Tara Ellis

She has a bright smile, a positive personality, and a beautiful voice: she is Tara Ellis.

Upon first meeting her, one could be quick to judge. With stylish clothes and wild hair she embodies every symbol of the L.A. rock star wannabe scene. However, the moment her mouth opens she is quick to kill that stereotype and any other that would cross one's mind.

Whether you are rocking your hips to "Lollipop Remix" or reminiscing to her "Did I Tell You," you are bound to become addicted to her power-house voice.

Music is her life, Ellis says. "I've been singing all my life," she said, explaining that the rest of her family only found out about her love of singing when she was 10--they didn't know she had been singing in her room for quite a while before that. They did not know of the "... relationship [she] had and still [has] with music."

Ellis started playing guitar at the age of 15 and also preformed in a choir quite often. For Ellis, her music serves as an outlet. "[It's]therapy for me; someone will ask me how I am, and I'll say I'm fine. Then they hear my song and they are like, 'no, you're not,'" she says with a laugh.

When it comes to inspiration, she looks to God. "God inspires me through people or things," she said. As for the qualities she looks for in a song, it must have more in-depth content then what is often found playing on the radio. "A good song has to have good content. If it makes a heart connection," she says bringing her hand to her chest, "I feel they did a good job," adding that "I don't always place great importance on a "good voice" either. "Like with Neil Young; his writing is so great...although I like his voice, I know that it is a little bit scratchy, but he offers a connection with the music beyond that."

Her musical influences range from Stevie Nicks and Sade to Joan Jet and Prince. "The first Alanis Morissette record was amazing," she said. When it comes to describing her own musical style Ellis says it's "club rock, it's fun and danceable... really rockin, there is a lot of guitar in my songs." When asked to give an example of what main steam artist or band she most sounds like, Ellis said, "No Doubt's earlier music such as 'Tragic Kingdom.'"

However she is quick to remind that she has her own style and does not want to be placed in a box. On more than one occasion, Ellis has been compared to singer/ songwriter Pink, based purely on hair and clothing style. "I am not Pink, I'm me," Ellis said.

While she understands the need people have to compare her to "main stream" musicians, she can only hope that no one will be quick to judge and categorize her style. If you want to judge her, she hope its "based on her music and personality," not who you think she looks like or who you "think" she is. As for the road ahead she knows it's long and won't be easy but her motto in life is, "I love my life."

No matter what happens, whether it's good or bad, easy or tough, Ellis says with a grin, "I cannot forget I love my life." On Dec. 4, her tribute mix cassette will drop. She has made changes to the melodies of some songs already in existence, including her song "Lollipop" remix and "Runaway Train."

As the interview comes to a close, Ellis stands up and reaches for a hug then heads back into the studio. She places her headphones on and lets her lips touch the mic. Her soul cries out and once again everyone around is blessed with her song.

To get a glimpse of her vocal talent, you can find her on Myspace at: http://www.myspace.com/taraellis