Tobiah's new release taps into "spirit of kindness prevailing at the moment"
Taken from her album Are We Angels, the track is called Shoulder To Shoulder. As she says, it taps into the spirit of kindness prevailing at the moment.
“It just really struck me and I realised that the words were so appropriate that I decided to release Shoulder To Shoulder as a single. I do think we really are being a lot kinder to each other. We are standing together and supporting each other – and the words just seemed to fit.
“It is about how we give and take in different times, about how parents give to their children and then children give to their parents and about how that’s what life is.
“It is about the fact that people have been so kind to me in my life and about how hopefully I am giving something back. You realise that it is like a circle of giving and taking. You give and you take at different times in your life. My mum (who died earlier this year) gave to me and I hope I gave back to her.”
Love and loss have long been a theme in Tobiah’s music, born out of difficult personal circumstances that saw her grow up not knowing her father and also losing her first husband Julian at the age of just 26. After six years of marriage he died in her arms due to an undiscovered congenital heart problem, a sudden and devastating loss.
“I’ve found the creative process both writing and performing to be very healing because it allows me to connect and express my feelings with others who have shared similar experiences. I always knew that I was helped through that difficult time, but it was only recently that I made sense of it all.”
The lockdown came after Tobiah had completed just one gig on her new tour. She has quickly adapted to performing on various online stages – and is enjoying the opportunities they bring.
“I think we will obviously go back to concerts, but I think it will be a long time before that happens. Can you imagine having to sit so many metres apart from somebody? I don’t know if venues are going to be viable if they can actually only have half their audience in.
“I think it is going to be very difficult.”
But Tobiah doesn’t doubt the eventual return: “There is nothing that beats going and seeing a live performance. (Online performances) are the next best thing for the moment, but the best thing will always be going to see someone perform live.”
Shoulder To Shoulder comes from Tobiah’s recent studio album Are We Angels, one of nine original songs on the recording, written and produced by Tobiah and recorded in her cottage studio overlooking the Sussex Downs. Are We Angels features cellist Caroline Lavelle, piano accordionist Colette O’Leary, Rowan Piggott on fiddle and Simon Callow on keyboards.
“My songs are very visual, about experiences in my life or a story that has caught my imagination. Lyrics are important. I could never write a song that didn’t move me.”
During her career, Tobiah was signed to Chrysalis Music where one of her songs became the subject of a tussle between Janet Jackson and Will Smith, both of whom
wanted to record it.
Smith even rang to plead for the track and lauded her as a “happening-up babe” something that Tobiah found most amusing. Just 30 minutes before, she had been up to her eyes in jelly at the local school’s Christmas party…
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