Karra is a young Slovenian musician who, after a three-year hiatus, returned to her great love – music – after she already missed creating. Tinkara Nared, as her real name is, fulfilled her big wish years ago, but she remains hungry for challenges, and she has listeners to thank for continuing to believe in herself. “Each of my songs is a confession, sometimes direct, and sometimes skillfully disguised in words, and this is my way of expression, consolation. Some people write diaries, but I have a notebook full of texts, verses and rhymes,” the young Notranjka confided to us, among other things.
It’s been five years since your debut single ‘Don’t Lie’. How has your musical expression changed during this time?
It’s true, sometimes when I think that it’s only been five years since then, it’s quite unbelievable, but at the same time, I’ve actually grown up as a person, graduated, started a full-time job… From the beginning, I look at music as my expression, my hobby, but at the same time I like to share it with others. When I started, I had one wish – to be heard on the radio, and I managed to do that quickly with the first, second and third singles. Then, for a while, I completely distanced myself from my desires, because I was struggling with insomnia and burnout, which completely reversed my priorities, and I didn’t really have the desire to create music. Now that I’m feeling great again and returning to the scene after a break, I must admit, the desires keep coming. And I know that I will realize one by one, because I really missed both the creation and the reactions of people when they hear my piece for the first time.
What have you learned all these years and what have your listeners taught you?
Ugh, given that I’m older and suddenly closer to my thirties than my twenties, I’ve learned a lot, and most of all I’ve matured, both vocally, mentally and as a musician. I am grateful to my listeners for teaching me to believe in myself. Despite the three years of absence – as much as it has been since my last single – they are still here and that gives me extra motivation. I look forward to new musical opportunities and challenges that the future brings.
“Song of the Stars” was written by the already famous Tone Pavček, but the story of the two is different. What inspires you to write your music and how much are your lyrics a personal statement?
I wrote songs already in primary school, sang them and published them on my Facebook profile. For me, it goes hand in hand, and it’s really hard for me to imagine publishing something I didn’t write. Just about every text has behind it a million unspoken words, unshed tears and unembodied feelings. In Song of the Stars, I wrote exactly this:A thousand songs are about the same feeling, I have a thousand questions about that moment.” Each of my songs is a confession, sometimes direct, sometimes cleverly disguised in words, and this is my way of expression, comfort. Some keep journals, but I have a full notebook of lyrics, verses and rhymes.
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So music has a kind of therapeutic effect for you. What else does it bring to your life?
Music has been with me since I can remember. I have four older sisters and one brother and on our shared computer the music player was full of different genres and I could still sing almost all the songs to this day. My sisters and cousins and I had a lot of performances for the family and each other, and I always enjoyed it incredibly. Music in general is the most beautiful art for me. How many feelings and words are carried by a single piece, especially for me, who is a “sucker” for texts and with every piece that I like, I delve into the details and between the lines, looking for a story and a contact for identification. To me, it’s quite bizarre – so many ideas, rhymes and “fillings”. I really enjoy listening to music, but also singing, of course.
How difficult is it to succeed on the Slovenian music scene, how demanding is the Slovenian audience and how difficult is it to be different, unique?
Huh, first let me say that I think the definition of success is different for every musician. I myself have already turned down an opportunity that would have been a great stepping stone for me because I didn’t feel capable or ready. Otherwise, I think that there is a lot of space on the Slovenian scene, I have the feeling that we really support each other. I am really proud and root for all Slovenian musicians who are my age. I think that every musician, especially here, is unique in his own way and that the listeners also feel him as unique. For example, Eva Boto blows me away with her energy, Ari with her charisma and voice, Gaja Prestor with her sensuality, Anabel with her thoughtful lyrics. I see something in each of them that draws me.
The audience, yes, not everyone is for everything, I think it’s easy to catch the recognition train here, but you have to work to stay on it. You need to be seen and heard quite often so you don’t get lost. That’s why I took a big risk when I kept quiet.
What are your musical ambitions?
I don’t have any set goals, for now I’m just happy to be back. The desires I have are not exactly within reach, I will still have to work on it, but I know I will catch them. The first wish is definitely to start performing. I avoided and feared this so much that I politely declined all opportunities, but now I think I’m ready.
Do girls have a harder time in music than boys? There is a lot of sexualization in the music industry. Are women still undervalued in this business? Do you have any negative experiences yourself? What is it like to be a woman in this extremely competitive, male-driven industry?
In the music industry, women still face particular challenges, including sexualization and stereotypes that can affect their success. It’s true, the pace is also dictated by men in our scene, more male than female performers fill the halls, more music is released by men. However, I think that slowly, but really slowly, gender equality is improving in the music scene as well. I notice that women support each other more easily and above all more in this industry than men. I think that alone tells us that we are somehow on the same side together, because there is less of that with men.
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What does success mean to you and what means the most to you in life?
For me, success means that I am at a point where I live comfortably, I am true to my values and that I strive to be a better version of myself in all areas of life. Being happy and healthy means the most to me, because that’s the only way I can share my happiness and energy with the others I love the most in the world, and that those closest to me are healthy and happy. My family and friends who have become family are my greatest assets.
Music today is not only listened to, but also watched. How much do you spend on your appearance or how important a part of your musical image is it?
I have almost twenty tattoos on my skin, I never settle for a boring hairstyle and I really like to wear make-up. As for the style of clothing, I could slowly decide on a style of clothing that suits me and wear it confidently, but I’m not there yet, it’s not that important to me. (laughs) In general, it is a big plus for a musician’s identity if he has a fierce style.
How is Karra different from Tinkara Nared?
Karra dares, Tinkara doesn’t. (laughs) Talking, singing about emotions, exposing yourself with words. My alter ego for music, you could say.
And what is the first thing that you would say defines you as a musician or stand out from the rest?
As a musician, I am primarily defined by my emotional involvement in each piece. What I sing about is feeling that this is my story and that I really feel it and tell it.
How did you get into music in the first place, when was that turning point when you said you wanted to be a solo artist? When did music suck you in?
All credit goes to Luka and Žan. I started creating with Luka Šviglje in elementary school, and he was the one to whom I entrusted the visual story of the first three singles. With Žan Serčič, I got the feeling for the first time that music is something I know and can do. He is the producer of all my songs released so far. He is the one who encouraged and mentored me, taught me everything I practically know about recording and releasing music, and for which I am immensely grateful. After I sent him the first demo for Don’t Lie and the answer was: “When are you coming to record?”, I felt for the first time that this was it, that now it’s really happening.
You are a romantic at heart. What does your perfect date look like and what does the perfect man look like?
Good food, good music and that there is no shortage of topics to talk about. No matter where, as long as it’s with someone who’s funny and talkative.
When you look into the future… What do you see?
That I will create. But that’s all I really want for myself. To not give up and to write, sing and fill my soul with this.
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Would you rather create a hit song that gets played non-stop on the radio, or would you rather release a song that really resonates with people but may not be to everyone’s taste? Or if I ask another way. When you make music, what drives you? Do you also have thoughts with the listeners? What is your priority? That the music really only comes from you, that it will be likeable, different or a combination of the above?
I’d rather see it touch people. What drives me is to give everything that is too difficult out of me and to channel it into a song. I never went after what people would like, I always looked at how I could be the most authentic, how I could make this rhyme more beautiful, how I could sing it better, so that I would be satisfied. The fact that I can share it with people and that it touches people is the most beautiful part of the whole process.
What is the definition of good music for you?
The pieces that attract me are “catchy”, but as I mentioned before, I’m quite weak when the lyrics are deep and carry a story. That buys me. I’m a really lyrical guy, I like reading books, poetry, and it’s really important to me not only that the melody goes to the ear, but that the piece is not empty, that it has a soul.
Author’s music does not make a comfortable living in Slovenia. Besides music, you probably also do something else. Since Google knows very little about you other than your music, I’m wondering if you could tell us who Tinkara is when she’s not Karra?
It’s true, music will always be a “side kick” for me, a hobby and something that makes me happy. Otherwise, I am a graduate of media studies, and I work in a communication agency, where I deal with digital marketing and social networks. But I still sometimes get carried away behind the bar, which was also my student job for seven years. I like to help organize and promote local community events, and I spend most of my time with my dog, Skye, who makes sure I get some time to spend in nature without screens, which are often in use due to the nature of my job.
When was the most embarrassing time in your life?
I’m quite clumsy myself, so it would be easy for me on a daily basis. (laughs) Just on Tuesday, at the pre-premiere of a music video I had for friends and family, I tried to fold the screen for the projection, and it fell on my head. Otherwise, I’m the type to laugh at myself and take everything as fun.
Do you and Žan Serčič have a new project in Paca? Can we also expect your debut CD soon?
We haven’t talked about it yet, Žan is currently destroying the scene with crazy pieces, preparing the release of his new album and I’m really proud of him. I think I’m the first buyer of both of his albums that he’s released, so I’ll have to be on standby to keep the tradition going. (laughs) I will definitely release another piece soon, but in my career I would like to release at least an EP, if not even a CD. That would be quite a nice move, but above all, she would be very proud of herself.
What has been the most important realization for you so far?
That inner peace is extremely important, that it is worth gold to go to sleep with a clear conscience and that life is one, so I must live it in such a way that I will never regret that I missed something, that I didn’t say something, that I prefer to remove myself from situations, companies or jobs where I don’t feel good because I can do it and after all I have to.
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