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Tara Priya

age of 4. Born to a Persian mother, who fled the Iranian Shah’s repressive regime, and an Indian father, Tara was exposed to a diverse mix of music and dance from birth.

The Bay Area native loved to perform and quickly found her way onstage through community theater. Starring in the California Theater Center’s “Thumbelina” convinced Tara’s parents to put her in voice lessons. By the time she was 11, she was playing the drums in her school jazz band and training opera on the weekends.

That same year, her mother passed away from cancer, leaving Tara to find comfort in writing and music. Performance—whether as a member of the Peninsula Teen Opera Company, as a voice major at The Harker School’s Conservatory Program, or as a jazz singer in local lounges and cafés—served as both escape and expression. “My teenage years were some of my darkest,” Tara admits, “but they were also my most creative. Poetry, prose, songs—I couldn’t stop writing.” Her talent didn’t go unnoticed by the prestigious Scholastic Art and Writing Awards: at 16, Tara won its National Gold Award. At 18, she received the Writing Award from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.

Tara trekked on to Columbia University, where she continued jazz and classical voice while majoring in Economics. But despite loving her classes, interning at Merrill Lynch, and performing throughout New York, the evocative singer couldn’t shake the feeling that her path lay elsewhere. “I kept waiting for that ‘aha!’ moment, when you’ve finally settled in and feel like you belong ,” she explains. “New York and Columbia exposed me to so many new things, and I definitely grew as an artist. But every time I heard young female artists like Amy Winehouse or Rihanna on the radio, I felt like crying. My heart knew what it wanted.”

Fatefully, Tara discovered that in trying to keep herself busy, she had nearly finished her BA by her second year. In 2009—a year and a half ahead of schedule—she graduated magna cum laude and left Columbia to pursue a singing career.

The path to stardom is far from straightforward—post-grad, Tara spent five months backpacking around the world and did a brief stint in finance to help fund her EP—but if anyone can make the journey, it’s Tara Priya. Gifted with the remarkable ability to compose a song on the spot, the retrosoul singer quickly built up an impressive catalog of blues-tinged songs; her September 2010 EP has received praise from radio DJs worldwide, garnering airplay on stations such as KTUH, KALX, WGTB, WKCR, WHAP, and Radio 98eins (Germany). "Tara Priya" recently gained a physical distribution deal in Japan.

Tara continues to perform in San Francisco, New York, and Hollywood's hottest venues (Boom Boom Room; Pianos NYC; Key Club.), co-hosts Eric Seats’ reality TV show, “The Next Great Drummer”, showcased at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, was 1 of 3 "Pop" finalists in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and took the stage in the 2010 Miami Music Festival. Next, Tara adds soul to the 2011 Canadian Music Fest!