive music, spanning soul, blues-rock, a dash of
theatrics, and a healthy helping of swagger. Her melding of verve and vulnerability has garnered
Tara favorable comparisons to Brandi Carlile, Adele, and Carole King—great female
powerhouses with a lot to say. Live, Tara has toured nationally and internationally, both as an
intimate solo performer and fronting a band of world-class musicians
Tara’s Rise stands tall among her previous releases in that it’s a studio album in the grandest
sense. Rather than duplicate her live show, the album is carefully layered with guitar textures,
sprinkles of flute, tasteful percussion touches, and lush harmonic vocal passages.
On “Touch You” Tara explores forbidden love with slow-burn R&B. The sparse elegance of the tracks
leaves room for Tara’s to explore almost the gospel-hues of her vocals. The previously released
single “Willow Baby” highlights the album’s rich production aesthetic, showcasing Tara’s
artistry in an imaginatively produced setting. Her inner folkie comes through on the delicately
reflective “The Mountain” and “For What What It Was” which showcase her heartfelt and
insightful lyrics in delicately essentialized settings. The playful “Such An Island” sees Tara strut
her diva self with some brawny blues-rock.