I knew I should have shaved. But I decided against it at the last minute and convinced myself it was just another day at the office. However, there was nothing ordinary about the all-girl group, BlackByrd, when they walked into the room for our scheduled interview.
From their exquisite dress sense I could tell they all had a good understanding and relationship with the rag trade. Their personalities so feed off each other you’d swear they are conjoined even though they are not even sisters.
Tamsyn, Samantha and Tarryn, the BlackByrd trio, are the sweetest girls you’ll ever meet, shaved chin or not.
“When I heard Adele’s album last year I was very inspired. I thought this woman was speaking about my life,” said Tarryn.
“You know when you’re writing your own lyrics people can relate to it because it is difficult to speak about personal feelings, but when you do they are believable.”
Forming the group was all Tarryn’s idea way back in 2010. Just seeing the girls try to scramble to tell the story was fun, but the story itself is quite entertaining.
“During the recession there was no work, so I was on Gumtree looking for a job. That’s how bad it was,” said Samantha. She found an advert that Tarryn had placed on the website which said she was looking for band members.
“We studied together with Sammy so I knew her. She was always in a ballet outfit. Yet when she sent her e-mail she was looking all ‘street’ and because I knew she was hard-working I decided she could join me,” said Tarryn.
Tamsyn came as a referral from one of the people who saw the ad.
“I didn’t know the girl who referred me to Tarryn but she had seen me perform in school. So when I heard about the ad I was still at college. I got a call from Tarryn and she said, ‘Hi, do you want to be in a band’, and I was like ‘okay’,” said Tamsyn and they all broke into laughter. The name agreed on at the time was La Vuvuzela, and they came out with a few tracks that made them popular, especially during the World Cup. But things didn’t go as planned after the soccer showcase was over. “We left the band and they still carry on. It was just us in La Vuvuzela, but when we decided to leave we had to leave the name too because someone else owned it,” said Tarryn.
“We chose to walk away because we felt that we had grown and that we were done doing pop and we had something else we wanted to share,” said Samantha.
Then the name BlackByrd was inspired by the Paul McCartney song Blackbird.
“We stepped out of being popular to becoming nothing. We were broke with no name and we sat down and discussed what we wanted to do,” said Tamsyn.
“Tarryn started writing music and we all learned to play the guitar. In Paul McCartney’s song he talks about a black bird yearning to be free to fly again once more.”
Having worked with the great Mike Fuller in the past, the girls were thrilled to know that he wanted to work with them again.
The man who shaped the careers of greats like PJ Powers and Steve Kekana got hold of the girls and guided them on how to bounce back.
“He was absolutely amazing to work with. He lives in Krugersdorp and we would always drive for an hour and 15 minutes to get there. He gave me a book called Cracking The Songwriting Code which I’m so grateful for because I discovered a whole world of songwriting that I didn’t know of,” said Tarryn.
With Fuller leading the way and EMI backing the project, the album Strong came out last week and has been doing well on radio.
• Strong is now available at your local music store.