Today we’d like to introduce you to Tanya O Callaghan.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am from a small town in Ireland called Mullingar. I spent my entire childhood rescuing animals and being a fiery little protestor for all things animal welfare 🙂 My family thought I would be a vet or something in the lines of working with animals but then I started playing music in my late teens, I picked up a bass around 17 and became obsessed very quickly with the instrument and haven’t put it down since. Nor have I stopped working in the animal welfare world either 🙂 I started touring first in Ireland when I was about 19/20 with various Irish bands and worked in the TV house bands for a few different Irish TV shows. That’s when I started my session career per say. I was always joining and starting new bands, keen to play with as many as possible, I remember at one point being in 7 active bands at once, I guess I just knew from the start I wanted to gig and tour. Eventually I guess your name just gets around as the musician to hire and slowly over time more and more calls and emails came in about tours.
I first came to the US, to Arizona in 2009 to record on some tracks with Maynard James Keenan of Tool and A Perfect Circle, who had invited me to be a guest on one of his records, which was such a huge opportunity for me as I was a fan of all of his work. That I guess was the spark for me that triggered wanting to come to LA. After I done that recording session it opened my eyes to the possibilities of the level of bands I could potential get to play with if I spread my wings further afield. I had already spent some time in London and thought about moving there and several European cities, but something about L.A was calling so I followed my gut and jumped ship out here about 5 years ago, first just to visit as I did not know anybody and had no working visa so came to explore the music scene and try to network. Then after a few visits and hitting up every jam night I could find, I final linked in with some gigs and applied for my first visa to move and work here. And so began the musical rollercoaster of the past few years 🙂
Over the past few years I’ve played with some incredible artists, writing, touring, jamming, and collaborating with many of my childhood musical heroes. I’ve got to share stages, jam and record with people like Dee Snider, Steven Adler, Maynard Keenan, Ronnie Wood, Taylor Hawkins, Nuno Bettencourt, Buddy Guy… the crazy list goes on.
It’s been quite the journey so far, excited to see what the future has in store 🙂
Has it been a smooth road?
Absolutely not! Nothing even remotely smooth about this path. From the moment I decided to take the musical path it’s a constant journey of ups and downs. There is no real stability in this industry that is something that really takes time to build. One minute you can be touring the world with a major artist playing to 100,000 people a night and then tour season ends and you can be back hustling various session gigs to keep yourself afloat. But that’s the way it goes in this game and you get better over time at figuring out your windows of “down time” ahead of time and planning other work. If it was easy everybody would do it, right 🙂 I really believe it’s the struggle that you learn from, and that applies to everyone in all walks of life. For me all of my knocks over the years in hindsight have made me way stronger and way better at navigating this crazy industry. Once you stay smart and surround yourself with good people, good things happen. Keep keeping on 🙂
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Tanya O Callaghan – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am a freelance session bass player. I am known for my stage presence and playing in a wide variety of bands of many genres of music. What sets me apart? I’m an Irish woman tearing up the stage that most people weren’t expecting to see 😉
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the opportunities that L.A has given me that I would not have come across anywhere else. The exposure to incredible gigs and musicians has been truly amazing. I love how LA is such a melting pot for creatives from all over the world. That energy manifests and creates something special, crazy, but special! The sunshine also helps and the amazing vegan food everywhere makes me very happy.
What I like least, well sometimes my Irish sarcasm is lost in translation, and the traffic, holy hell, where is everyone going all the time!?
- Website: www.tanyaocallaghan.com
- Instagram: @tanyaocallaghan_official
- Facebook: Tanya O Callaghan
Photographer: William Greenberg willtorock.com