In 1989 Ashley ‘Támar’ Davis was nine years old, auditioning to study with me in Houston. We bonded immediately. Bright-eyed and musically gifted, she was wide open for knowledge. “Indeed extraordinary,” I thought the moment I heard her. Ashley, as she called herself then, reminded me of a Ferrari—fast and furious with tons of flash. As we worked together in the coming years, I introduced to her new ways of using the head voice and voix mixte (the French way of describing the mixing of head and chest voice registers). I was intent upon guiding Ashley to success both as a soloist and as an ensemble singer, since she was an original member of the girl group Destiny’s Child. I asked her to sing the EE and OO vowels mostly. My aim was to take all the weight out of the voice in order to make it pliable.
As life goes, every student must one day leave the classroom, every child must leave home, and every (song) bird must leave the nest and prepare to fly. Arming her undeniable talent with technique, faith, and years of preparation, I could release her. Tamar Davis was ready for her solo career.
In early 2005, at the behest and invitation of famed choreographer Fatima Robinson, Tamar attended an awards show after-party hosted by Prince.
“Can you sing for me?” Prince asked her.
Yes, she could. Tamar blew him away, and the seed began to grow. By the end of the year she signed to Universal Records, for whom she became a Grammy-nominated star.