Member Monday #52: Tamara Pierce

Member Monday is our favorite part of the Vinyl Junkies newsletter because it helps us celebrate the best part about this community: the patrons! We place the spotlight on our VJ Patrons by asking them to share what makes collecting records so special to them. This week, we’re especially happy to feature VJ Patron #520, Tamara Pierce!

My name is Tamara Pierce, I’m 36 years old  and I live on the Central Coast of California in a little town called Lompoc- just north of Santa Barbara. I grew up in Burbank, California, then moved up to Santa Cruz for a bit before settling here. I have been in the wine industry here for several years now- doing a little bit of everything, both in the winery and the tasting room. It has been an incredibly fitting career and we make some amazing wine here, not to mention we have a turntable and a pretty cool collection of vinyl in our tasting room. Currently, through the pandemic, I am at home full-time, homeschooling and caring for my son, Hunter, who is on the autism spectrum. He is such a great kid and I’m very lucky to be his mom. We also have a sweet Yellow Labrador named “Hero” who is a professionally trained autism service dog. When I am not working or caring for Hunter, I train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is why a lot of the VJ community knows me as “Jiu-Jitsu”.

What was the first album you ever bought, and what media was it? (CD, tape, vinyl, digital)

The first tape I ever bought was Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation. I still love that album so much and revisit it often. So many great tracks that get me moving. 

What drives you to love music?

I’m quite an empathetic individual who has always been in touch with my emotions from a young age.  I feel feelings very deeply and music allows me to get in touch with that part of my soul. Making it, dancing to it, and listening to music has provided a therapeutic soundtrack to the ups and downs of life. I feel in debt to the music gods.

What genres of music do you love?

I am one of those people who can find things I enjoy in most genres. I started out loving Rock but branched out fairly early in life. If you put my playlist on shuffle it makes no sense to most people but I can’t help but see the relevance in so many different kinds of music. I’m always trying to keep an open ear… even if I may not initially “love” or “understand” what the artist composes. I listen to quite a bit of electronic music these days, in particular. 

What is your earliest memory of music?

Being enthralled by my father’s record collection. He had a small but wise selection. I remember watching him put them on and being fascinated by the sounds coming out of the speakers. He listened to a lot of folk, blues and classic rock artists around that time. He is a huge part of why I developed such a love of music. 

What is your most cherished memory associated with music? 

My most cherished memory associated with music would have to be going to my first concert which was New Kids on the Block at Dodger Stadium. I must’ve been around 5 years old. We were practically in the nose bleed section but I remember crying my eyes out because I was so full of emotion and my friend’s mother was looking over at me and asking if they were happy tears or sad tears. Those were some very happy tears and pretty much sums up how powerful music is to me…still to this day. Still love Donnie, too! 

How do you discover new artists, or do you tend to listen to the same artists?

I constantly talk about music and more often than not, it is what I inquire about when I’m first getting to know someone. My friend base is heavily musically inclined- full of music lovers and musicians. With that said, we like to feed eachother new selections when we make a discovery worth sharing. Recently, I have been using Pandora and Vinyl Junkies as a way of discovering new music as well. I am very lucky to have so much time in my days to explore, listen and learn. I “Shazam” anything I hear and enjoy, but am not familiar with yet. 

Please make a Spotify playlist of your top ten tracks or albums of all time.

What made you choose to step up and support this community? What’s your patron number? 

Patron number 520 here! I fell in love with Sam and the Vinyljunkies community while watching the Radiohead reaction videos and immediately subscribed to the YouTube channel to receive notifications. After finding myself popping in to listen more and more often and learning more about how awesome this community is, I felt it was the least I could do in order to support it. My son has also become a patron! We are slowly building up a very special collection of Vinyl together thanks to the inspiration from this community. I really enjoy all of the musical knowledge I seem to be acquiring by becoming more involved in the group. 

What does Hunter like in terms of music? What do you feel music means to him? 

Hunter’s love of music has been obvious from an early age. I remember putting on Tom Waits for him as a baby and he would get the giggles when the more “raspy” songs would come on. Then, as soon as he could operate a DVD player on his own, he would steal my cds from the garage and pop them in. I remember hearing Jimi Hendrix coming from his room one day and being confused. Once I discovered what he had done on his own, it was a proud mom moment! He seems to have a love of female Jazz singers these days…especially Jo Stafford. He loves songs with pretty harmonies. His love of music allows me to see aspects of his personality and peek into his thoughts and feelings when he may not be able to express them due to his non-verbal autism. Music has helped him immensely as far as academics and therapies as it allows him regulate his sensory system and find comfort in an often uncomfortable world. 

Stay tuned for our next Member Monday post! We’ll be featuring more of the stories and collections of our Vinyl Junkies family!

Hungry for vinyl? Looking to add to your collection? We got you covered. You can check out all of the artists mentioned above in our store:

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Member Monday #52: Tamara Pierce