Dara Starr Tucker
Release date: June 3, 2023
Label: Green Hill Music

Dara Starr Tucker presents her eponymously titled sixth album, Dara Starr Tucker. Referred to as “a fighter for social justice wielding music as a balm,” (Morgan Enos – Grammy.com) the acclaimed vocalist and songwriter melds her presence as a jazz and roots singer-songwriter with her growing notoriety as a social media commentator on race, cultural equity, music, and film on her hotly-anticipated new release. Over the past 18 months, Tucker has amassed an astounding combined audience of one million followers with the largest delegation arriving via the TikTok platform. Her video commentary and original songs have been featured with HBO, FX, OWN Network, Revolt! TV and Ebony/Jet.

On Dara Starr Tucker, the versatile artist showcases six lively original compositions alongside inspired arrangements of modern and classic songs by writers such as Billie Eilish, Bill Withers, John Denver and Kurt Weill. Tucker’s sonority and lyricism arrives with a “penetrating yet comforting, lullaby quality that is awake and assuring.” (Marc Myers – Jazzwax) Her sound is supported by the dynamic musicianship of pianists Aaron Parks, Mike King and James Hurt, bassists Vicente Archer and Greg Bryant and drummer Marcus Finnie.

Tucker’s evocative new project provides needed catharsis in a post-pandemic world with emphasis on self-reflection, mental wellness and, ultimately, healing. “It’s my hope that the songs would speak to others who are experiencing similar things,” Tucker said. “The TikTok platform is unique in that it has given me the opportunity to reach hundreds of thousands of people — numbers that are almost unheard of in the jazz world.” Tucker also acknowledged that her expansive and comprehensive social media reach has the power to reach a much broader audience, including young listeners. “I feel uniquely positioned to connect with people who rarely listen to jazz. When they’ve experienced my social commentary or my satirical videos, and suddenly find out I’m a singer, it sparks their curiosity, and oftentimes, they want to hear more.”

Tucker’s striking compositions are equal parts contemplation and commentary – an approach that has been integral to her artistry well before her social media stardom. One of the highlights of her previous album Dreams of Waking: Music For a Better World (2021, Green Hill) was “Do We Sleep?”, a thought-provoking, musical response to the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, which received praise by American Songwriter. On her self-titled, Tucker ups the ante by presenting six finely-wrought original compositions that undoubtedly elevates her standing as a premier contemporary songwriter in the jazz space.

Of the original compositions, highlights include the album opener “Scars” (and the closing reprise), which is a reminder that past hurts can be instructive and “Falling”, a floaty reflection on the passing of time from the point of view of a loved one who has moved on. The groovy “If You Ask Me To” is a fun, upbeat tune that Tucker wrote on a dare and features the punchy horns of trumpeter Giveton Gelin and saxophonists John Ellis and Stacy Dillard.

A truly multifaceted artist, Tucker displays her mastery at reconfiguring works by others as well. She takes on the emotional Billie Eilish hit “Everything I Wanted” with the empathetic accompaniment of Parks, Archer and Finnie, making it her own with every note. Often used as a concert closer during her live shows, Tucker soars on the traditional roots-gospel hymn “Just A Closer Walk With Thee”, recase here in a buoyant, New Orleans second-line feel.

As evidenced on Dara Starr Tucker, the Philadelphia-based musician is making her mark in the world of organic, heartfelt music by blending the melodic and lyrical richness of the central plains with the soulful strains of the Black American experience. Her eclecticism is guided by the diversity of her narrative. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to a family of singers and ministers, Tucker and her siblings traveled across the U.S. singing with their parents.

From there, Tucker has experienced a diverse array of locales that she has called home including Interlaken, Switzerland; Nashville, Tennessee, New York City and now Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tucker is an alumna of The Woodshed Network, sponsored by 651 Arts and founded by NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater. Tucker has toured with her own bands and also with renowned hybrid guitarist Charlie Hunter. In 2020, she teamed up with blues & Americana artist Keb Mo’ to co-write the title track to his GRAMMY-winning Best Americana Album, Oklahoma. She has appeared on NPR’s Jazz Night in America and made her national television debut on The Tavis Smiley Show on PBS. Tucker’s 2021 album, Dreams of Waking: Music For A Better World reached #7 on the JazzWeek National Radio Charts. Her newest album is recorded by GRAMMY-winning engineer Mike Marciano and produced by Greg Bryant.

“My desire is that people would sense a unity between the content I share online, and the music I make — it all comes from the same place,” Tucker shared.

Dreams of Waking: Music For a Better World
Release date: May 28, 2021
Label: Green Hill Music

Consummate vocalist, songwriter and bandleader Dara Tucker presents fresh and inspired arrangements of classic singer-songwriter and soul compositions of the protest era on her latest album Dreams of Waking: Music For a Better World. Tucker’s powerful new release gives voice to the cry for social justice and change that has swept across the United States in the new decade. Songs from such legendary songwriters as Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway and Paul Simon are presented through a jazz lens with a compelling performance from the vocalist and her illustrious band of musicians. Dreams of Waking: Music for a Better World features Tucker alongside pianists Cyrus Chestnut and Sullivan Fortner, bassists Dezron Douglas and Vicente Archer, drummers Johnathan Blake and Joe Dyson along with saxophonist John Ellis and trumpeter Giveton Gelin.

Dreams of Waking refers to the hope that our society will develop an awareness of the inequities that still exist,” Tucker said. “It’s the dream that we will become fully conscious and attuned to the hopes, dreams and needs of every human being.”

As a songwriter, Tucker is no stranger to composition as commentary as she teamed up in a similar spirit with blues & Americana artist Keb Mo’ to co-write the title track to his 2020 Grammy-winning album Oklahoma. Tucker’s sole original composition for her new album, “Do We Sleep?” issues a passionate call for cultural awakening that echoes the title of the album. “Many of my original songs are internal statements that help to chronicle my growth, experiences and evolution that I hope will inspire others,” Tucker said. “This time, I decided to focus on the external. Are we really awake? What are we doing to give attention to the cries of injustice and inequality, or are we complicit by silence, ignorance or lack of interest and awareness?”

Drawing from the 1960’s and 1970’s, an era that holds special significance to her musical journey, Tucker’s new album brings life to a collection of songs that reaffirm her belief in our shared humanity. The jazz waltz reimagining of James Taylor’s, “Secret O’ Life” and pianist Cyrus Chestnut’s arrangement of Donny Hathaway’s, “Someday We’ll All Be Free” allows Tucker to soar, sonically capturing the spirit of hope and reflection.

The Motown-meets-New Orleans buoyancy of Stevie Wonder’s, “You Haven’t Done Nothin,’” arranged by saxophonist John Ellis, blends party with protest, while Sullivan Fortner’s recast of Paul Simon’s, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” flows both turbulently and steadily with Tucker at the helm.

Dara Tucker is making her mark in the world of organic, heartfelt music by blending the melodic and lyrical richness of the central plains with the soulful strains of the African American experience. Her eclecticism is guided by the diversity of her narrative. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to a family of singers and ministers, Tucker and her siblings traveled across the US singing with their parents. From there, Tucker has experienced a diverse array of locales that she has called home including Interlaken, Switzerland; Nashville, and finally, New York City. Tucker has since toured nationally with her own bands and also with renowned hybrid guitarist Charlie Hunter.

Dreams of Waking: Music For a Better World is her latest in a compendium of innovative studio releases. The resulting 12-song project, recorded by GRAMMY-winning engineer Mike Marciano and produced by Greg Bryant, delves deeply into the national Zeitgeist with a clarion call to all agents of change to build a world that embraces the dignity and humanity of all people.

for Dara Starr Tucker

THIERRY DE CLEMENSAT
PARIS-MOVE
“..this sixth eponymous album from singer Dara Starr Tucker which comes to slip into your ears and which is faultless, both creatively and in interpretation.” Read the top-rated review here.

MATT MICUCCI
JAZZIZ
"Dara Starr Tucker offers a glimpse of her compositions prowess...". She headlines the Jazziz Editor's Choice playlist here.

TERAE STEFON
JAZZ24
News story. Read it here.

JIM HYNES
MAKING A SCENE
"Tucker conducts a masterclass in vocal phrasing while also demonstrating considerable range on the rather intricate swinger, the standout “Standing on the Moon” with an especially locked in core trio." Read the full review here.

BILL BUCKLEY
SOUL AND JAZZ AND FUNK
"Like most of her previous long players, this eponymous album is a collection of originals and well-curated covers." Read the review here.

SANDRA EBEJER
SHONDALAND
Read the full feature here.

BRIANNA BOONE
BET
“This album holds immense value to Tucker, showing her extraordinary talent as a songwriter and singer, combined with the other content she’s accredited for.” Read the review here.

BOBBY PATRICK 
BROADWAY WORLD
Read the review here.

DEE DEE McNEIL
MUSICAL MEMOIR'S BLOG
"This is a very artistic project that features a beautiful voice by Philadelphia-based vocalist Dara Starr Tucker." Read the review here.

MATT MICUCCI
JAZZIZ
View editors choice review here.

MATT MICUCCI
JAZZIZ
"With her unique fusion of jazz and roots influences, she leaves an indelible mark on every note." View full review here.

MATT MICUCCI
JAZZIZ
"Dara Starr Tucker is the eponymous sixth recording from the acclaimed vocalist/songwriter, showcasing his versatility on six lively originals and inspired arrangements of modern and classic songs by such writers as Billie Eilish, Bill Withers, John Denver and Kurt Weill." View full article here.

HOWARD DUKES
SOUL TRACKS
"The song that Tucker wrote is a sunny declaration of the lengths that she or any person would go to fulfill the request of some they truly love." View full article here.

NIC  JONES
JAZZ JOURNAL
"Dara Starr Tucker is a relatively straight soul-inflected jazz singer who, despite being very capable, might well get lost in the ever burgeoning tide of new albums." View full article here.

SUZANNE LORGE
NEW YORK JAZZ RECORD
"Her originals are likewise diverse—among them “Scars”, a fusion of soul-baring lyrics and energetic pulse; “Falling”, a shape-shifter with an engaging hook; and “If You Ask Me To”, a light-hearted, blues-tinged pop tune." Check out the full review here.

BOBBY PATRICK 
BROADWAY WORLD
"Opening with SCARS, her smooth and silky voice was blending so well with her band that… well, Bobby actively noticed it and is writing about it - so there." Read the full review here.

D. OSCAR GROOMES
O'S PLACE JAZZ MAGAZINE

We are graced with the rich vocals of singer, songwriter (and activist) Dara Starr Tucker in her new, self-titled release. She is supported by James Hurt, Aaron Parks or Mike King on piano, bassists Vicente Archer or Greg Bryant, and drummer Marcus Finnie. They open (and close) with the relaxed, inspirational “Scars”. All the lyrics are heartfelt and relevant. Dara adds a taste of gospel on “Just A Closer Walk With Thee”, and romantic moments on “If You Asked Me To”

Tom Haugen TOM HAUGEN
TAKE EFFECT REVIEWS 

'Her jazz and roots influences are present across 12 songs that surround healing, mental wellness and self-reflection..' Check out the full review here.

for Dreams of Waking: Music For A Better World

BRIAN ZIMMERMAN
JAZZIZ
"Tucker’s lovely voice goes from quietly empathetic, urging patience as the arc of justice slowly bends, to a steelier instrument that more forcefully argues for pride and determination in the face of hardship." Read this review here

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MORGAN ENOS
GRAMMY.COM
"On her latest album, Dreams of Waking: Music For a Better World, which arrived May 28, Tucker embraces the urgent, topical works of songwriters both Black and white—from Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder to Paul Simon and James Taylor—as vessels for instruction and healing. " Read the full Grammys.com article here.

JOE VITAGLIANO
AMERICAN SONGWRITER
"Joining the ranks of artists speaking out is vocalist and songwriter, Dara Tucker. Rising to prominence as a co-writer on Keb’ Mo’s “Oklahoma,” Tucker has become adept at channeling her experiences into song, commenting on complex social structures along the way. On April 29, she released “Do We Sleep?” the sole original composition off her new album Dreams of Waking: Music for a Better World.." Check out this feature here

 

DEREK ANSELL
JAZZ VIEWS
Read the review here

MIKE MYERS
JAZZWAX
"There's a comforting, lullaby quality about Dara's penetrating voice that is both aware and assuring."  Read this review here.

 

SUZANNE LORGE
NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD
"Industry-decorated singer Dara Tucker exalts exquisite timbre, stirring melodies and warm harmonies on Dreams of Waking: Music for a Better World..." Review here

PETER QUINN
JAZZWISE
"The brilliance and subtlety of the arrangements, together with Tucker's remarkable storytelling gift, combine to make each one sound bracingly fresh." Read the full review here.

NEWS DESK
BROADWAY WORLD
Read the album announcement here.

HOWARD DUKE
SOUL TRACKS
"Tucker’s vocals prove that songs from the soul and rock era remain an untapped source for straight ahead jazz. " Read this review here.

 

KEANNA FAIRCLOTH
WBGO - THE PULSE
Feature interview. Check it out here

RON WYNN
NASHVILLE SCENE
"The songs are performed in ways that celebrate the rigorous jazz tradition of excellence while speaking to contemporary social and political issues."Review here

 

BILL BUCKLEY
SOUL AND JAZZ AND FUNK
"We’ve said that ‘Dreams Of Waking’ is “mainly” a covers album. The album boasts one Tucker original, ‘Do We Sleep’. This is a gentle, piano led introspection with a melody that pays homage to ‘Pure Imagination’ (which Dara covered on ‘Soul Said Yes’). It ties in perfectly with the album’s aim and in no way sounds out of place amidst such illustrious company." Read this review here

DEE DEE MCNEIL
MUSICALMEMOIRS'S BLOG
"This is a vocalist to watch on her upward rise.  She has the talent, the voice and the delivery to make a difference." Review here

 

BETSY BELL
JAZZ JOURNAL
"Tucker successfully reframes these tracks through a jazz lens, giving a new lease of life to them all." Read the review here.

JIM HYNES
MAKING A SCENE!
"Sometimes the best way to appreciate an artist that one is just getting acquainted with is through familiar material. Tucker brings strong messages but delivers them elegantly and gracefully, without a trace of the preachiness that often turns listeners away from protest fare." Read this review here

 

GEORGE HARRIS
JAZZ WEEKLY
"Singer and songwriter Dara Tucker brings in messages from various composers to create a musical mosaic of hope for a world looking for light." Read the review here. 

SANDRA EBEJER
SHONDALAND
Read the feature here.