Tara Priya (born December, 1989, in San Francisco, CA) is an American retro-soul/pop singer-songwriter. Her eponymous EP debuted to critical acclaim in late 2010. At first reluctant to distract his 11-year-old daughter from her classical piano studies, Tara's father was persuaded to put her into opera training after she starred in the California Theater Center's "Thumbelina". Ironically, Tara cites her father as her sole supporter when she graduated school early to pursue a singing career.
As a young diva, Tara was scolded by her kindergarten teacher for disrupting class by constantly singing. Her music was better received at Columbia University, where jazz and classical coaches “shaped” her voice and supported her singing career. Encouraged by her professors and peers, including a Columbia-Juilliard exchange student with whom she occasionally writes songs, Tara decided to pursue a singing career not by dropping out like a few of her successful Columbia contemporaries (eg, Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill) but speeding through school. In a record 2 ½ years, Tara graduated as an Economics major.
Armed with years of songwriting, stacks of poetry, and intense New York City performances, Tara returned to San Francisco to focus purely on music. In 2010, she met and began collaborating with multi-instrumentalist Jason Cirimele. The pair traveled constantly between San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, in order to play shows and record the "Tara Priya" EP.
After being named 1 of 3 "Pop" finalists in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for her single "Memories", Tara released her EP, gaining distribution in the US and Japan, and played in CMJ Music Marathon and the 2010 Miami Music Festival. In 2011, she was named a Top 25 finalist in Nashville's Music City Songwriting Contest, performed in the NAMM Show, had slots in the Canadian Music Fest and SXSW, and, in March, won the 18th Annual Billboard Song Contest for her song "Rollin'".
Of Indian-Persian ancestry, Tara is the great-niece of famed Persian poet Sohrab Sepehri. When not touring, she resides in Los Angeles.
"For those seeking a soulful jam, Columbia University's latest singing sensation, Tara Priya, offers a nostalgic escape from the autotune avalanche. Her sound is a throwback to the likes of Billie Holiday and Etta James, but never anachronistic. With influences ranging from Tupac to opera, Tara has developed a powerful voice of her own…"
—The Blue and White