Newfoundland singer-songwriter Jamal Tinkov has just released his brand new single, “Let’s Be Friends?!” – a captivating track that infuses his indie rock sound with a bit of a 90s alternative spin and pop-rock sensibilities. We caught up with Jamal to chat about the new music, his ways of battling writer’s block, and his advice for new musicians.
From The Strait: Tell us about the new single, “Let’s Be Friends”.
Jamal Tinkov: I think the song is about longing for a simpler time. As I’ve grown older life seems to become more complicated and we lose touch with people that used to be very present in our lives. The track is an ode to those old buddies who you miss and just hoping they’re doing ok!
FTS: All artists (save for the exceptionally lucky ones) experience writer’s block from time to time. How do you battle through a block when songwriting?
Jamal Tinkov: I never try to force my writing. Sometimes I sit down with my guitar and nothing really seems to come and on that particular day maybe it’s just not there. I will often go back to my day and when I’m least focused on it inspiration will kind of come. If I get an idea or a melody I think I can work with, I will record it on my phone voice memo or notepad and come back to it. Some of my songs are pieces that I wrote at different times that happened to fit or work together. The creative process is always different and that’s one of the things that makes it so amazing.
FTS: What was the coolest (and/or weirdest) live show you’ve ever played?
Jamal Tinkov: Some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing was with a tribute band project doing Tom Petty songs. We sold out several nights and the songs are just the most fun to play. I would also say some of the songwriter series shows I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of. Nothing beats playing your original songs to a captive live audience.
FTS: What’s one album you can’t get enough of right now?
Jamal Tinkov: I am absolutely hooked on the new Red Hot Chili Peppers record! (Unlimited Love). I’ve always been a big fan of the Chilies, and this new one is so good!
FTS: If you had advice for new musicians, what would it be?
Jamal Tinkov: Have fun and enjoy what you’re doing. Don’t take yourself too seriously and work hard.