Singer, songwriter, Tamara (Tami) Melia Gillespie was born in Kamisuwa, Japan in July 1996. After living there for 3 and 1/2 years, she moved around many times between Washington and California before finally settling, at the age of 6, in Tacoma, Washington where she and her parents could be close to family. Tami’s grandmother was a dancer and Tami, starting at a very young age, developed her talents in dance as well. She also started taking classes in singing, ice skating, piano, guitar, and acting. After making her parents sit through countless performances in the living room with sheets as curtains and costumes for dance routines and singing concerts, her parents could see the love and passion she had for acting, dancing and singing. She started getting involved in many local auditions and performances.
In 2010, Tami got a callback from a competition hosted by Disney, in Disney World. This got her many connections with managers and agents and later, an agent in New York contacted her. After a year of keeping in contact with her agent, he requested that she come to New York to meet with a well-known manager to get her started in the singing world. While chances were slim that she would immediately get to pursue her career with this manager, he said yes, and her journey began.
Tami flew to Nashville, Tennessee to meet her producers, Keith Follese, and Jim Cooper and Tommy Collier. There she recorded the songs for her first self-titled EP, released in 2012. After many days of writing and singing, she had 5 finished songs: “Letting Go,” “Pouring Rain,” “Down To You,” “Enough,” and “Right Now.” While on this trip, she had a day long photo-shoot with photographer, Angela R. Talley. This was another one of her many great and new experiences.
Now, with her EP out, she is working on getting local gigs and expanding her singing boundaries while continuing with her many lessons. She is very dedicated and passionate about her singing. She likes to write her songs about personal experiences as well as things that she feels strongly about. Her goals are to get her name and songs known and to influence teenagers in a positive way to let them know that they can do anything they want to do.
I feel it is very important to become involved in things that you are passionate about. Besides music and singing, I love dance. My song, ‘Pouring Rain’ expresses this love. Most of my evenings after school, are spent at the Y taking or teaching dance classes. I do all kinds of dance, including ballet, pointe, lyrical, tap, jazz, and hip hop. It is a great way to release built up energy and stress.
I know that in school, we are often influenced to do what everyone else does, (you should join this group, or club, or act or dress this way). I have discovered that when you do this, you lose part of who you really are. You start acting or thinking like them and soon your own uniqueness is compromised and you become like everyone else. Don’t let that happen. It is so not worth it. You forget who you are and you lose yourself. It is ok to join clubs or groups that your best friends don’t belong to, if it is truly your passion. You will make new friends, and grow as a person. This is not a bad thing. In the past, I have joined in my school’s soccer, volleyball, and ultimate teams and the girl’s football team for a game we call the Princess Bowl. As I have joined activities, I add new friends to the ones I already have and gain a greater and better school experience.
I have been very lucky in the fact that I have had the chance to travel a lot. My parents like to travel and experience different cultures. Because they think seeing other places is so important, they have made sure that I have taken advantage of any and all trips that have come my way. When a trip to Australia became a possibility, they made sure I went. My school planned a trip to Poland and I got to go. It was one of the greatest trips of my life. My dance troupe went on a cultural exchange to Viet Nam and Cambodia, and they signed me up for that as well. What I learned is that you have to grab all opportunities that come your way. Don’t wait for the next time. There may not be one. I also learned about finance. I had to save all my job money and work hard to earn enough through many fund raisers so that I could afford these trips. It is difficult, but the end result is always well worth it. By traveling to other countries, you get to see a variety of customs and how other people live. It really opens up your eyes to see all our differences, yet in many ways we are all alike. Our lifestyles may be different, but feelings of friendship are the same everywhere. I have made great friends overseas with whom I keep in touch through Facebook.
One of the things I want to achieve through my singing, (and what the song "Down to You" is about,) is to raise awareness of how bullying can truly hurt people. In my first two years of high school, I experienced some bullying. It was hard for me to accept it at first. I didn't really understand what I was going through until later when I realized that trying to find places to sit alone at lunch and preferring to spend time with teachers rather than students, wasn’t normal. People can be mean and you may not even realize how it is affecting you, until it’s too late. During this time, I started to forget who I was and I just agreed with what everyone else said. I was no longer an individual. I would disappear into the background and people wouldn't notice me at all because I was so afraid to stand out. I started noticing all the bad things about myself and I couldn't acknowledge when I had done something well. This has been one of the hardest trials I have had to overcome. I still notice all my faults, but I am getting better at noticing when I succeed in something. If you are surrounding yourself with people who destroy you, get out. Things will not get better until you are out of the situation. Despite how scary and intimidating it can be, you need to talk to people and tell those that are hurting you that it's not ok. Sometimes they don't even realize that they are hurting you. But I guarantee that you can be strong and make it through in the end. Your potential is incredible and you can achieve amazing things. Don't ever let anyone else convince you otherwise.
Though I have long term goals, I also try to take life just one day at a time and accept everything that comes my way with confidence and the assurance that I know I will make it through. I have found that you are stronger than you think you are and nothing can ever stop you from succeeding.
My favorite singers are those who tell their stroies and are not afraid to hold back. It can be really hard to put yourself in the spotlight but they aren't afraid of what other people think and I think that’s admirable. My favorite movie is Aquamarine and not just because it’s about mermaids and love. The movie is about the power of friendship and I have really experienced that with my friends and dance troupe. Of course, my mom is amazing and I admire her and her strength. She is a wonderful example to me and has led me to where I am now. I don’t know what I would do without her. Then there is my cat, Winkie, whom I absolutely adore! She is definitely a troublemaker!
When the going gets tough...
Things aren’t always easy. Even though I have long term goals, I try to take life just one day at a time and accept everything that comes my way with confidence and the assurance that I know I will make it through. I never give up; if life is hard, or if I get stuck, I don’t let it defeat me and I keep going because I know that things don’t always work out the first time. I have found that you are stronger than you think and nothing can ever stop you from succeeding.
Throughout my life I have always been told to just be myself and that I don’t have to change for anyone else. Just recently I was forced to take a close look at myself and remember this advice. From peer and social pressure we often change ourselves to fit in. I had to find out who I was as a person without anyone else affecting me. I think it’s important to take time to figure out who you are, even though it may be difficult and your choice might not be the popular one. You are you and no one else can change that. School is a time when you are surrounded by other people trying to fit in just like you are. Sometimes, however, when you try to fit in, you forget what matters. What I want to leave with you is that you don’t have to change for anyone else. You are an individual. Stop worrying about what other people think. Do what makes you happy because you are the one that matters in the end.