Tamara Dey on how music sounds during a pandemic: To feel, to heal and connect

  • Channel24 talks to South African recording artist Tamara Dey about how music has brought people together during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • During the national lockdown, Tamara released her first independent single titled Lock Me Up.
  • The pandemic has brought the entertainment industry almost to a complete standstill, and Tamara admits it has been "tough."
  • According to Tamara music has kept her "going" during lockdown.

As cities across the world continue to impose strict restrictions on travel and movement, music has been bringing people together during the Covid-19 pandemic.

From the increasing number of artists turning to virtual streaming platforms, to Italians singing from their balconies to boost morale, and New Yorkers singing along to Yellow Submarine from their apartment windows, music has remained a constant in keeping the world connected and uplifted.

Channel24 spoke to recording artist Tamara Dey about the healing power of music, bringing people together during stressful times, and how she finds liberation in sharing her stories through song.

ALSO READ: Claudia Henkel on life's challenges: 'Fear keeps us from doing what we are potentially great at'

The coronavirus pandemic as brought the entertainment industry almost to a complete standstill, and Tamara Dey admits it has been "tough".

"I put so many exciting projects in place last year, and I know many artists have the same story. We had big plans to continue with this year and, everybody's just been put on pause. So that's been a bit frustrating. But the upside is that it's made me get really creative.

"I set up a little home studio, which is the first thing that I did so that I can continue to collaborate with producers and continue to make music and continue to potentially work at home as well," she says.

Tamara Dey
Tamara Dey during the Night With The Stars (NWTS) Celebrity Show at the Sandton City Rooftop. .

Other than new music, Tamara has recently partnered with Starbucks on their latest range of at-home coffees, available at supermarkets, which she says has been keeping her busy at home.

"They couldn't have launched their at-home range of coffees at a better time because we can't leave the house, really. There's no popping out to your favourite coffee place to get your coffee," she says.

During the national lockdown, Tamara released her first independent single titled Lock Me Up.

"It was my first time releasing a single independent. I have always been aligned with a major label, and it was an incredibly important learning experience," she says.

Tamara Dey
Tamara Dey during the Starbucks at Home launch in Johannesburg. The US coffee shop, Starbucks at Home, revealed new range of products, from beans to coffee capsules which is available at supermarket.

Like many South Africans, Tamara says she has taken the opportunity to "upskill" herself during a time when resources are limited.

"I put myself in a situation that was very foreign to me, and I'm so glad I did it because I learned an incredible amount from the experience," she says. "I know what goes into the other side of releasing a single. And I was able to do that on my own. So I'm really proud of myself for that. And I now know what to do next time."

Tamara's music is known for celebrating the heart and soul of South Africa, and she says she draws inspiration from her own life experiences.

I write my own lyrics, and I come up with the melodies. My biggest inspiration is obviously life and everything I go through and everything I see people going through. Music is a release for me. You know, being able to put what I'm thinking and feeling into song is my own kind of therapy as well.

"It's always been very kind of organic in that way. And I think that's why a lot of people resonate with that. You know, we're all going through a lot of the same things. And it's so great to connect through music and through sharing those stories that we all relate to in some way or another," she says.

Tamara Dey
Tamara Dey during the Miss South Africa 2019 beauty pageant grand finale at the Time Square Sun Arena.

Like many people, Tamara says music has kept her "going" during lockdown. "Being able to sit at home and create and continue to collaborate has been a relief. Music really is a healer, and it's something that connects us. And in tough times music always has sort of come centre stage, hasn't it? People have always used it to share stories and to kind of uplift each other and escape for a while from the realities of life," she tells Channel24.

On how the pandemic has come to highlight racial and gender inequality as well as LGBTQI issues around the world, Tamara says: "What happened with Covid-19 is that when your coffee cup shakes, what's inside spills out, and the world is being shaken up. A lot of stuff that needed attention is sort of bubbling to the surface, and I'm glad that we're finally giving these campaigns the attention that they've deserved for so long."

Although the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily disrupted her music career, Tamara says she has appreciated the extra moments she has been able to share with her daughter.

"Saturdays are our treat day, where we go into the kitchen and we make a huge mess together, whether it's pancakes, flapjacks or french toast," she says. 

Tamara Dey
Tamara Dey and her daughter.

"And I know she's missed school a lot, and she's missing that connection with her little preschool friends. But we've done lots of learning and drawing and arts and crafts and riding bikes and that kind of thing. So it has been an incredibly special time," she continues.

To her fans, and people feeling anxious about the year ahead, Tamara says: "I know that things are still scary right now, but just breathe in those moments and just try and be present."

She admits it can be "overwhelming" to think about life after the coronavirus pandemic.

"Staying in the now and staying connected to what you're grateful for in your life right now, in this day, in this moment, is a beautiful way to kind of stay grounded," she says.


For more about Tamara's upcoming projects, and how she has been spending her time at home with her daughter watch the full video above.

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