Tara Beier was standing in Joshua Tree when she was hit with a vision, a realization so bright and life-affirming that she couldn’t possibly ignore it. The singer-songwriter had been struggling in her life, particularly with relationships and learning how to untether herself so she could live fully and freely. “It was a moment of self realization which was life changing for me,” she says. “It was the moment that I realized how I could finally break free from what was holding me back personally in my life, to go full forward into my true self, without limitation.”
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During the height of Covid last year, Beier escaped Los Angeles to the rugged landscape, and she soon began questioning many things in her life. “Our voices deserve to be heard. When they are denied, it causes incredible pain. It makes us feel invisible and lowers our self worth. Standing up to tell your truth is a brave, courageous act,” she tells American Songwriter. “But what if people don’t want to hear it? What if people reject and belittle you just for saying the truth? This can cause a lot of pain and frustration. From my personal experience, I kept trying for certain people to validate my truth.
“I kept trying to climb over the towering white wall of denial and fear. As soon as I got to the top, I was pushed back down. I tried to break through the wall and that was useless, as well,” she continues. “Time and time again, I kept trying for those to see me, to hear me and they just pushed me back over the wall over and over again.”
Exhausted and tired, the Vancouver native “realized I had to stop fighting for them to acknowledge my pain, that they would never take accountability. The only logical thing I could do was walk away from that great big white wall, forever. The moment I realized that the people on the other side will not change, that they only want to see what they want to see, was the moment I was forced for my livelihood and sanity to walk away.”
Beier’s piano-based new song “Free Yourself,” produced by Andy Mack (Vera Blue), serves as her departure from the past, as she learns to soar again and head into the light. Now, I’ve got to walk away to save myself, she vows across fizzy, ethereal production.
In reclaiming her life, Beier bounds forward, marking a clean, exciting path forward. “Making the step to realize this─to surrender and accept the hard truth that they will never change or give me what I want─was the moment I broke free,” she says. “There was another way out. I didn’t need to try to go over to the other side of the white wall anymore. I could just walk away from it, into God’s light, into loving myself.
“We waste so much time sometimes with negative energy or we get confused, often twisted by other people, that we lose ourselves. The whole point of ‘Free Yourself’ is relinquishing ourselves from the chains that prevent us from fulfilling our lives. But first we have to recognize it. Many people do not even know they are in pain and go to alcohol, drugs, unhealthy lifestyles as a way of self soothing, to numb the pain. We have to understand what the problem is, face it and then accept it. Accept that you cannot change people, that you can only change yourself.
“It’s not easy to walk away sometimes but we have to constantly remind ourselves that we have a right not to put ourselves into negativity,” she adds. “We have a right to walk away from toxic relationships that do not serve us, we have a right to our own happiness.”
Now splitting her time between LA and Joshua Tree, Beier typically begins her songwriting process through nurturing seeds of ideas first, and then “asking myself if it can be relatable to an audience,” she says. Tinkering around with chords on piano or guitar comes next, until the right combination presents itself, followed soon by the chorus. “Once that’s set down strongly, I go to the writing of the lyrics. I throw down all options of lyrics on a page and then start testing it with the tune, keeping and crossing off what works.
“I love to take all my concepts, ideas, and visions and bring them all together into an album with one cohesive intention or direction. It usually comes together naturally in its own way to express a certain time in my life,” she continues. “And to bring that from myself on my own, from what comes from inside of me, is so rewarding. Songwriting is access to my true self, my true voice.”
Usually an early-morning songwriter, “when my head is fresh,” she stresses, she’ll “dabble about with my piano or guitar. Lyrics come often before I go to bed or [when I] can’t sleep in the middle of the night. I know when I need to stop because I don’t want to overdo it. Taking time to breathe between parts is imperative to the creative process; it’s like putting together a puzzle. When it’s finished, it feels good.
“Songwriting to me is getting your message and story across through the fluidity or medium of music. You can’t make change or impact by forcing it in people’s faces,” she says. “I love songwriting because it tells a story, in poetry with the sound of music. Each song is like a visual film in my head, expressed through tune and emotion. The images of life take me there.”