Part of Aug 2011 by

Up-and-Comer Tiger Darrow Knows Who She Is

Chances are you’ve probably seen Tiger Darrow in at least one of the many films in which she has appeared. Her acting resume includes roles in several of Robert Rodriguez’s films (Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, and Shark Boy and Lava Girl) and independent short films such as Spencer Parsons’ Once and Future Asshole (2005) and Bryan Poyser’s The Crane House (2009). But we are not here today to discuss Darrow’s acting talent; instead, we recently chatted with Darrow about her equally illustrious career in music.
Raised in Austin, Darrow and her family relocated to Dallas where she attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a prestigious arts magnet school in Dallas. While attending BTW, Darrow had her first experiences performing music in front of an audience. As Darrow explains, “before BTW, I had never played my music for anyone live and I had only ever been an actor. One might think that being an actor would surely help a musician perform. It does, but if you are a songwriter and you are playing material that you have written, you are left completely exposed and vulnerable to your audience. As an actor, you have a ‘character,’ the words you speak on screen or on stage are not necessarily yours. It’s hard to gain confidence as a musician. BTW helped me get a start on gaining that confidence and helped me get used to performing in front of a crowd with a full band, being a part of a team, and also helped me learn the fundamentals of music theory, which I ultimately chose as my major for college.”

Speaking of college, Darrow will be moving to New York City very soon to study music composition and theory at NYU. Darrow hopes that the composition and theory program will “help me feel more comfortable with writing — particularly for film, I’m very interested in film scoring — and also give me a better knowledge of theory, which I love and am interested in, but am incredibly intimidated by.” New York City can also be intimidating for a recent high school graduate who grew up in Austin and Dallas; Darrow, however, is looking forward to the change, “I’m excited to be on my own and be free to try new things and go new places. I think it will really give me a lot of new ideas and opinions that will help me in my songwriting. New York City is such a great place to be exposed to different cultures, and living in New York definitely has a different pace to it than Texas. I think jumping into the business of NYC will be scary, but good.”

Before graduating from high school, Darrow released two albums (both in January 2011): Hello and You Know Who You Are. The two recordings sound drastically different from each other, but each one is still very uniquely Darrow. On Hello, Darrow worked alongside producer/co-writer Cary Pierce (Jackopierce); while Darrow recorded and produced You Know Who You Are on her own. While contemplating the two experiences, Darrow explains, “I always think collaborations are great, because collaborations give way to critiques and prompt the best out of each artist involved. They also allow a mesh of sounds from every artist and create a product that sounds different from what just a solo artist might come up with. Sometimes, in a situation where an artist is being produced rather than collaborated with, the artist does not get as much artistic say. I produced You Know Who You Are and it was such an amazing experience to be able to listen to the music and think ‘I need bells here’ or ‘this is where the organ will come in’ and actually make it happen. While Hello is not a direct representation of my music, because I didn’t produce it, it was a great opportunity to get to experience being in a studio with professional studio musicians and to get to really co-write with someone who had been writing for many years.”

Darrow has been playing shows around Texas leading up to her move to the Big Apple. According to Darrow, her live performances are “usually all acoustic (with the exception of an electric cello); however, in the future, I would love to really get a group of musicians together and perform shows that sound like my records. The acoustic shows are great, though because they’re all new arrangements of my material, and it’s interesting to see how a song that might have 40+ different tracks going at once sounds when arranged for an acoustic duo. I keep my sets fairly even, and pull a pretty equal amount of tracks from both records. Often, I play songs that I haven’t released and I do throw in some covers as well sometimes. I play with a bassist who happens to be my uncle, Allan Hayslip (Bonedome). I switch between guitar and cello. Right now, my set is pretty guitar-heavy, but it’s making a transition into more cello, and hopefully there will be more instruments later on.”

Darrow is headlining at the Cactus Cafe on Wednesday, August 10th; this will be our last chance as Austinites to see Darrow play for a while and that is all the more reason to come out and experience her music firsthand.

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