Noir-pop newcomer and actress Tara Lee returns with a sinister new single ‘Drive’ (listenhere). The blood-dripping music video. The video was directed by Tara herself and it was inspired by a graphic scene in Adam Wingard’s arthouse horror The Guest (watch now).
The pulsating electronic-pop track hears Tara’s atmospheric vocals soar over neon-lit synths that channels Ladytron and Depeche Mode. She wrote ‘Drive’ with Hurts and Kylie Minogue’s producer Jonas Quant in Gothenburg, Sweden, after managing to convince him over Twitter to collaborate with her.
Tara, 23, hails from a musical family (her father is a film composer and brother, a music producer). She started writing while she trained as a dancer at the Dublin Performing Arts College. It wasn’t until Tara met Jonas on her first writing trip that she found a way to channel her inner pop star.
She said: “I had been writing by myself on piano since I was 15, and although that is my little addiction, I was never able to express this other side of my musicality – the dancing, running wild side. Starting with a beat and some synths, it will bring out a melody or subject matter I didn’t even know I wanted to talk about. I guess co-writing makes you look at yourself more.”
The subject she didn’t expect to write about stemmed from her experience of being slut-shamed as a teenager. ‘Drive’ was conjured when Tara reminisced on all the ‘crazy stories’ she had heard about herself. Much of the feminist undertones in her writing are fuelled by her perspective as a young woman in showbusiness. At 16, Tara catapulted into the national spotlight when she landed a starring role on RTE’s popular series Raw, where she played Emma Kelly for two seasons. Almost overnight came scrutiny about her appearance and perceptions based on the way she dressed.
Tara said: “I remember feeling unfairly judged. Most of these people who were talking about me had never even asked me a question. I think I felt that for a few years, people never saw me beneath a surface layer. So I got in my car at 2am, and I drove through the empty country lanes blasting 80s music – Madonna, Tears For Fears, Whitney Houston – and I felt fucking good. ‘Drive’ is about embracing your demons, even the ones that aren’t real. It’s saying, ‘You think that’s bad? You have no idea’.”
The single follows hot in the steps of Tara’s debut ‘Boyz’, which arrived in August 2018 after she signed a publishing deal with BMG. In the same month, she was featured in Live Nation’s ‘Female Artists to Watch For in 2019’ showcase along with Alice Chater and Maeve in London. ‘Boyz’ earned Tara a place on Spotify’s New Talent playlist and kudos from tastemaker press. A formidable live performer described by Dublin Concerts as “modern, with genuine pop star stage presence”, Tara opened for Hurts on tour last year and is set to support Stealth at St Pancras Old Church, London, on 7 November.
She is currently writing and recording with Justin Broad (Emeli Sandé, Martin Garrix), Blair MacKichan (Sia, Paloma Faith) and Jonas Quant. Tara cites David Bowie, Massive Attack, Blondie and Nick Cave as her main influences.
Further to her music, Tara is one to watch in the film and television world. She has starred alongside Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan in the cult BBC drama The Fall and appeared in two critically-acclaimed films: Moon Dogs (which picked up a slew of international awards) and A Date for Mad Mary (IFTA Award for Best Picture). Tara also recently starred in a lead storyline on the popular BBC drama Eastenders, playing the mysterious newcomer Jessica.