Introducing pop-songstress TARINI: a chat about her debut single

Dark, textural beats and a brooding feminine seductiveness: TARINI’s debut track speaks to her internal struggle of parting with her traditional upbringing.

TARINI is a woman on a musical mission. A born performer and with a deep understanding of artistic nuances, she has reserved her drive for the arts until now. After years of trepidation about going against her conservative cultural upbringing, TARINI unveils Do You Wanna Dance? 

Approaching the release of this dark-pop anthem, we had a chat about her wrestle with perfectionism and how she cold-emailed a producer.

HAPPY: Hey Tarini, how’s it going? What do you find yourself doing right this moment?

TARINI: Amazing thank you! I wish I had a more productive answer but I’m honestly just laying in my bed with my pup, she’s in a deep sleep snoring away [laughs]!

HAPPY: A huge congratulations on the release of your debut single Do You Wanna Dance! Tell us about this track?

TARINI: Thank you so much! So, the song is actually written through the perspective of a close friend of mine. I found myself so emotionally invested in a difficult situation she was in, just so hurt for her, and this song was a result of that. Specifically, it’s about a kind of romance where you give everything you can to this person and, although the connection between you and them is so beautiful, the outside world and externalities in life keep pushing the person you’re giving your all to into, not only not reciprocating and refraining from enjoying their true feelings towards you, but also into doing countless selfish and hurtful things to make themselves feel better about the entire situation. The overall concept is sort of a metaphor for like, “can we just stop for a second and enjoy each other?”, something I think too many people have had to feel.

HAPPY: How did your collaboration with Illstrtd, Melbourne producer Stuart B, arise?

TARINI: I honestly just tried my luck and reached out to him through a really embarrassing and rambly email! I sent him a little demo of a song I had produced on Garageband on my phone and he, for some reason, actually responded! I literally could not believe it and am forever going to be so grateful that he did.

HAPPY: So, where does your story with music begin?

TARINI: So, my mum was this amazing artistic powerhouse in the Melbourne Sri Lankan community and she naturally brought my sister and I into the field as early as she could. We sang on a lil’ Sri Lankan radio station when I was three and, that same year, I sang my first solo in front of a couple of hundred people! I sort of just grew up doing that but never really paid much attention to it due to the cultural and language barriers. At the time it was just a thing my mum wanted me to do, so I just did it. But far out, it is something I am so thankful for having now grown up and understood it and I would really like to continue doing it for as long as I can.

HAPPY: With such a beautiful blend of different cultural influences to draw from musically, where do find meaning in lyricism?

TARINI: I’ve always loved to write. I think because I grew up kinda being the weird kid when I was little, I had so many weirdly deep and kinda dramatic thoughts that I couldn’t really express with other seven-year-olds, you know? I have diaries from most years of my life because I could express myself so freely that way, my lyrics sort of follow the same principle. Anything and everything I’m feeling, whatever it may be, I just translate it the best way I can in words!

HAPPY: With so many textural samples and components to your tunes, where do you most often source inspiration for these?

TARINI: Also a bit of a weird thing for me, it wasn’t until I was in the studio with Stuart that I even realised I had a particular taste? For some reason, I never paid attention to where I was drawing my inspo from. Kinda mindless and really slack on my part, but it just never occurred to me that the sounds I liked were coming from somewhere which is like… how does one miss that? I guess I just liked what I liked and, now that I’ve laid it all down, I’m sort of going back and trying to draw connections and figure out where all these preferences came from.

HAPPY: The cover art for this single is incredibly soft and feminine, do you have any plans to translate this to video?

TARINI: I hope so! I’m such a perfectionist so, if I’m in a position where I can get it to be exactly what I’ve envisioned, then yeah, without a doubt!

HAPPY: Who are your favourite women doing well in the industry right now?

TARINI: Oh, I could literally list so many. Every single one doing this thing in this industry blows my mind. I’m in love with Grimes. She’s the kinda person that I’d kill to just have the chance to pick her brain. She’s so powerful yet so real, and just everything I aspire to be. An artist that I only discovered when Stuart told me my sound resembled hers quite a lot is BANKS. I remember going home, listening to her stuff, going back into the studio the next morning and just being like, yep, so I’m in love now.

HAPPY: What’s next for TARINI?

TARINI: As much as I really don’t know where this will go, what I do know is I have a lot of art that I cannot wait to share.

HAPPY: Thank you for your time!

TARINI: Thanks so much for yours. Yay!


Keep an eye out for TARINI’s debut single Do You Wanna Dance, out Nov 14.