Featured Artist of the Month
October 2022 - Rin Tarsy
About Rin Tarsy
The urge to write music hit our featured artist as a fourth grader, when she wrote a song titled “Angel” with lyrics Rin calls “hilariously cute and innocent”. Singing has been an integral part of her life since as long as she can remember. Her older brother and sister discovered her singing when she was in the eighth grade and she must have made an impression because they made arrangements for her public singing debut. Tarsy told us that they sort of tricked her into singing the national anthem at a school basketball game. The trick worked well for her, as well as her ever growing audience, because once she got over the initial shock, Tarsy felt completely at home in front of a microphone and people.
“I was terrified, but when I stepped up to the microphone it ended up being the most natural feeling I had ever felt,” Rin recalls of that debut. “From there I started taking voice lessons and singing in every musical I could get involved in. I couldn’t possibly sing enough, and I loved learning how the voice itself actually worked.”
Before we further explored her processes and influences, we had to ask about her name. What prompted Catherine Jandernoa to perform as Rin Tarsy? Had we been a wee bit brighter, we would have realized that “Rin” is just a short version of Catherine. As far as her last name is concerned, Rin told us the Tarsy part came about because so many people had trouble spelling and pronouncing “Jandernoa”. She saw this as a perfect opportunity to pay tribute to a beloved family member.
“Tarsy comes from my great aunt Gloria Tarsy who passed away in 2012.” Rin explained. “My Aunt Gloria was one of my heroes and I loved the thought of honoring her and bringing her with me as I make music and share it around.”
Tarsy gave a shout out to singers Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Christina Aquilera and Tamyra Gray as being examples of ladies who “can frickin’ SING” and from whom she took inspiration. She related how the first time she ever heard Mariah on the radio; it was a very impactful moment for her.
“I had never heard a singer sound anything close to how she sounds,” Tarsy said. “Her voice practically froze me, and I was so inspired by the quality, the range, the vocal control, and the sheer emotion coming through every single note.”
Safe to say that emotion, heart, and soul are very important to Rin. These words enter into her answers time and again. Heart and soul are all over the music on her CD “Paradox”. Her current favorite song from the 2021 release is “On Your Side” which she wrote for a friend who has been through the wringer. The gentle song is a singing guided meditation of encouragement assuring the listener that they will be okay, that there is no need to worry and to take your space and your time knowing that Tarsy is always on your side. The song conveys an excellent message for anyone to hear and receive in these troubling times.
“Everywhere!” was the answer to our question regarding the source of inspiration for her songs. Rin believes the best inspiration comes from living life and seeking new life experiences with intention while being present and reflective. She does her best to embrace experiences simply for what they are and to reflect a willingness to be vulnerable when the idea for a song appears.
Tarsy reported that her melodies and lyrics often come to her at the same time, often when she is engaged in some type of mundane or repetitive activity. Other times she might jot some lyrics in a notebook hoping for a melody to take shape when she revisits them. She might get inspired by a concept when she is without a pen handy, and she will record it as a voice memo on her phone and come back later to flesh it out. Some songs are born from a single line with a melody that pops into her head.
“If it grabs me, I’ll hop on and see where it goes,” Tarsy said. “The real gems are when lyrics and melody decide to come together and the whole song flows out. Then I hope I can figure out the right chords to lay underneath this so the song can be what it wants to become.”
Her instrument of choice for composing varies between the guitar and piano. The guitar has been her go-to instrument for most of her writing, but in the last year or so she has been spending a lot more time with the piano.
“Piano feels like a real companion, especially when I’m playing a show; it’s like I have this whole body of an instrument that is there for me, rooting me on and pulling me into the moment, sinking me in and helping me be vulnerable as I sing,” Rin explained.
Tarsy really enjoys the writing and composition part of what she does. She reported that the process, especially after a dry spell, can feel like a lovely warm rain that appears at the exact right moment. The completion of a song feels magical, and she considers the process a miracle of sorts. But for her, the bigger joy comes when she performs her music, and a song really lands with someone in particular or with the entire audience at a gig.
“There is nothing more amazing than hearing someone say that a song I wrote has helped them through a hard time, or when I can see it in their eyes that they connected in a deep way,” Rin stated. “It is absolutely incredible and feels surreal.”
Outside of music, Tarsy loves hiking and getting figuratively lost in the beauty of nature and forgetting about everything else going on in her busy life. She confesses to having a “massive, sweet tooth” which she addresses lately by making her own ice cream. In spite of being surrounded by technology, Rin loves a lot of old school methodology – like sending and receiving snail mail, operating a hand cranked car window, and making use of a paper map.
We hope that what you have read here will lead you to explore the music of Rin Tarsy even further. There are several links below to help you accomplish that. We close with a message Rin included in an email. They reflect and amplify much of what her music conveys. She wrote: “Whoever is reading this, you are incredibly unique. You have something in you that no one else has. You are worth knowing. You are worth discovering and being discovered. Let yourself become. Let yourself be surprised by the person inside you that is dying to be born every single day.”