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Tamar Berk doesn’t need your permission

“I see other women do this, too.”

Tamar Berk
Tamar Berk

While still living in Chicago, singer-songwriter Tamar Berk played in power pop group Starball, known for their 2001 track “New Year’s Day” (“I wanted to write a holiday song”). She movied on to an electro-punk duo with her husband, then a Small Faces cover band called Deep Joy, then Sweet Heat, then The Pynnacles, and her group Paradise recorded three albums, including a rock opera. After relocating to San Diego by way of Portland, her solo album The Restless Dreams of Youth was released last year.

A new single and video for “Your Permission” drops February 24. “It’s the first single, of two, off of my upcoming LP that’s slated to be released in April or May. I had written this song as a one-minute vignette, as sort of a little experiment a few years ago. There are days, or even periods of my life, when I just want to stop having to be me, and step outside of myself and be someone else — to not have to deal with my usual anxieties, issues, and the obsessive thoughts in my head. Just the thought of not being in my head, even for just a day, seems so incredibly liberating. My thoughts can be quite intrusive and annoying, and I suppose it would be nice to experience not having to deal with being myself for a day, or with making any decisions. The title of the song ‘Your Permission’ came to me as I thought about moments when I find myself apologizing for stating my opinion, needing something, or simply standing up for myself. My first instinct is always to apologize, which I find myself doing sometimes. I see other women do this, too. The title is ironic. I guess I should say that, because, well, you never know.”

Berk wrote and produced the song, as well as playing piano, guitar, Wurlitzer, and strings. “The other local musician on the track is lead guitar virtuoso Chris Davies” of Chloe Lou & The Liddells, and The Penetrators. “My drummer, Matt Walker [Morrissey, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage] recorded his parts in his studio in Chicago, and Matt Thomson [Maita] played bass on the track while in his studio in Portland. I’m lucky enough to have Sean O’Keefe (Plain White T’s, Fall Out Boy) who mixed and mastered the single, and who, incidentally, mixed the track in his Chicago studio.”

Video:

Tamar Berk "Shadow Clues"

Since the The Restless Dreams of Youth release, Berk has been awash in recognition. Her world-class single “Shadow Clues” earned positive reviews in Northern Transmissions and Stereo Embers Magazine. The track also appeared on the 2021 edition of the local music compilation series Staring at the Sun, and video versions include a Tiny Desk Concert duo rendition and a live-in-studio performance on Episode 12 of the local music internet program MusicSceneSD TV. Recently, the Woody Radio (Cult of Woody) blog feature Mike Lidskin’s Artist of the Year named her as this year’s Top Performer.

She spent New Year’s Eve wearing a favorite old dress. “It was the year 2001, and I went to the Grammys in this gold dress. I stayed with a friend who lived in the Hollywood Hills, and we took a limousine and I felt very important. I sat way up in the nosebleed seats, but I was in heaven. That particular year, Eminem was performing ‘Stan’ with Elton John, who was accompanying on piano and singing Dido’s part. I was literally dying: crying, shaking, and losing my mind. Madonna opened the show with ‘Music’ and NSYNC performed some really boring song, and Faith Hill was the queen of country with her song ‘Breathe.’ Afterwards, we party-hopped and I drank and ate at every party and then, somehow, I lost the folks I was with, so I just wandered around alone going from room to room, which was filled with lots of music industry people. I kept drinking and schmoozing and soaking it all in. I will never, ever give this dress away, because of that night and those memories.”

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Tamar Berk
Tamar Berk

While still living in Chicago, singer-songwriter Tamar Berk played in power pop group Starball, known for their 2001 track “New Year’s Day” (“I wanted to write a holiday song”). She movied on to an electro-punk duo with her husband, then a Small Faces cover band called Deep Joy, then Sweet Heat, then The Pynnacles, and her group Paradise recorded three albums, including a rock opera. After relocating to San Diego by way of Portland, her solo album The Restless Dreams of Youth was released last year.

A new single and video for “Your Permission” drops February 24. “It’s the first single, of two, off of my upcoming LP that’s slated to be released in April or May. I had written this song as a one-minute vignette, as sort of a little experiment a few years ago. There are days, or even periods of my life, when I just want to stop having to be me, and step outside of myself and be someone else — to not have to deal with my usual anxieties, issues, and the obsessive thoughts in my head. Just the thought of not being in my head, even for just a day, seems so incredibly liberating. My thoughts can be quite intrusive and annoying, and I suppose it would be nice to experience not having to deal with being myself for a day, or with making any decisions. The title of the song ‘Your Permission’ came to me as I thought about moments when I find myself apologizing for stating my opinion, needing something, or simply standing up for myself. My first instinct is always to apologize, which I find myself doing sometimes. I see other women do this, too. The title is ironic. I guess I should say that, because, well, you never know.”

Berk wrote and produced the song, as well as playing piano, guitar, Wurlitzer, and strings. “The other local musician on the track is lead guitar virtuoso Chris Davies” of Chloe Lou & The Liddells, and The Penetrators. “My drummer, Matt Walker [Morrissey, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage] recorded his parts in his studio in Chicago, and Matt Thomson [Maita] played bass on the track while in his studio in Portland. I’m lucky enough to have Sean O’Keefe (Plain White T’s, Fall Out Boy) who mixed and mastered the single, and who, incidentally, mixed the track in his Chicago studio.”

Video:

Tamar Berk "Shadow Clues"

Since the The Restless Dreams of Youth release, Berk has been awash in recognition. Her world-class single “Shadow Clues” earned positive reviews in Northern Transmissions and Stereo Embers Magazine. The track also appeared on the 2021 edition of the local music compilation series Staring at the Sun, and video versions include a Tiny Desk Concert duo rendition and a live-in-studio performance on Episode 12 of the local music internet program MusicSceneSD TV. Recently, the Woody Radio (Cult of Woody) blog feature Mike Lidskin’s Artist of the Year named her as this year’s Top Performer.

She spent New Year’s Eve wearing a favorite old dress. “It was the year 2001, and I went to the Grammys in this gold dress. I stayed with a friend who lived in the Hollywood Hills, and we took a limousine and I felt very important. I sat way up in the nosebleed seats, but I was in heaven. That particular year, Eminem was performing ‘Stan’ with Elton John, who was accompanying on piano and singing Dido’s part. I was literally dying: crying, shaking, and losing my mind. Madonna opened the show with ‘Music’ and NSYNC performed some really boring song, and Faith Hill was the queen of country with her song ‘Breathe.’ Afterwards, we party-hopped and I drank and ate at every party and then, somehow, I lost the folks I was with, so I just wandered around alone going from room to room, which was filled with lots of music industry people. I kept drinking and schmoozing and soaking it all in. I will never, ever give this dress away, because of that night and those memories.”

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