Herewith the initial interview of KIM TILLMAN, another amazingly talented young rising star in America.
Q You are an amazing young lady who is using bad experiences during your life to help others through your talents. Tell us about that.
A I love to write about what I see around me. As a matter of fact, it is the only thing I write about. I was writing it down because, for me, when I put it on paper, it is out of my head and I don't think about it any more. I was singing it because that is what I heard in my head. It was the only way I could cope with everything around me. I didn't notice until I was older that I was writing universal themes or that my music was helping anyone. I was just singing because it made me feel better. But once I found out that it made other people feel better too, I wanted to do it even more. I love making people smile and I love to have a good time. I found that when I was singing or onstage, it was natural for me to do that.
Q Your story mentions that you didn't feel that you fitted in anywhere, including with your siblings. Why did you feel you were left out?
A My sisters are GORGEOUS! But I was awkward, with buck teeth, bad acne, hair that just wouldn't do what it should do. Everyone would walk up to my sisters and complement them but ignore me like I wasn't even standing there. It made me unbelievably shy. But not only that, the way that I looked at the world and the way that I think about things is totally different from most people. Certain things that everyone just accepted didn't make sense to me. I just was not (and to a certain degree, still am not) a people person. It was easier to just be by myself because there was less social pressure.
Q In many cases when a person is bullied, particularly at school, this experience affects their scholastic abilities and they are usually too miserable to be able to concentrate and therefore do very badly. But this did not happen to you? You excelled in your educational abilities?
A My parents place a HUGE emphasis on education and how important it was. Bad grades weren't tolerated in my house, period. And despite the fact that I didn't feel like I fit in, no one really ever knew that is how I felt. I was able to hid behind school. My sisters got attention because they were pretty. I got attention because I was smart. But school was never really hard to me. It was just reading and memorizing (and I have a pretty great memory) and then writing it for the test. Problem solving was easy for me because I loved doing puzzles growing up. I looked at school as something I had no choice but to do. I also saw that college was my way out of Charlotte. So in order to get to college, I needed a scholarship. In order to get a scholarship, I needed good grades. It was that simple for me. I just blocked everything else out.
Q How young were you when you discovered your love for singing?
A I was 3 years old when I first started singing. The song was 'I Will Always Love You' by Whitney Houston and I was just singing it back the way that I heard it. My two older sisters were impressed. But I didn't truly fall in love with singing until 5th grade when I joined the Charlotte Children's Choir and started playing violin. The combination of those two things exposed me to all types of music, most of which I had never heard before. I started learning how different music and voices sounded and found that I could sing songs with different effects. From then on, I was hooked.
Q You have been compared with Adele and Beyonce - how do you feel about that?
A I'm flattered! In my head, I sound nothing like them at all! Whenever I sing a song back, I am usually singing it back to match what I hear in my ear. The first time someone told me I sounded exactly like Adele, I thought they were trying to be funny and ignored it. The first time someone told me I had a Beyonce-esque stage presence, I look at them like: 'You mean me? I didn't do anything special up there. I was just doing what I always do when I sing and dance.' I must say, as flattering as it is, I still don't believe it.
Q How old were you when you were 'discovered'?
A 23. My grandmother died in 2007 (I was 19), I completely stopped performing and getting onstage because I didn't have the confidence to do it without her supporting me. I turned back to science because it meant I could stay away from people.
Q Who discovered you and how did that happen?
A I was out with some friends at a bar and there was a band playing. I was slightly intoxicated and asked if I could sing with them. They said yes and let me. Doug Davis (Co-owner of FlyTrap Productions) was the head in the band and gave me his card and told me to email him sometime. From there, I did a group recording and he asked me to do a solo. I was so nervous and it showed all in my voice! From there, he invited me to do s cover show: Vagabond Saint Society Presents Woodstock. I sung: 'Purple Haze' by Jimi Hendrix and it was the first time since 2007 that I had performed and gotten onstage. I loved every second and that was the moment I knew that I had to get back to it. I asked Doug to help me figure everything out and he was so patient with me. From there, 'Heaven and Contrast' was born (tracks 5 and 6 on Inception).
Q Your grandmother Ella was your first fan and supporter in your early years and then a driving force behind your push for success. When you are feeling down, does her memory bring you up again and urge you onward and upward?
A ABSOLUTELY!!! Whenever I feel like I just can't go anymore, I hear her voice in my head and all the things she used to say to me growing up when I was just fed up with everything. I hear her voice even when I am not feeling down and there has not been a single thing that she ever said to me that I don't fully use every single day. She was the one that told me I would do all of this, and while, at the time I looked at her like she was crazy, everything she ever told me has come true. The day after I decided to fully pursue music to a career, I had a dream that she was telling me everything would be okay and that I would be fine. From that day forward, no one on this planet could tell me that I wasn't made for music.
Q Do you feel that a lot more needs to be done about bullying everywhere? In schools, the home, the workplace - everywhere?
A Most certainly. It can be a lot for a person to deal with on the receiving end but the person on the giving end in hurt too. Hurt begets hurt.
Q For school bullying, who do you think is more at fault and do you have any ideas about how it should be dealt with?
A That is really tough to say. Ultimately, it is on the parents to take responsibility for their child and show them right and wrong. But we live in a society where that is not always the case and some parents are stretched to their limits just trying to make sure the child has food to eat. From there, I believe that it is on the school officials to not only listen but pay attention to students. But most importantly, if the child doesn't say anything, no one knows and no one can help. That was the case with me. It came as a complete surprise to my parents when I told them (as an adult) that I hated school because I was constantly picked on. I never said anything about it because I was afraid that if I did, it would only get worse. I don't think that pointing fault or blame will help the issue. I think that only letting children know that it is not okay and that they should talk to someone about it will make it better. I was blessed to have my grandmother to tell everything to and to support me in my strangeness. Not every child has that or knows they have that.
Q What are your hopes and aspirations for the future?
A I am hoping to make 'Chronicles Of A Rising Star' a company one day and to be able to use that to highlight people and children who think outside of the box. In my mind, I am not the only rising star, hence the reason it is 'Chronicles Of A Rising Star'. I hope to be able to use this as a way to tell other people's stories. I have come across some awesome people with amazing stories and it is my hope that COARS will be a way for the world to see their stories too! I have just moved to Los Angeles and I am super excited about making music my full time career now, something that I have wanted to do since I was 8 years old!
Q Is there anything further you would like to add at this stage - remembering that there will be update interviews as we progress along your road?
A Nothing that I can think of! Thanks for the love and support of the dream!
Watch this space for further exciting developments as Kim's star rises.