Bullet Backstory with Tami Neilson


Tami Neilson is joining us on the Blue Plate Special with host Red Hickey on September 27th at noon. This event is free to the public and will be held at the Knoxville Visitor’s Center. In the meantime, enjoy this Bullet Backstory from Tami Neilson herself. She was gracious enough to answer our questions for this regular feature on the WDVX blog.

Take it away Tami Neilson!

  • Biggest musical influences? Patsy Cline, Mavis Staples, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Loretta Lynn, Etta James, my Dad (Ron Neilson)
  • What made you decide to pursue music as a career? I grew up touring across Canada and the US in my family band (The Neilsons) from the time I was 12 years old, so, I don’t know that there was ever a really conscious decision made, it was always a way of life. I was born into it and, whether it’s a healthy thing or not, music is an integral part of my identity.
  • What advice do you have for young musicians who are trying to hone their craft?  Just this morning, on the 18 month anniversary of my Dad’s passing, I was reading through an old email that he sent to me when I first moved across the world to New Zealand 10 years ago. I was feeling very overwhelmed- starting all over in a new country where I knew nobody, having never performed as a solo artist without my family. Even though I’d been in the business my whole life, had opened for people like Johnny Cash and been onstage with Kitty Wells…like a game of snakes and ladders, I was pushed right back to the beginning. This was the advice he gave me: “Walk ahead each day, keep on knocking, keep on asking, keep phoning, keep talking to people, keep emailing, keep on, keep on, keep on.”
  • What’s your favorite thing to do in Knoxville? Perform on the Blue Plate Special, of course! Honestly, this will be my first trip to Knoxville and I am so excited to come and experience the history and beauty there. Can’t wait!
  • If you could work with any musician (living or deceased) who would it be and why? Loretta, Dolly or Mavis. It would be a dream come true to create music with these women, but, the main reason would really be to just sit, talk, listen and try to soak in some of the strength, sass and wisdom of these incredible women. They blazed trails through an industry that was totally run by, and for, men and are still going strong!

Photo by Tony McKay Photography
Hair by Miss Victory Violet
Dress by CurvyCouture by Judy Dee
Make-up by Fran Robertson – Decorator of People and Things
Styling by Bettie Rage