A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting down to talk to Tara Henton about her incredible debut single ‘Now That You’re Gone’. What is usually a nice chat about how the song came about and what made the artist pursue a music career turned into something quite different… I have never laughed so much! A quick chat turned into two hours of us laughing and being very philosophical, at one point Tara described it as a “Deep thoughts by Jack Handy” moment.
Hailing from Kenora, Canada, Tara had a very ‘country’ upbringing. Her dad has always loved being out hunting & bringing home the family’s meat for the winter. This was also a family tradition and everyone had their own jobs to do to prepare for the cold, harsh winters in Canada. Tara moved to the UK after graduating from university, where she completed a Bachelor's degree in Education and a Bachelor's of Music. She met and married Kevin who she says is incredibly supportive of her and she couldn’t support her musical ambitions without him. They now have a beautiful little girl and little Copper, their brand new puppy.
She has always been very musical. She got involved in musical education to help pursue that passion but, like many of us, life got in the way and she didn’t really start pursuing music again until she was in her mid thirties. Tara has worked as a teacher since 2001 and in 2012 she moved to teaching music in primary schools. Once the pandemic hit it made her re-evaluate what she was doing and although she still does a little class teaching, she is busy focusing on building up her own music school and music career. During this transition, Tara realised that it had felt like teaching was keeping her away from being her true self musically;
she was so used to teaching methods to children that she wasn’t experimenting much beyond that personally.
Over the last few years she has revisited her love of songwriting, attending a number of songwriting retreats. She had the opportunity to go to a retreat in Italy and meet and work with Gretchen Peters, which Tara says was a life changing experience. "Gretchen is an extremely talented, genuine and down to earth person and a true inspiration". This re-lit her fire and she went on to find more songwriting groups, even creating a sub-group with some she had met virtually. During the 'I Heart Songwriting Club', Tara really found her strength as a songwriter. She was given a few prompts and had to go away and come up with at least a verse and chorus before submitting for review. Tara said she was very scared and had a sleepless night waiting for the comments to come in. However, not surprisingly, they were all positive. Through this experience she gained the confidence she needed in her writing, and has since wrote ‘Now That You're Gone’, which was submitted to the UK Songwriting Contest, receiving 5 stars, and has been put through to the semi-finals. As a result Tara also joined The Songwriting Academy.
“Songs are just like kids, you can’t just keep them in the cupboard and hope for the best”
While trying to continue to write and hone her songwriting further, she has also set up her own music school out in her home studio. She teaches piano, ukulele, music theory and helps others with their songwriting. She has students based all over the world as she finds working with the time difference easier as she can fit in more students. She is currently elbow deep in admin work, which is no fun at all…
During lockdown, Tara has been working with fellow Essex-based artist Ben Selleck. We are already such big fans of Ben here at Scarlet River. Tara met him by pure coincidence on social media but this sparked up conversation and, before they knew it they were covering each other’s songs. Though they didn’t physically meet until a little while later at Tennessee Fields, and since have enjoyed many co-writing sessions online together. They have now met to perform together and co-write, so watch this space! These allies are a force to be reckoned with!
‘Now That You’re Gone’ - soon to be the debut single - came to be after a masterclass Tara attended. Tara credits Gretchen for helping to re-focus her and teach her skills she didn’t know she had. Tara was given the direction to write from another perspective. She remembers listening to others songs and thinking they were ingenious and wondering how she was going to do that. Tara thought back to past relationships and the words started to
flow. She describes the process “like putting it through a sieve until it managed to funnel” but by the end, it got very visual and she could see the story within the lyrics. She took it to her songwriting group and they all agreed that the song needed to be finished and put out there for everyone to hear.
Tara started putting together a demo and thought about pitching it to other artists as she fully believed she was not the right person to sing the song. Despite that, she entered it into the songwriters workshop at Tennessee Fields in a bid to pitch it to other artists while there. However this backfired on her. Tim Prottey-Jones heard it and wanted to play it on his show ‘Homegrown’ so she went and actually recorded the song. It needed a bit of a lift so she brought in two friends to help with the production and additional instruments, after much back and forth the song was finally ‘radio-ready’.
The biggest personal battle Tara had was that she had already announced ‘Wild Horse’ was going to be her debut single and it was already almost finished production. Luckily she had our Rachel on hand to talk her through the next steps and get both songs out there. ‘Wild Horse’ is now officially her second single and due for release in November.
Tara has a very busy schedule coming up! She has started as a DJ for Nashville Worldwide, playing a “hodge podge” of all UK and US-based artists. She is due to start a year-long mentorship with The Songwriting Academy and is really looking forward to seeing where that goes, who she meets and gets to co-write with in the future. Tara has also started doing concerts via zoom with Buy Me A Coffee so check that out if you haven’t already!
Her goals are to focus on the music, her songwriting and growing her music school. Tara would love to compile her songs into an EP at some point but right now she wants to focus on the singles. She is also very keen to learn more about production. Taras end-game is to co-write and be a songwriter for other artists too.
“I think i've probably given you enough information for a memoir instead of a blog”
Follow Tara on her social media platforms: