A life on the mend

Friday, June 25, 2004

Kym Tuvim started playing the piano at age 5, the guitar at 12 and began writing her own songs when she was 9. Now, at 35, Tuvim is a seasoned musician, but tonight marks the first time she has performed her music in Missouri.

This Seattle-based singer-songwriter's performance will be the last Tunes at Twilight show until Aug. 13. She will also perform at an Underberg House Concert on Saturday.

Tuvim grew up in California and moved to Seattle in 1987 to study music at Cornish College of the Arts.

Upon entering school, Tuvim said she knew she wanted to pursue music as a career but did not know what direction it would take her. She started off studying jazz piano but, after deciding it was not a good fit for her, switched her focus to composing.

After years of concentrating on the piano while she was in school, Tuvim turned to the guitar as her instrument of choice after she graduated.

"I was really burned out, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I needed to take a break," she said. Playing the guitar gave her a feeling a freedom.

Eventually, Tuvim's guitar playing evolved into a folk-pop sound. This sound was developed further through Tuvim's love of singer-songwriters like Paul Simon, James Taylor and Joanie Mitchell.

"I've always been drawn to people telling a story that's genuine," Tuvim said.

Like many artists, Tuvim does not like limiting her music to any particular label, but said it can be described as "a big conglomeration of popular forms of music," such as jazz, pop, blues and folk.

Tuvim released her debut album, "When Allegra" in 1996 and followed that up with a self-titled album in 1998. She released her latest album, "On the Mend" last year.

The lyrics on her latest album are introspective and personal, like "I can't feel anymore today. I can't think without something breaking and I can't for the life me, go on like this," from the song "Falling Rain." All the songs deal with the universal subjects of love and suffering.

Most of the songs on the album were written following the death of her mother and Tuvim said recording the material marked a turning point in her healing.

Despite the dark subject matter of many of the songs, Tuvim said "it's also a very uplifting record, I was surprised to find that."

Even though it has been more than a year since she recorded it, Tuvim said she winds up listening to "On the Mend" about every month and is pleased to find that the songs still hold meaning for her.

Tuvim is now starting work on her next album. While she does not yet have a clear idea of where the album is headed, Tuvim said it will be less polished and pop-sounding and have more of a blues and roots feel to it.

Before getting into the studio though, Tuvim still has to spend some more time on the road touring. Not that she minds. "I really love touring," she said. "I love going to different parts of the country and connecting with different people. It's really amazing to have that personnel connection. I feel very blessed to be able to do it."


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