Seattle singer/songwriter Kym Tuvim’s new (and third) release Nothing, Sweet Nothing is coming out this week. It’s a mash-up of styles that coalesce seamlessly in Tuvim’s hands. Here’s a fine summation: “On the mostly original cross-genre collection, Tuvim travels through roots, folk-pop, jazz, and swampy blues, offering up unguarded observations on the quiet in-between places where love fails and where it is the saving grace.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Now on to Kym.


I was just listening to the CD and I love the trashy horns you throw in on a couple of tunes.

Why, thank you! On “Flood,” that was a trio of guys that a friend recommended to me. They were awesome. Came in and knocked it out!
People don’t use enough trashy horns these days. And they should, when appropriate. Gives that old French Quarter vibe or something.
I also love a well-placed banjo, which you also do very nicely. And dobro. That’s all over the new one, too.
Yeah, that’s Dan Tyack, who was also on the old album. He lives in Seattle and he’s AMAZING. He also played lap steel and pedal steel on the record, sometimes one, two or all three on one song.
Well, the combo gives everything such a solid grounding without being too heavy-handed.
Yeah, it’s my favorite combination. I can’t imagine not having Dan on one of my records. The horns were a new twist, but they were so necessary to the blend. I heard ’em when I was imagining the arrangements.
Okay, so you have this great CD… now what? You’re flying solo, are you not?
Right. I’ve released it on my own label, Retrofit Records. The official release began this week, with a CD release concert coming up this weekend in Cambridge, MA at Club Passim on Sunday, March 2nd. The Northwest release shows will be in April, on the 19th in Portland and on the 20th (my birthday!) in Seattle.
Any touring betwixt and between the two?
Nope. Just getting my taxes done and getting ready for those April shows.
It’s such a crazy time in the music industry right now. When artists like Natalie Merchant and Joan Osborne don’t have labels to support them, I rack my brain trying to figure out how emerging artists can cut through the noise.
Thank God for CDBaby and Derek Sivers, that’s for one. Being independent is both a blessing and a curse. There’s SO much to do to release a record properly and everything costs money. Unless you’ve been down that road, it’s hard to imagine all that’s entailed to get a record out in any significant way.
It’s so hard, these days, for consumers to understand the concept that getting things for free or even cheap actually hurts someone on the other end. Are you able to make a living just being an artist?
I think that there’s still a disconnect there because the music industry is still seen as this big mega-money-corp, so who cares, right? I don’t know the final numbers on Radiohead’s release, but I heard that there were still a significant amount of folks who didn’t pay for the download or paid barely anything. That was surprising.
I think it was about half of them paid nothing. I was shocked and appalled.
On the other hand, I’m also alright with free downloads for a time for self-promotion or to boost the interest. It can get folks to listen when they wouldn’t otherwise. As far as making a living from making my music, if I did it full time, I would. When I tour, I make a living. I just don’t like to tour full time.
Finding the balance is the key.
What I’m curious about is how the delivery will evolve. People love to hold something in their hands.
I’m a total liner notes junkie but I’ve even gotten out of that habit, sadly.
I know, right? I will say that people have responded really intensely – positively – to the new CD packaging. I think it hits a nerve of feeling more organic and old-school, even though it’s in the CD shape.
I don’t spend as much time with each disc that I used to – knowing every riff and every player.
Well, it’s all so much smaller! 6 pt. Text! Who can read that except 14 year olds?!