Reminding us that all we experience makes up who we are and it’s okay to let your feelings out, Tiffany Johnson’s recent EP gives us the space needed to be Over Emotional. Singing the words we yearn to compose, Tiffany’s lyricism shows she was born to write, which makes sense since she has been writing and performing since she was seven years old!
Laying out her innermost thoughts in the form of the most relatable music, Tiffany Johnson makes music for those that are looking for the right words to say in different moments of their life. We don’t know about you, but that sounds just like us. So, of course, we jumped at the opportunity to dig deeper into her recent tracks’ meanings, inspirations, and her musical journey, in this exclusive interview!
You’ve been writing your own songs since you were seven and recording your original music since you were 10; that’s quite an early start for a recording artist! Would you say starting your musical journey at such a young age gave you more insight into the artist you wanted to be later on in life (as in now)? Did it help you figure out what did and didn’t work for your sound earlier on?
I would say music has always been my way of expressing myself and I learned that from a very young age. Knowing I loved music and wanted to peruse it definitely helped me to stay goal oriented. Although, my music taste and things I am drawn to creatively and artistically have definitely changed over the years, I’ve always been the same person at the core. I love songs that tell stories in the most honest light possible, and everything else comes after that. As far as an artistic “sound” goes, I have always and will always like to try new things and express emotions in new ways. I think creativity is an ever evolving expression of self and as long as I’m growing and experiencing new things, I think my music will reflect that!
Since you did start your career so young, we can’t help but wonder what kind of songs you wrote as a kid! You write such deep, meaningful and inspirational songs now, but what did younger Tiffany feel overly emotional about?
First of all thank you so much for the kind words! Younger Tiffany wrote about the same things Tiffany now writes about, they are just seen through older and wiser (I suppose) lenses. I most often write about real things that have happened to me. It’s always been the way I have processed emotions. I remember in 2nd grade I didn’t have very many friends at the time and so I would literally sit on the bench at recess and write songs about it. I also used to write about the drama in my Barbie’s supposed dream life or about whatever peaked my interest. Some of the titles of my first few songs were ‘This is My Year,’ ‘My Music Knows Me Better’ and ‘Living The Dream.’
How has your creative/writing process changed over time?
I love the creative process and I love talking about it. I try my best to feed my creativity, whether that’s reading books or poetry, watching movies, meditating, going on walks or traveling somewhere new. I’ve learned to let myself tap into this headspace where I just zone out and absorb everything.
It was interesting for me when I started co-writing and writing songs everyday because I grew up only really writing in the heat of the moment or when I felt strong emotion. I still feel like raw emotion is how my best songs are written but when you’re writing everyday that doesn’t always happen. So I had to learn new ways to stir up my creative soul. I had to learn how to keep ideas for songs to set aside for later and tap into previous emotions in my life. I also started writing for other people within the last few years, so it’s been really fun to help other people tell their stories as well.
What advice would you give to young Tiffany, who is just starting her music journey?
It’s okay to change, evolve and grow along the way. Don’t get so caught up looking for what you thought it would be, that you miss the possibility of what it could be.
You’ve talked about how you’re fascinated by the idea of internet applause being tied to self-worth. Do you think your timeline would differ if you had a follower of none compared to many? And are there things within your songs that you grapple with the idea of leaving in knowing it is perceived by an online audience?
I honestly don’t think my timeline would differ very much! I always write songs as if no one will hear them. I write them as if I’m saying all the things I’ll never say to anyone… and then I share it with the whole world haha. There are definitely ideas or lyrics in songs I’ve had to change before I release them but when I write I just let myself have the freedom to say whatever I want!
Can you describe the process you took to create the EP, Over Emotional? How long had you been writing those songs before deciding to put them in a single project?\
The first song I wrote for the Over Emotional EP was ‘Nothing Else I Can Do.’ I wrote that song in May of 2021. I was in the process of writing and recording up until May of 2022. Over Emotional was actually the last song written for the EP and ended up being the title track. Making the EP was an interesting process because I started writing in my hometown in South Dakota, and finished the EP in the midst of moving across the country to Nashville. I think the music is a reflection of the change in my life and the growth in both my musicality and my life.
Since your EP is called Over Emotional, which emotions do you feel come up most in your music? Which ones come up the least?
I think sadness, anger, bitterness, fear, doubt, grief and nostalgia come up the most. This list makes my music sound so depressing, which lyrically I suppose it could be but I like to have fun pop production over my sad lyricism. I really just write songs about the things that are more uncomfortable to talk about out loud. I would say happiness, joy, silliness, and embarrassment come up the least. It’s funny because I would say I’m generally a happy person, but I think with every joy there’s an underlying taste of sadness, which I find much more dynamic and interesting to write about.
‘Brooklyn’ is a standout on the EP. Do you often attach both yourself and memories to places? Does it help with your writing process to do so?
I am an extremely nostalgic person and I love to travel and make memories in different parts of the world. So I would definitely say yes, I associate memories with places. I am so glad you mentioned ‘Brooklyn’ because I’ve been wanting to talk about this song! This is the only song on the EP that I wrote from the opposite perspective of the rest of the songs. It’s meant to be from the perspective of someone who watched me move away and is wondering if I am missing them back home. I love this song because I feel like I got to tell two sides of the same story. It really does help my writing process to have a location in mind because it’s like having a setting for a novel. It helps to depict different landscapes, moods and textures in the scene.
You performed at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville when you were only 13. How did it feel being on stage in such a famous venue?
Honestly, I feel was so excited that I blinked and it was over. It was such a “what just happened” moment. It was such a magical experience though, and I was truly honored to step foot on the same stage as so many of my idols.
And you played over 50 shows this summer. That must have been such an exciting time for you! Which songs were your favorite to perform live?
It was definitely a fun summer and I got to meet so many kind people along the way! My favorite songs to perform live from the EP were ‘Anybody Else,’ ‘Medicine’ and ‘Nothing Else I Can Do!’
Anything you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for the inquisitive questions. It was a pleasure chatting with you!
Tiffany Johnson really is an icon, playing famous venues and topping new music Spotify lists, and it’s truly what she deserves. And we’re crossing our fingers here at THP HQ that Tiffany Johnson does even more shows in the summer of 2023 so we can hear ‘Nothing Else I Can Do’ live!
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