Afro-Caribbean soul child from Curaçao; Tamara Nivillac, singer/songwriter, was born and raised on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. A recording artist, an entertainer, and a songwriter, Tamara denominates her style as “Acoustic Afro-Caribbean Soul”. Her music presents an eclectic mix of R&B, Jazz and Afro-Caribbean styles. Natural, connected to her culture, simplistic yet powerful, Tamara reflects artists such as India Arie, one of her personal favorites. She aims to deliver high quality purposeful music. Performing in English and her native language Papiamentu, Tamara pays tribute to her cultural heritage through her music.
Tamara has been in the music industry for over 10 years now. Currently based in the Netherlands, she has been able to successfully maintain her music career in both Curaçao and Europe. An award winning artist; Tamara formed a solid foundation for her career while she was in Curaçao. Growing up in a musical family, Tamara enjoyed seeing her older sister triumph in Song Festival competitions, winning every one entered. Back then, Tamara was into dancing, but she would imitate and sing along to her sister’s daily rehearsals throughout the household, and that is how she would in time discover her own voice.
At age 13 she would secretly enter her first competition and place second, a pleasant ‘win’ for Tamara. The win for the island’s biggest song festival “Curaçao Talents” and soon after the win of “The Caribbean Gospel Festival” would be the events that spark her interest in a serious career in music. Having the honor to travel throughout the Caribbean representing her island as musical ambassador, she’s performed twice for the Dutch Royal family, and has collaborated with various local celebrity musicians. The move to Europe in 2008 presented Tamara the opportunity to further develop her talents and expand her fan base internationally.
In spring of 2014 Tamara celebrated the official release of her debut single entitled “Gosa”, literally meaning “Enjoy” in English. Performed in Papiamentu & English, the track was written and produced by Stanley Clementina. The message is simple yet powerful; to enjoy the little things in life, appreciate what you have and live life to the fullest. The swinging tunes of “Gosa” most definitely represent Tamara’s Afro-Caribbean roots. Soon after its release, “Gosa” made the top 40 music charts in Curaçao.
Her second single followed in the fall with “Unda” and featured internationally renowned Jazz guitarist Jean Jacques Rojer. This single would also be produced by the same producer as “Gosa” and debuts Tamara as songwriter. In contrast to her swinging debut single, “Unda” is a somewhat melancholic ballad sang entirely in her native language Papiamentu. “Unda” literally means “Where” but in the context of this song it translates to “Where do we go from here”.
Tamara has had the pleasure of creating music with some of the best in her region and internationally. Some notable artist collaborations include; Ced Ride (CUR), George Willems (rip), (CUR), George McCrae (USA), Izaline Calister (CUR), Shirma Rouse (NL), Giovanca (NL), Edsilia Rombley (NL), Berget Lewis (NL), Shuga Turf (JA), Mitchell Brunings (TVoH)(NL), Jamal Thomas (USA), Minyeshu (Ethopia), Alexia (Italy), Michele Henderson (Dominique), Elnur Huseynov (AZER)(The Voice of Turkey 2015) and Meta Dia (NY).
One of Tamara’s most longstanding projects however is that as vocalist and band member with the internationally renowned Rootsriders. Based in the Netherlands, Rootsriders play tribute to the Reggae king and legend Bob Marley, and has been successfully touring internationally for almost 10 years sharing his musical legacy. Bob Marley’s music is a testament to the message that music is timeless and this is what Tamara aspires to create with her art. ‘A beautiful message that lives on.’ Music greats such as Brinsley Forde (ASWAD) and Maxi Priest have accompanied the band on stage. With a global fan base of over 30.000 music lovers, the band regularly performs for sold out festivals catering to over 100.000 music lovers and sold out venues such as Melkweg, Paard van Troje and De Effenaar.
In 2014, Tamara recorded the cover for Bob Marley’s “High Tide or Low Tide” with the Rootsriders featuring well-known Reggae artist Meta Dia from New York. The track was shared by Rita Marley and posted on the official Bob Marley website.
“The moment you can visualize being free from the things that hold you back, you have indeed begun to set yourself free.” – Unknown
Tamara’s passion may have never developed as they are presented today had it not been for her courage to step out of the common cycle of conformity. Choosing the unconventional route of “self”, Tamara was once challenged by the stereotype definition of ‘success’. She would be considered brave and gutsy when she chose for a career in music oppose to the opportunities her highly successful academic career offered her. The experience and connections music has been able to give her has empowered Tamara to acknowledge that her true calling, her passion is music.
Tamara’s talents are however not limited to music, her creativity sparks in poetry as well. When she’s not performing or writing music, Tamara is writing poetry with the ambition to release a poetry book in honor of her grandfather Arthuro Eduardo Leito, a renowned novel writer on the island of Curacao.
Continuously being awarded the opportunity to connect and share something universal and timeless, Tamara considers herself truly privileged to live her life through her passion and this is the most beautiful lesson she has yet to take from her career.
- Former member of the Curaçao National Orchestra (2002 – 2008)
- Winner of Curaçao Talents (2003)
- Recordings at New Miami Studios “Respek Records” (2004)
- TV-Host at the Curaçao National broadcast station (2004)
- Winner of Caribbean Gospel Festival (2005)
- National Ambassador for Curaçao during cultural exchanges in Suriname, Cuba and Venezuela
- Performance for former Dutch Queen Beatrix during Dutch Kingdom Olympics (2005)
- Preshow Juan Luis Guerra at The World Trade Center, Curaçao (2005)
- Best Female Voice of the year Karabela Awards (2005)
- Preshow George McCrae on-board of the Freewinds Cruise ship, (2006)
- Backing vocalist for Izaline Calister Album “Speransa” and live performances
- Honoree Karabela Awards (2011)
- Backing vocalist for Maxi Priest and Brinsley Forde (2011)
- Nominee Pearls of the Dutch Caribbean Award, Music and Entertaintment category (2013)
- Performance for the Dutch Queen and King Maxima and Willem Alexander in Curaçao (2013)
- Preshow Kassav at The World Forum, The Hague (2013)
- Debut single release concert “Gosa”, Curaçao (2014)
- Performance at the Dutch Embassy in Saudi Arabia (2014)
- Backing vocalist for award-winning Italian singer Alexia’s album “Tou Puoi Se Vuoi” (2015)
- Backing vocalist for Elnur Huseynov (AZER) at the Eurovision Song Contest, Austria (2015)
- Backing vocalist on upcoming album of Meta Dia (NY) and the Cornerstones, Hira (2015)