Primary Instrument: Vocalist
Tina Harrod was born in Christchurch in New Zealand with an ancestry that certainly indicated she might one day become a professional singer. He father was part Fijian and her great grand parents were from Wales and from her very early days she was surrounded by a rich musical legacy.
It was no surprise then when at the tender age of five Tina began singing in a local church choir as well as taking dancing classes with a ballet group. The seeds had already been sown for a promising career in singing or dancing but for the next dozen or so years Tina was to become more of a listener than a performer.
During her teenage years Tina stopped both singing and dancing but began listening to a wide range of popular Black music as well as the current disco craze inspired by movies such as Saturday Night Fever. At the age of seventeen she decided on a major move to Sydney where she soon took up waitressing and barwork.
It was in this new environment that her desire to sing and perform was rekindled and she began playing in a band called Modern Man with Andrew Kippel, the son of the famous Australian sculptor. This was the late 1980's in Sydney, a time when the local club and pub music scene was thriving and all kinds of exciting new bands were emerging.
Tina was obviously caught up in the euphoria of this period and began auditioning and singing back up vocals in a number of different groups. By the age of twenty four she had joined the Honey Bees, an all girl trio doing three part harmonies and singing soul in the style of Chaka Khan and other contemporary soul sisters. The group gigged regularly at venues such as Metropolis and Round Midnight and quickly developed a solid following on the Sydney club scene.
As well as performing regularly Tina made a point of catching many of the other emerging local bands and it was during this exploration that she came across Jackie Orszaczky & The Godmothers. Jackie's driving funk and soul outfit were high on the list of Sydney club favourites at the time with their infectious James Brown style grooves and they immediately captivated Tina's attention.
After hearing the band it was only natural that Tina sought out their many influences and she soon began to immerse herself in the music of the classic soul period - listening to artists such as Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, The Staple Singers, Etta James, Lee Dorsey, Allan Toussaint, Johnny Guitar Watson, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Maceo Parker, Vicky Anderson Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Sly & The Family Stone etc.
Tina was now twenty seven and spent the next two years as a backup singer with Wendy Matthews and Jenny Morris, touring all over Australia and New Zealand, familiarizing herself with the numerous ups and downs of the local music industry. Although she had previously seen Jackie Orszaczky play with the band Jump Back Jack, it wasn't until she came across another of Jack's group's The Godmothers, that she really got to know Jackie on a musical basis.
The regular Jump Back Jack and Godmothers gigs at the Harbourside Brasserie were a legend in their day, not only for the quality of the music but for the fanaticism of the following who filled the crowded dancefloor week after week. It wasn't long before Tina made the transition from the audience to the stage and at the age of twenty nine she became a regular part of Jackie's latest soul incarnation The Grandmasters.
Tina played with The Grandmasters from 1994 onwards, appearing at clubs and festivals across the country and touring to Budapest in Hungary. The release of the Grandmaster's much acclaimed Family Lore album marked Tina's first major recording and won her the attention of music critics and writers across the country.
The Sydney Morning Herald's John Shand wrote: Jackie Orszaczky and Tina Harrod, the Grandmasters have two outstanding lead singers. Most bands would weep with desire at the thought of having one such vocalist. Jackie croons and rasps; Tina purrs and shrieks. When singing together, their voices mesh as one, aided by impeccable phrasing.
Also in the Sydney Morning Herald Bruce Elder, reviewing the Family Lore album wrote: What a voice! Grab a copy of Jackie Orszaczky & The Grandmasters Family Lore and wrap your ears around the second track, Sex. In front of slow, funky groove and Steven Ball's soulful Hammond organ is Australia's youthful answer to Aretha Franklin. New Zealand born Tina Harrod has one of those gorgeous vocal instruments, which just oozes soul, sex and sensuality.
Throughout the 1990's Tina continued her musical partnership with Jackie and in 1997 they recorded the groundbreaking double cd Deep Down And Out under the banner of the Orszaczky Budget Orchestra, an eclectic collection of soul and r'n'b classics, plus a selection of originals, all coated with Jackie's irrepressible musical identity.
In 1997 Family Lore was released in Germany where Tina and Jackie toured extensively, playing a whole series of popular soul clubs. Tina also toured again to Budapest, this time with the Australian jazz group Wanderlust. It was following a trip to the States, she began to sit down at the piano and write her own songs as well as a number of joint compositions with Jackie.
This was the start of a long term project, the recording of Tina's first solo album and the culmination of a musical journey that began many years ago back in the church pews of Westport, New Zealand. As the various songs took shape Tina embarked on a recording process that has literally taken her around the world with studio sessions in Sydney, Budapest and New Orleans as well as final mixing and mastering in New York.
Tina describes the album as very much a discovery process, on both a personal and musical level and it is very much an autobiographical statement. It also brings together a whole family of musicians with whom Tina has either performed or been closely associated over the past decade or more. First and foremost is of course Jackie Orszaczky but the list also includes New Orlean's Cornell Williams and Derwin Big DÕ Perkins from the Jon Cleary band as well as fellow New Orleanian's Topsy Chapman and her daughters (The Chapman Singers). In Budapest Tina recorded with Szakcsi Lakatos Bela, the well known GRP artist and on the homefront the list includes:Jackie Orszaczky, Hamish Stuart, David Symes, Clayton Doley, James Greening, Anthony Kable, Matthew & Aron Ottignon, and DJÕs Nick Toth and Arsenio.
As well as the recording of the album the new millennium has also seen Tina performing regularly at clubs and festivals along with Jackie and his various musical projects. Tina was also one of the featured vocalists and demonsrtaed her great musical versatility in Sandy Evans' Testimony, the musical tribute to the life and artistry of jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker. The show was one of the highlights of both the 2002 Sydney and Melbourne Festivals and received a series of oustanding reviews. Testimony recently returned to Sydney for a special encore performance in the Sydney Opera House's new outdoor concert area.