From Newfoundland to Nashville

Justin Brake
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Hare Bay's Tara Oram may soon be a household name

Last summer Newfoundland and Labradorians watched as another of their Canadian Idol hopefuls had their run cut short.

Twenty-three-year-old Tara Oram of Hare Bay cracked the Top 6 but even the overwhelming support of her fans, who jammed phone lines provincewide, couldn't keep her afloat.

Tara Oram

Last summer Newfoundland and Labradorians watched as another of their Canadian Idol hopefuls had their run cut short.

Twenty-three-year-old Tara Oram of Hare Bay cracked the Top 6 but even the overwhelming support of her fans, who jammed phone lines provincewide, couldn't keep her afloat.

Since then, with the exception of a guest performance at the Idol Top 3 tour stop in St. John's last November, the young country singer has been off the radar.

Until now.

In just the past month Oram has signed a record deal, acquired a manager, starred in a Pantene Pro V commercial, and last week announced she will have her own TV show this summer.

"I feel like everything I've worked for is starting to pay off and I'm feeling really appreciative and lucky," Oram says over the phone from her apartment in Toronto. "It's really weird. I know what's going on but I just don't think I'll ever understand it."

The good fortune began one night last November when Alberta's Corb Lund performed at Club One on George Street. It was the eve of the Idol concert at Mile One and Oram had arranged to meet Lund's manager, Ron Kitchener, at the show.

"He had heard of me before, when I was playing Ontario gigs, and he liked what I was doing then," she explains. "He was just waiting for me to do my own thing and get more experience. Now the timing is right."

After that night, Oram went off and did her own thing. In March, she drove to Nashville with just a few hundred bucks in her pocket to scope out the Mecca of country music and see if there was a place for her there.

Days into the trip, however, she appeared in a video on her blog site discouraged and almost in tears.

"I don't know if I should just pack up and go home and say 'forget it all,'" she said, sitting dejected on her hotel room bed. "I didn't come here to be just a tourist. I came here to make things happen, and as of right now, nothing's really happening."

Then, just weeks later, Kitchener contacted Oram and offered to be her manager, making her the first female musician on his roster, which includes some of Canada's top country music acts like Doc Walker and The Road Hammers.

He then signed her to his record label, Open Road Recordings, and arranged a second trip to Nashville for her to meet other artists and write some songs.

"I had somewhere to go, unlike the last time," she explains. "I was going there with a purpose. I know people now, so I got there and did some songwriting with some really cool artists."

Oram says she met up with the likes of Willie Mack and Carolyn Dawn Johnson and began co-writing songs for her debut album.

"It just felt really cool to go down there and have somebody to help me. It was friggin' incredible. Did I just say 'friggin'?" she laughs.

Oram returned from Nashville in time to celebrate her 24th birthday on April 28, the same day her Pantene Pro V television commercial debuted on CTV and Much Music.

And if that wasn't enough excitement for one month, Oram found out Country Music Television Canada (CMT) wants to do a reality show mini-series on the making of her upcoming album.

"CMT was watching the blogs online and they saw the response and said they were interested in doing a documentary series on what I was doing."

The blogs, Oram explains, are the result of an unexpected friendship with St. John's native and member of sketch comedy troupe The Dance Party of Newfoundland, Steve Cochrane, who she met randomly in a Toronto coffee shop a few months ago.

"(Steve) said he wanted to help me out with a video blog and I thought that was awesome. We hit it off right off the bat," she explains. "He's really funny and we both have this retarded sense of humour. We just got together one day and started making these videos and people are liking it. It's cool because he knew that I wasn't so serious ... I wanted to be funny and do something musical at the same time."

Oram says CMT liked the videos so much they offered Cochrane the chance to direct the series.

"He was so stoked when he heard the news," she says.

Oram will return to Nashville this week to begin recording tracks for her debut album. To date, she says she has banked about 20 songs to choose from.

"I want it to be a fun, summery, in-love kind of record," she says, perhaps a reflection of her relationship with beau and Canadian Idol Brian Melo. "Nothing about my dog leaving me or that kind of thing. I'm 24, I'm young, but I also want the album to be mature. At the same time, I want it to reflect my personality, which is not so serious."

And her yet-to-be-named TV series should begin airing in July, she says.

"Hopefully, it'll have my name in it, 'cause I've always wanted to see my name on TV Guide," she laughs.

Organizations: The Dance Party of Newfoundland

Geographic location: Nashville, Newfoundland, Hare Bay St. John's Toronto Canada Alberta George Street Ontario Kitchener

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Shadow
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    In one of her songs there is a line something like....There has got to be something more. Well Tara, there is something more. Keep searching!

  • Ev
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Now if only I could get her to record some of my country songs.

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Great!!! Nice to hear of another Newfoundlander making good . Stay grounded darlin. Best of luck.

    A country fan.

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    She's HOT!

  • dennis
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Tara Oram deserves this honor,not because she is from NL but because she has a real talent and is not afraid to show it!
    I never used to watch Idol because it was boring to me until I seen another newfoundlander is showing her talent.
    If people don't vote for Tara there is no point to continue watching.

  • Krista
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Great news to hear that another NL'er got a break to show off their talent. I rooted/voted for Tara all the while she was on Canadian Idol and was very disappointed in her departure. But now I will look forward to seeing her show, and anticipate the release of her upcoming CD. Great job Tara I know you will make us proud!!!

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    In some ways, Im' glad she did not win Canadian Idol. Now before you start freaking out, let me finish.

    In my opinion, she has now been recognized by those who know talent and instead of riding the ''2007 Canadian Idol Winner'' wave, she can now ride the ''Tara Oram'' wave.

    She's doing it on her own and doesn't need Canadian Idol to make her dreams come true afterall.

    Best of luck Tara!

  • Shadow
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    In one of her songs there is a line something like....There has got to be something more. Well Tara, there is something more. Keep searching!

  • Ev
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Now if only I could get her to record some of my country songs.

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Great!!! Nice to hear of another Newfoundlander making good . Stay grounded darlin. Best of luck.

    A country fan.

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    She's HOT!

  • dennis
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Tara Oram deserves this honor,not because she is from NL but because she has a real talent and is not afraid to show it!
    I never used to watch Idol because it was boring to me until I seen another newfoundlander is showing her talent.
    If people don't vote for Tara there is no point to continue watching.

  • Krista
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Great news to hear that another NL'er got a break to show off their talent. I rooted/voted for Tara all the while she was on Canadian Idol and was very disappointed in her departure. But now I will look forward to seeing her show, and anticipate the release of her upcoming CD. Great job Tara I know you will make us proud!!!

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    In some ways, Im' glad she did not win Canadian Idol. Now before you start freaking out, let me finish.

    In my opinion, she has now been recognized by those who know talent and instead of riding the ''2007 Canadian Idol Winner'' wave, she can now ride the ''Tara Oram'' wave.

    She's doing it on her own and doesn't need Canadian Idol to make her dreams come true afterall.

    Best of luck Tara!