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Tiff Jimber

RIYL

Sara Bareilles, Ben Folds

Influences

Billy Joel, HAIM, Nina Simone
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Tiff Jimber is a pop music singer/pianist in the image, somewhat, of Ben Folds. Her music is both wry and intelligent to the point, at times, of introducing unexpected rudiments into the dialogue. She takes risks: consider “Civil War,” by Guns ‘N Roses, which she covered solo on her Yamaha P140.

Jimber comes from Mount Helix, which is East La Mesa, a pricey sort-of inland La Jolla. “I grew up in a house at the bottom,” she says, as if to discourage any image that she was raised in luxury. “Nowhere near the top of the mountain.”

In the video for her cover of the song “Dynamite,” a couple more or less undresses each other while the song unfolds. It gets steamy. “That’s not me in the video,” she says.

Jimber (real name Tiffany Anne Gyomber) was born in Denver but raised in San Diego. She cut her teeth at open mic nights, including the old Java Joe’s in Ocean Beach. A Berklee College grad who moved to Los Angeles and landed a job doing sound at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, she joined pop-punk band Jera for a while before going solo. Her debut album Obstacles was released in 2004.

In 2011, Jimber performed with Sammy Hagar as part of the VH1 reality TV show Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. “They had different musicians,” she says, “and we were split into three bands. I was in one called the Bad Kick.” Each band, it turns out, backed a celebrity rocker. She recalls Hagar as being the most fun of any of them (Matt Sorum and Duff McKagen, for example) to jam with.

Her album is Burning at Both Ends was released in 2011. Her live show, she says, “is just me on a keyboard. I also do a couple of songs on accordion…the accordion concerns most people. I usually see a look of terror on faces in the audience when I put one on.”

30 years old in 2012, Jimber was living in Santa Monica, though her family still lives in La Mesa. She admits she doesn’t come back to San Diego as often as she’d like. “I really should go down there. I just fall asleep when I do. I can sleep all day long there. Maybe it’s the warm weather.”

What does she miss? Hodad’s, an eatery in downtown La Mesa. “And the beach,” she says. “San Diego has the best beaches. In L.A., you have to walk 200 yards before you get to the sand. The first time I went to the beach in L.A., I’m like, shouldn’t we already be on the sand by now?”

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