Big hair. Big sound. Big personality. And big feelings is New Zealand-by-way-of-Canada’s Tami Neilson. As a part of her family’s Neilson Family band, Tami’s been performing and touring since she was a young kid. She and her two brothers spent their childhoods on the road with their parents: playing fairs, churches, dance halls, and morning television shows all while tucked tightly into the family caravan. Not only does she give a rundown of what the sleeping arrangements in the trailer were like, Tami’s bed doubled as the kitchen table by day. Through it all she paints a picture of how her parents gave her a front row seat to the music industry. Their band was opening for Kitty Wells and Johnny Cash and winning awards left and right.
Tami took the practice of hustling with her after she moved to the bottom of the globe (New Zealand) where she slowly but sure established herself in the country music world. Sixteen-plus years after the move, she has a wonderful family with two boys and has become an absolute staple in the New Zealand music world. After establishing some success in her new country, Tami suffered a great loss. Her father had been a true north in her life and music, he died suddenly a few years back and Tami is pretty candid about how his death and his influence impacted her life.
Tami is known for her incredible beehive hairstyles and awesome handmade stage outfits, which she has been showcasing in her very excellent YouTube series “The Tami Show.” We talk about expressing herself, and empowering other women, through her appearance and music. Another funny thing about this interview is that my power kept going out, so after a while, I had to do the interview by candlelight. So romantic.
Tami’s music, personality and laugh are all at once rowdy, sweet, and unforgettable. Thanks Tami, for appearing on Basic Folk!