GOLDMINE: Congratulations on your "Hey Baby" vinyl single from your upcoming album Shadows.
TIFFANY: Thank you. We are just getting started again. It is a year later than anticipated with Covid hitting and the whole world stopping, but this return is still perfect timing, coming back with new music and seeing how important it is. You can see smiles through the twinkles in people’s eyes, even though we are wearing masks. These concerts still mean the most to me, bringing a lot of joy to people, and I know it is bringing a lot of joy to me. I am thrilled to be performing again.
GM: I am sure that people are definitely looking forward to seeing you in Texas, Richmond, D.C. and all the places you’ve got coming up.
T: We have got a full tour. After those places we go to Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, New York City, and so much more. Wish us luck. We are learning the new norm, making adjustments as we travel. I usually travel in my van or tour bus, but we just came back from sold out shows in Hawaii and flying there was more difficult than usual.
GM: You have a new song to share on stage, “Hey Baby.” Who wrote this edgy and fun song?
T: I did with Mark Alberici, my producer, and now boyfriend, collaborating with all of the band, who we perform with live. They are really Mark’s band The Killing Floor, who I have borrowed. They go into the studio with an idea that Mark and I have started with. There are usually no lyrics starting out, just a path for an up-tempo song or a ballad on piano, and I hum a little bit. Then they go off to Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire, Wales creating a beautiful skeleton of the song and I am usually next door cooking. It is a like a contest for me to be done creating a dinner for us by the time they have recorded the basic tracks. Before we sit down and eat, I usually lay my first vocal track down, and they get to hear what I have been rhyming in the kitchen. I’ll come in and out of the studio as the day progresses, usually with a chorus like, “Hey baby did you know,” and Mark or his brother Oliver might finish a line, and I’ll come back later. We do it together, but it is really the band jamming, and I enjoy watching them playing live. “Hey Baby” was written about being flirtatious, an adult love, like a summertime, wink, wink, fun song. I was going through a divorce and finding new love in Mark, and I wanted it to be lighthearted. Cody’s drums are exciting, along with Mark’s guitar solo, and I love that it sounds like a throwback to The Go-Go’s but with a modern production.
GM: You also reminded me of The Go-Go’s on your prior album, Pieces of Me, with the up-tempo song “Beautiful,” a touch of their song “Vacation,” and your voice on these songs recalls the edgiest side of Belinda Carlisle.
T: Thank you. Belinda is lovely and I’ve always been a Go-Go’s fan. As I’ve gotten older, I have a bit of a rasp in my voice. Mark brings out the best of me and recording at Rockfield is just so freeing, whether is it a ballad, with Mark on piano, or a toe tapper like “Hey Baby.”
GM: On the flip side of this new vinyl single is a very crisp new version of “I Think We’re Alone Now.” I remember in the summer of 1987, my wife Donna and I had just moved back home to Cleveland with our young daughter Brianna, heard your first No. 1 hit “I Think We’re Alone Now” on the radio, and bought the 45 for Brianna. To me it felt like an exciting welcome home to hear a new version of a song that Donna and I grew up on in the 1960s by Tommy James and The Shondells and could share that with our daughter. I love how you kept your vocal echo in the new recording. I was hoping and waiting for that part and when I heard it, it put a nostalgic smile on my face.
T: I am so glad. You really can’t mess with some of the stuff that helped make it a signature hit. We wanted something that would fit in with the upcoming album Shadows, which has more of a rocker vibe to it, and a little punk base. We wanted to have an edge to infuse the whole sound, so we added a little bit of harder guitars, but keep some of the classic stuff, too, for the listeners.
A side: Hey Baby
Flip side: I Think We’re Alone Now (re-recorded)
Vinyl debut: April 23, 2021, digital release date June 11, 2021
Go On Then / Deko
GM: You mention the rasp in your voice like it is new, but I remember hearing that raspy mature nuance on the title song from your second album Hold An Old Friend’s Hand, which received adult contemporary airplay on WDOK, with DJ Ted Alexander in Cleveland in early 1989. I loved it and how your sound and audience was widening.
T: Thank you. That is definitely one of my favorites. It was an honor to have met and known these songwriters as a teenager. Also, from that album, “All This Time” is another one of my favorite songs to sing, which is in the show, among my foundation songs.
GM: Another foundation song is “Could’ve Been,” another 45 that I bought for Brianna and she would sing along, “On a cold and lonely night,” and just quoted that the other day when I told her about the interview.
T: Oh, that’s sweet. Please tell Brianna I said hello.
GM: I will. Another single from the that decade that I really enjoy is “Feelings of Forever,” quite a power ballad.
T: I loved making the video for that one and is another of my favorites, too.
GM: More recently, on “Angels,” from last Christmas, you sing about it being a trying year and plead, “Christmas rescue us.” That was so true. Donna and I have never seen Christmas decorations go up as early as they did in our neighborhood and no one complained about it.
T: I had tried to write Christmas songs before, and they just came out kind of goofy. Then my good friend Margie Hauser and I got together. We had previously written a few other songs together. She came to the house in Nashville and we just kept writing with Mark, and we wrote a pair of songs that I thought were really good. Then she had another idea in her mind and played a melody, Mark joined in, and I began singing, “It’s been a trying year. Hard to tell what’s real.” Then we were off to the races, ha ha. I think that’s how it works for me as a songwriter. I play very limited piano. I just hear it, set a mood, and then lyrics fall out of me. There was something comforting about angels being around us and able to move freely when we didn’t. It was like they were guiding my mom, my sister, my niece, my best friend, or whoever I couldn’t be with and saw the joy, happiness, sorrow and loneliness, and were there to comfort us and connect us. I was writing that there is still something bigger than us and to hold on to that now, even though you can’t see it. Keep faith and hope in our hearts. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays and it is a time when many people do see their families and whatever their tradition is. To not be able to do that after waiting most of the year and to still be in lockdown was heartbreaking for many people throughout the world. People were isolated, scared, lost their jobs, and inflicted with a lot of change. My fans were messaging me saying, “I think we’re alone now” and shared stories of taking work elsewhere and then getting stuck in lockdown in a foreign location, and not knowing anyone. Fans and friends were isolated in Turkey, Germany and elsewhere, who had planned to be on a new adventure until they had to put on the brakes. I missed my family and those who have passed on. I am glad that I was able to finally co-write a Christmas song that I felt was up to par but also so meaningful at that time, plus a song that I think we can still listen to throughout the year and have that hope and comfort renewed.
GM: “Angels” was a single release. “Hey Baby” is your new single. Are there more singles coming ahead of your Shadows album?
T: Yes. I have a single coming out with L.A. Guns called “Keep on Swinging,” which is a cover of Rival Sons’ song and a video for it too coming out this summer and have the single “Shadows” coming out for my birthday.
GM: This will be a milestone birthday in October. I can see you featured on the AARP Big 5-Oh magazine page.
T: Really, it’s just a number to me. I think it’s great that I am still here. I feel young at heart. I love what I’m doing. I’m a workaholic and there is a lot of serious business running a label and having a band, but inside I still feel like a kid. I love life, the adventure of it, and I certainly love music. I guess that keeps me young and I love fun people. Things don’t work out as planned and I love people who can find humor in those situations. Then there’s Mark. He is my everything and I have a song called “Everything” on the upcoming Shadows album. It is wonderful being with him, working with him and having that common thread. I respect him as a musician and a producer and to have someone to share your heart with is topping on the cake. Thank you so much for our time and all your years of enjoying my music.
Tiffany’s most recent album, 2018’s Pieces of Me, features songs she performs in her concerts including the edgy “Waste of Time,” the moody “Feels Like a Storm,” with a hint of a Stevie Nicks sound, “King of Lies,” with a Neil Young-like electric guitar driven mood, and the title tune, “Pieces of Me,” with a touch of Carrie Underwood.
For more on Deko Entertainment and Tiffany, read the Goldmine 2021 issue.