On Stage: Tiffany looks to make her mark in North America

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times


Korean American pop star Tiffany, who will make her Philadelphia debut with a show at Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, 215-232-2100,www.utphilly.com) on November 6, has a lot of talent and a lot of followers on social media. She also has a lot of names.

Tiffany, as she is known in Korea, is also known as Tiffany Young, Stephanie Young Hwang, Tiffany Hwang, and Hwang Mi-young.

Even the K-Pop singing group Tiffany is a part of has several names. The main name is Girls’ Generation and it is also known as SNSD. Sonyeo Sidae (SNSD) is the band’s Korean name (소녀시대) from the Sino-Korean root meaning “Generation of Girls.” And, there also is Girls’ Generation-TTS, which is also known as TTS, TaeTiSeo, or Girls’ Generation-TaeTiSeo. The first sub-unit of Girls’, it is composed of three Girls’ Generation members: Taeyeon, Tiffany, and Seohyun.

Tiffany, who is the 2019 “Best Solo Breakout iHeart Radio Award Winner,” is on the road with her “Magnetic Moon North American Tour” — her first ever North American Tour. The tour takes its name from her recent single “Magnetic Moon.” Tiffany’s brand-new single is “Run for Your Life.”

“This tour will have a live band along with me and two beautiful dancers,” said Tiffany, during a phone interview last week from a tour stop in Minneapolis.

“We’ll be performing my singles and lots of different covers.  One of my favorite covers we’re doing is Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball.’ We’re also playing some Girls’ Generation songs such as ‘Run Devil Run’ – some really good K-Pop.”

Tiffany’s discography as a solo artist includes two EPs, 10 singles and 12 soundtrack appearances. She debuted as a member of Girls’ Generation in August 2007 and has since achieved immense popularity on the Asian music scene. Tiffany also has recorded tracks for soundtracks for various television drama series and films.

Her career as a solo artist began in May 2016 with the release of her debut extended play “I Just Wanna Dance.” Following the release of four non-album singles in 2018, Tiffany released her second extended play, “Lips on Lips,” in February 2019, which was supported by the lead singles “Born Again” and “Lips on Lips.”

Unlike most K-Pop stars, Tiffany was not born in South Korea. She was born in the San Francisco area and grew up in Diamond Bar, a city in eastern Los Angeles County, California where more than half the population (52 per cent) is Asian.

“Diamond Bar was a great place to grow up,” said Tiffany. “There is a large Korean community there.

“I started dancing when I was in fourth grade and played flute in the classical orchestra around the same time. I didn’t start singing until I was in middle school. I got scouted for my singing when I was 15 and got signed when I was 18.

“I was first introduced to K-Pop when I was in middle school. I also watched a lot of K-Drama (television series in Korean language that are made in South Korea). My mom was a big fan of K-Drama. I was in South Korea when I was younger and also went there briefly on summer vacations as I was growing up.”

Tiffany developed a love for K-Pop when she was living in Southern California.

“I was a big fan of BoA,” said Tiffany, referring to Kwon Bo-ah who is a South Korean singer, songwriter, record producer and actress active in South Korea and Japan. “I connected with BoA a lot and identified with her story.

“I was in South Korea in training when I was still in high school. It was different in 2004 when I got there. I just trained for the first two years. In early 2007 was when Girls Generation’ was set to debut. Prior to that, I had nights of uncertainty and darkness.”

Tiffany attended Korea Kent Foreign School and was trained at SM Entertainment for almost four years. She officially debuted as a member of Girls’ Generation in August 2007.

“Girls’ Generation is still the same band from 2007,” said Tiffany. “There is a new chapter where some of us are doing solo careers but we’re still so together. Being together 12 years has created a level of trust. We’re a family of girls who wanted to make it their generation.

“Not having grown up in Korea was an adjustment for me at first. They still joke that I’m their ‘American Friend.’ But I am also Korean. After all these years in Korean culture, I have to eat Korean food at least once a week.”

Video link for Tiffany — https://youtu.be/Rp8sVAr6yGY.

The show at Union Transfer will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.

Brendan James

On November 6, two other venues in downtown Philadelphia will be featuring acclaimed singer/songwriters – Brendan James at the World Café Live and Old Man Luedecke at City Winery.

James, who is headlining a show at the World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com), is in the middle of his first North American tour since 2016. He just released a new single, “Through Our Hands,” to coincide with the first date in Austin at the Cactus Cafe.

“There is just a single for now,” said James, during a recent phone interview from his home in Johns Island, South Carolina.

“There is an album in the works. I just released the single on September 26. It was a month in the making. I’ve been writing with my friend Craig Meyer.”

James was off the road for a while for a special reason. He took a hiatus from touring, sold his house and hit the road with his wife and pre-school aged children.

The new single, “Through Our Hands,” is an autobiographical telling of his family’s trip to 10 countries,

“We started the trip in June 2018,” said James. “Part of it was about simplifying things – too much house, too much mortgage, too many possessions.

“We weren’t focusing on the right things with the kids – a one-year old boy and a four-year old girl. We wanted to spend time with each other as a family. We started the trip in Amsterdam.

“The biggest moment of my music career was the response to the trip. We had support from fans around the world. We went to 10 countries and half the time stayed for free with fans. Our goal was to be not continually on the road. We’d go somewhere and stay there for a week interacting with the locals.

“From Holland, we went to Chichester, England and then to Paris. We spent three weeks in Florence, Italy. Then, we were off to Croatia and then Spain and Granada.

“Our stay in Iceland was great. With its unique landscapes, it was like another planet. And, we got to see the Northern Lights while we were there.

“After that, we traveled to Africa. We went to Kigali in Rwanda where we saw Hutu and Tutsi memorial sites. Then, it was Thailand – a place called Chang Mai. The final stop was Golden Bay on New Zealand’s North Island. That’s where our money ran out.”

Now, James is back home in the Charleston area and working again on his career as a singer/songwriter and performer.

“Initially, I’m going to release singles,” said James. “We just started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the album. I hope to release a couple singles before the album. Most of the songs come from the trip.”

On his trip that circumnavigate the world, James and his family stayed in each country a minimum of 15 days. They avoided tourist attractions, sought out local playgrounds and shopped at grocery stores to cook family meals together.

According to James, “That trip around the world was fuel for my soul. I did nothing but hang with my family and write new songs.  It was incredible. Now I get to play them on this tour and share all the stories with my fans. I really can’t wait.”

Video link for Brendan James — https://youtu.be/I8_ED9Gm3cs.

The show at the World Café Live, which has Pete Muller as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22.

Old Man Luedecke

Old Man Luedecke is the recording name of two-time Juno Award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter and banjo player Chris Luedecke of Chester, Nova Scotia. On November 6, Luedecke will headline a show at City Winery (990 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, citywinery.com/philadelphia/).

Luedecke, who has a strong fan base in America, is a much-honored musician north of the border.

Luedecke’s 2008 album, “Proof of Love,” won a 2009 Juno Award for traditional folk album of the year. in 2011, Luedecke won the same award for “My Hands are on Fire and Other Love Songs.” In 2012, “Tender is the Night” was released and picked up a Juno nomination as well as “Folk Album of the Year” from Music Nova Scotia.

In 2019, Luedecke recorded his latest album, “Easy Money,” at Montreal’s hotel2tango studio with local folk musicians Howard Bilerman, Afie Jurvanen, Fats Kaplin and Tim O’Brien.

“I made the new album a year ago in the summer and it was released this June,” said Luedecke, during a phone interview last week from a tour stop in Minneapolis.

“I had Tim O’Brien join me on a couple tunes. I made the album in Montreal, but I did some of the initial tracking at a songwriter’s retreat in Banff.

“The songs had come about in different ways. One was a cross between Jimmy Buffett and calypso with a Maritimes flavor.

“I’ve been living in the Maritimes (a region comprised of Canada’s Maritime provinces) for 15 years. Before that, I was living in Dawson City in the Yukon Territory.”

The Yukon was vastly different from his hometown Toronto.

“As a young person, I knew that you could work up in the Yukon and live inexpensively,” said Luedecke. “I had been reading Thoreau. I graduated from Magill University in Montreal as a lit major.

“I went to the Yukon because I heard you could live in tents for nothing – and it was the 100th anniversary of the Klondike Gold Rush. Mainly, I went up there because I wanted to read books in the woods.

“The summer I met my wife, I was living in Dawson City. A friend from there recommended the move to Nova Scotia. I wanted to move away from the city. So, we moved to Chester. We got married there and found a cheap apartment above a two-car garage. I still play shows in the Maritimes quite a bit.”

Luedecke has been making music now for more than two decades.

“My dad was into classical music, so I was exposed to that,” said Luedecke. “Then, I got into folk music when I was in high school.

“I bought a banjo in 1998 and found I had a passion for it. I felt I could do organic and highly personal music. I always wanted to write. I recorded my first album in 2003 and I’ve been making one every two or three years ever since.”

Video link for Old Man Luedecke — https://youtu.be/V48ExYhRaSM.

The show at City Winery will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $16, $18 and $20.

Out in the suburbs on November 6, the Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) is presenting a show by Trigger Hippy — a rocking, grooving band featuring bassist/vocalist Nick Govrik, guitarist/vocalist Ed Jurdi, vocalist Amber Woodhouse, and drummer Steve Gorman (who was one of the founding members of the Black Crowes).

Trigger Hippy

Trigger Hippy was initially formed as a casual collaboration between Govrik, Gorman and other Nashville musicians. The band made its live debut in February 2009.

“The band really started 15 years ago,” said Gorman, during a phone interview last week from his home in Nashville. “The first time Nick and I jammed, we hit it off. We became a rhythm section after two hours.

“We were very copasetic as a rhythm section right off the bat. The first time we used it was in 2009 at a gig in Macon, Georgia. Trigger Hippy originally was me, Nick and whoever else was available.”

“Nick is a great songwriter, so we started putting songs together. In 2013, we put out an EP. In 2014, we made our first album and toured to support it. After that, we took some time off.”

Trigger Hippy infuses heavy doses of Southern rock, country and soul with elements of funk, blues, and three-part vocal harmonies. The band’s self-titled album in 2014 was a successful debut which American Songwriter gave four-stars and called it — “one of this year’s finest Southern soul-rock releases.”

In the summer of 2015, the band announced that it was going on a lengthy break. Now, Trigger Hippy is back with a recharged lineup.

The band’s first album in five years, “Full Circle & Then Some,” was released on October 11. The album’s first single, “Don’t Wanna Bring You Down,” got a nice writeup in Rolling Stone Country, which named Trigger Hippy in its list of the 25 Best Performances at AmericanaFest.

“Two years ago, Nick and Ed and I were trading songs,” said Gorman. “We found Amber in 2018. When she joined, we knew this was the line-up.

“We have our own studio in Nashville. We recorded the album in late 2017 and throughout 2018. We went in the studio a few days at a time. We recorded songs that mixed and matched well. We like the way these songs fit together.

“In the live shows, we play three or four from the first album, but the arrangements are a little different. Every song from the new album is in the mix and there are some covers that we add.

“We open up the songs a bit. We extend the solos. There is plenty of room for improvisation. But, we don’t go off the grid.”

Video link for Trigger Hippy – https://youtu.be/b7naN8KGpxo.

The show at Ardmore Music Hall, which has Christine Havrilla as the opener, will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and $25.

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