Tara Oram is ready to bust. The 25-year-old country music singer from Hare Bay has been keeping a secret for several months now - exciting news she's shared only with her mother Wanda.
Oram's secret - to be revealed today - is that plans have been finalized for her first provincial tour which kicks off at the Arts and Culture Centre in Stephenville Oct. 19.
"I wasn't really allowed to talk about it and I didn't want to get my hopes up because it wasn't for sure," Oram says of being tight-lipped about the eight-stop tour which ends at the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John's Oct. 26.
For a musician who once described herself as "starving for the stage," the tour in her home province is something she felt could possibly happen after she placed sixth on CTV's Canadian Idol in 2007.
"Newfoundlanders support their own like no other country or province or anywhere else in the world. I appreciate my Newfoundland fans. They mean the world to me."
Oram is delighted that two performances in Labrador have been included in the tour. She's never been to the Big Land, she says, and can't wait to perform in Labrador West and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
"They always say, 'Be a tourist in your own province' and that's what myself and my band and the people I work with are going to get to do."
A plus with the tour, Oram says, is that her mother - who she describes as her "backbone" - will get to come along for most of performances.
"My mom is the one who had the dream of being a singer ... She always said, 'You know if I had talent I would want to be on the Opry and do what you're doing now.' She always said, 'You're living my dream.' And that's why I wrote that song (with Carolyn Dawn Johnson)," Oram says of "Living the Dream" - a song recorded on her debut album "Chasing the Sun."
The album earned Oram an ECMA earlier this year for Country Recording of the Year.
Oram has also been nominated for three Canadian Country Music awards: Best Female Vocalist, Rising Star Award and Video of the Year.
While there are songs that she performs regularly, Oram prefers not to follow a script.
"Every night is different for me because every audience is different. And it's going to be extra special in Newfoundland because I'm home and I'm super excited about being with my own people."
Oram has been writing songs for her second album as well as performing with her band at numerous festivals, sharing the stage with country music artists such as Johnny Reid, George Canyon, Beverly Mahood, Doc Walker and Randy Travis.
"I don't get to be onstage a whole lot but when I am up there, that's the time we enjoy the most."
Former Canadian Idol judge Zack Werner says during Oram's time on the show, some folks, himself included, mistook her "openness and genuine simple heartfelt style" as "show bizzy."
"Turns out she is quite simply herself at all times. That, combined with real country pipes and great management, is giving Tara a real shot at success," he says.
Fans who support Oram during her Newfoundland tour can expect to hear titles from her album as well as some cover songs.
She has a tendency as well, she says, of talking to her audience in between songs.
"I'll be on stage and my tour manager will look over at me and give me the slicing of the neck telling me to shut up because I like to gab a lot ... and I have a lot to say," she laughs.
Oram's parents Wanda and Albert Oram live in Hare Bay.
Like many Newfoundlanders, her father works out-of-province.
Her parents have supported her in every way possible over the years, she says.
"Financially, it's so hard to be a musician ... to literally live. And one day I will hopefully buy my dad a boat and buy my mom a new kitchen."
Nova Scotia singer/songwriter Dave Gunning is also joining Oram on tour.
Tour tickets go on sale Monday at Arts and Culture Centres where Oram will be performing.
In Carbonear, the show takes place at the Princess Sheila NaGeira Theatre.
For more information visit www.taraoram.com
Tara Oram's tour dates and places
Oct.19 - Stephenville (Arts & Culture Centre)
Oct. 20 - Corner Brook (Arts & Culture Centre)
Oct. 21 - Labrador West (Arts & Culture Centre)
Oct. 22 - Happy Valley-Goose Bay (Arts & Culture Centre)
Oct. 23 - Grand Falls-Windsor (Arts & Culture Centre)
Oct. 24 - Gander (Arts & Culture Centre)
Oct. 25 - Carbonear (Princess Sheila NaGeira Theatre)
Oct. 26 - St. John's (Arts & Culture Centre)