We had the good fortune of connecting with Tamsin Mac Carthy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tamsin, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born in Johannesburg and grew up between there and Cape Town, South Africa. Anyone from South Africa will tell you that the longing for home when and if you leave is visceral. The pull back to the richness that is your homeland is so strong. I come from a country with 11 official languages, that abolished Apartheid and was led by one of history’s greatest, Mandela. Our history and diversity is our inspiration, strength and our challenge. I feel very proud to be the tiniest thread in that incredible human tapestry. I am a third generation storyteller and my grandfather’s pioneering voice speaks to me whenever I feel less than and the doubts seep in. I feel a tremendous responsibility to my family and to my birth country and strive to make them proud.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a singer, songwriter and producer. A one woman show, creating music and film that I hope serves to transport and allow catharsis at times. I have worked in a wide array of sounds/genres throughout my career as an artist, but I am best known for my most recent track work in the world of synthwave/synthpop. My love of storytelling in music and film keeps me going and it’s this that I hope reaches into the listener/viewer.
I am originally from Cape Town, South Africa where I was able to build an award winning and nominated film and music career. I moved to Los Angeles in 2014, where I have continued to create and grow my following as an electronic artist, evolving from the lounge and electro scenes into the synthwave/synthpop soundscapes. Currently, I write and produce all my vocals in my home studio in Downtown LA and collaborate globally on track creation with co-producers as far flung as China, which is one the greatest aspects of track creation today. My latest single “Neon Gods”, which recently debuted at #10 on New Retro Wave’s top 25 playlist on Spotify, is a collaboration with ALEX (UK) and Gerald van Wyk (China).
I don’t know anyone who would say that life as an artist is ever easy and it takes a special kind of tenacity. Especially if the buck stops with you as a producer of your own success or failure. This is what I choose for myself at this point, as both an independent producer of music and film. As a third generation filmmaker, that side of my tenacious nature is in the bloodstream. I have learned many a hard lesson as a female music artist, most especially in the male-dominated dance music scene. The misogyny, god complexes and willful ignorance in terms of noble business practices have been rife, both with individuals and labels in the past. That toxicity is definitely behind me though and I refuse to work with anyone who doesn’t understand transparency, honor and accountability and I maintain control of any work I create.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As we emerge out of Covid reality, my mind is spinning with the possibilities of what might be on this itinerary.
Eat: Nabeeya Sushi, Perch, Manuela, Kura, Watergrill, Village Idiot, Neptune’s Net, Casablanca, La Poubelle Bistro, Sonoratown
Drink/Hang Out: Resident (for the patio and live music), La Cita Bar (Bloody Mary Sundays), Broken Shaker, Pilot, Cana Rum Bar, Chez Jay, The Victorian, The Roger Room, The Spare Room, Rhythm Room LA, The Echo, The Satellite (if they come back), The Teragram Ballroom, Grand Star Jazz Club (if they come back), The Edison, Bar Sinister
For the experience: The Broad, MoMA, The Getty, Hauser & Wirth, hiking to the Griffith Observatory, The Self-Realization Centre, a premiere film at the TLC Chinese Theatre, The Museum of Jurassic Technology, Disneyland. The Hollywood Bowl
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There’s many to mention along this winding road. The support of my life partner Blaine Cline and my divine family. Collaborators through the years, including Arnold Vermaak (fellow nominee for our Prankster album “Lay Me Down”), Wolfsaga, ALEX, Gerald Van Wyk and NewRetroWave Records. The support of the listeners/fans across the platforms is everything! I would also like to give a shoutout to John and Laura of Granfalloon Productions for spreading the love and licensing “Sweet Agony” for their feature film, “Indiscretion”.
Riyaad Jamal, Padraic O’Meara