Some would agree that the key to happiness is finding a career you enjoy. Although, sometimes, when the moon is high, and the hippies are even higher, your suitable career finds you. Fortunately, Tiffany Hulse—also known for her work under the pseudonym, Tiffer ‘the Riffer’ Folk—was one of the lucky ones. At the impressionable age of nine years old, after attending her first Jimmy Buffett concert, she fixed her mind on learning how to play the guitar. Fast-forward four years later, to 2007, the year she released her first album, “Sad Day in Paradise”. Since that album release, Tiffany has released a minimum of one album per year. She affirms, “It’s hard work, but someone has to do it. I simply love being involved in music projects. Creating songs out of nothing. I feel I’ll never get enough of that. It’s wild.”
Ordinarily, most people finish a project before they start a new one. Tiffany is not ordinary. She admits, “I am constantly knee-deep in projects. At any given time, I believe I have roughly 500 things going on at once. But that’s what I do; that’s what we creative types do. I consider myself a creative survivalist.” She recently finished producing what is her fifteenth album. The album, titled, “You're My Vacation”, was released in fall of 2021, and features album artwork by three-time Emmy award winning producer, artist, and puppeteer, Bill Diamond of Bill Diamond Productions, and mastered by Trop Rock steel pan player, Dave Lapio.
Tiffany’s music can be purchased from Apple Music and Amazon Music. Her music can be listened to on Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, and on the online radio stations ShoreLifeRadio.com, SongwritersIsland.com and TikiIslandRadio.com, to name a few, and on Cleveland, Ohio’s WBWC 88.3fm The Sting’s “Island Time Radio Show".
Q: What was the first song you learned?
A: “The first honest-to-goodness song I remember learning how to play was “Wild Thing” by The Troggs. I remember playing it on my acoustic guitar. I think I was around ten years old…What a cool song.”
Q: Which instruments can you play?
A: “Funny thing…People ask me this all the time, and I think I make them sorry they ever asked. I will spare you by saying this. I dabble in a lot of instruments. What I can play, and which ones I can play fluently and professionally are two different things. I can sit at a drum set or a piano, and hammer away at it with no problem, but I don’t play those instruments on my albums. I let the professionals handle that. My main tools of the trade are the acoustic and electric guitars, ukulele, bass guitar, and my voice. I play the six-string banjo pretty well, too. Did I make you sorry you asked? [laughs]”
Q: How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
A: “Every musician can practice until they’re blue in the face, and they will still eventually make a mistake on stage. There’s no two ways around it; it’s inevitable. The trick is, you can’t let it show in your face. You just have to keep smiling, keep playing. Don’t stop just because you struck the wrong chord, or hit a wrong note. It happens, trust me. It happens more often than we’d like, but you just have to roll with it. Hakuna matata, baby!”
Q: Which venue have you enjoyed playing at the most?
A: “Oh man, am I allowed to choose more than one? There’s been so many cool places. I played this solo show back in October of 2010. It was for the Pensacola Beach Songwriter’s Festival in Pensacola, Florida. It was held at the Landshark Landing at the Margaritaville Beach Hotel, which is right on the beach. What a fun time! A ton of awesome people played that night, too. Switching gears here…I played on a cruise ship once. Yeah, it’s true. I played ONCE. [laughs] It was the Celebrity cruise ship “Century”. Played for a private party. That was a rather interesting experience, since I’ve never done anything like that before. One more…Two words: The Bahamas. Yep, I sat in with a local band who was playing at the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau. Fun experience! It just so happened I had my guitar case slung over my shoulder, waiting in line for customs, and they waved me up to play with them. Sure, I lost my place in line, but we played “Margaritaville”, so it was totally worth it.”
Q: What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
A: “Boys and girls, you’re going to be nervous. You’re going to be nervous when you play that new song you just learned in front of your parents in your living room. You’re going to be nervous when you sing in front of strangers for the first time. And you’re going to be nervous until you get it out of your head that other people’s judgement about your music matters more than your own. Now, I’m not saying never accept constructive criticism. I’m not saying that at all. Constructive criticism is important to grow and to get out of your comfort zone. What I’m saying is this. If you’re doing the absolute best that you know you can do, if you’re playing and singing your heart out, then the people you’re playing to will realize this, and will enjoy themselves. You’re doing your thing. It’s bringing you joy. Hopefully, it’s bringing other people joy as well, but that’s just an added bonus. When I perform in front of people, yes, I’m playing and interacting with the audience, because that’s what I’m there for. That’s my job. But I have also learned that, if I sing and play my heart out, there’s no reason to be nervous because the audience is going to enjoy themselves if I’m giving it all I’ve got. I hope that makes some kind of sense.”