Dillard’s exclusive

Give Tara Dillard a spotlight and a stage and she is set.

Earlier this summer, the Oklahoma City-based singer-songwriter released her first single, “So Long,” on iTunes and Spotify, with plans to release a full EP soon.

“I’ve just released the one single right now,” she said. “The whole EP project I’m hoping to finish by the end of the year. I just didn’t want to wait that long to get the song out.”

Dillard is currently studying at ACM@UCO, where she worked closely with Mitch Bell, the school’s coordinator of academic operations for music performance, to produce that single of jazz-infused pop.

“We’ve been sitting down and writing a lot and I’ve been bringing music in to him,” she said. “I had been working on some things and this just kind of came up out of nowhere. So I called Mitch the next day and said, ‘I have something you might like,’ and he listened to it and said, ‘I have goose bumps.’” Dillard is optimistic about what its release means for her career.

“I’ve been more excited over this song than any other works I’ve done,” she said.

The Mustang native never felt there were any other options for her beyond music, so she never even thought to pursue anything else.

“I’ve just always sung and I’ve always pulled inspiration from artists that I admire,” she said. “I’m a huge sucker for lyrics, and some of my biggest influences have been the people who have been really, really honest lyrically. It’s artists like that who make me feel like I have to do what I love to do, and hopefully, I can make those same impacts on other people.”

Dillard is a regular fixture around town, singing and playing piano at the Skirvin Hilton. On Saturday, she’ll appear at Picasso Cafe as part of The Paseo Sessions showcase.

“I’m lucky to consider myself a living, working musician, so if I can go play three hours at a bar, that’s great,” she said. “It’s all been a really good experience and a huge blessing.”

Susannah Waite

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