From the sidelines to the main stage, Tiffany Dunn has breathed in both sides of the arena. The young singer, songwriter, dancer, and choreographer from Arizona has made a home in the heartland of Hollywood and invites you to join her as she prepares to launch her debut album. Before that, though, she wants you to join her at this weekend’s The Dinah in Palm Springs.
I caught up with the glamour gal to chat about her new life post-paparazzi discovery, Justin Timberlake, and more.
Are you getting used to the fame knocking on your door lately? It’s actually really cool. Last week, I had my first experience with paparazzi. It was really funny. I was walking into Beso with a friend – my back-up dancer, actually – and there were paparazzi taking pictures of us as we walked in. I was thinking, “Okay, maybe they think I am someone else,” you know? Except then they kept calling my name and asking, “Tiffany, how’s the music going?” so it was really funny. It was cool. It can be a little surreal!
Is it true that Justin Timberlake inspired you to begin performing? He does everything that I do – he’s an entertainer, performer, sings incredible, plays instruments, and dances –and I went to watch one of his concerts when I was in high school. I was with all of my girlfriends in those box seats up above, you know, and they were all singing and dancing along. I couldn’t just sit there and enjoy it and dance around like they were doing because I kept thinking, “I can do that. I want to do that. I should be performing up there.” It was almost frustrating. It was hard for me to just sit there and watch…I guess.
That was one of those moments where it hit me, like, “Okay, I’m still in Arizona and I need to be doing what he is doing. I need to make this work and go out to L.A. I need to make something happen.” So, that is how he inspired me.
Have you had the chance to tell Justin this story? Have you met him? I haven’t. I was going to attend his birthday party when he was at the W Hotel. Some of my friends are friends with him. I didn’t end up going. Maybe one day I’ll get to!
You are now a singer, songwriter, dancer, and choreographer. Is it ever difficult for you to switch gears? No, it really isn’t. It’s just natural for me, I guess. It’s kind of crazy because I want to be in control of everything, but I can’t. As soon as I hear the song, I see how I want it to look on the stage. I see the movements I want for this part or that part. I wouldn’t say it’s hard. One aspect inspires the other. As soon as I’m done in the studio dancing and rehearsing, I want to go sing, etc. It gives me an outlet to be creative in many different ways.
You co-wrote “Shut the Front Door (Got My Girls)” with hit maker Rodney “Darkchild” Jenkins. What was that process like? This is actually the very beginning of me in the studio and us trying out this whole solo artist thing for me. This was a song that came from scratch as we were just vibing out. We had a simple beat and from there we wrote all day trying to see where it would go. I got into the studio at like 8am and then around 7pm that night, it just started hitting us. It started to come together. We were going back and forth through different rooms vibing out all day and then literally wrote the single in an hour.
Were there really 30 songs recorded for the album even before signing a record contract? That is impressive! Yes. I didn’t write them necessarily (my writing is going on right now). I was trying to see where I would shine as far as my voice. The songs that we were doing at the very beginning of this process are very different now. I was in the studio every single day just banging out tracks. Some of them I’d write the bridge on or change certain things to make them more like “me” but they were songs that were kind of ready for me to just go in and kill and see how they turned out. That process was super-important because it molded me into what I sound like now. So, now when people hear the new songs, they will know “That is Tiffany Dunn.” I have a sound now. I think I actually recorded about 60 songs now. It’s funny to listen to the beginning songs and compare them to what is going on right now, especially since I helped write certain things on some of them. It was such an awesome process.
Tell us a little bit about the release of your debut album. The album release should be extremely soon. We’re narrowing the songs down as we speak.
You relocated from Arizona to Los Angeles. What has been the biggest culture shock for you? I’m pretty used to L.A. now, but when I first moved here, I hated that I had to pay to park to go to the store. I mean, it’s not too bad. It’s only a 6-hour drive from Arizona to L.A. so it’s pretty similar. I was on top of the world when I was living in Arizona, but then had to start all over when I moved out here. But I am doing pretty great now!