Tara Velarde, March 31, District Coffee House 

Honey-voiced Tara Velarde describes herself as an "indie folk songstress," a designation she chose with a great deal of thought.

"I identify strongly with songwriters and indie folk bands," said Velarde, whose 2016 debut LP Get Out and Walk (self-released) is a charming, emotive stroll through her sweet indie sound.

Portland-based Velarde wanted to be a poet as a kid. She gravitated to music with classical piano training and a music degree from Pacific University, and found combining the two passions the perfect outlet.

"Lyrics are so important," Velarde said. "The story is what connects people to a song."

Whereas she can flush out a melody on piano easily, writing on guitar may allow an unexpected—but welcomed—note or chord to slip in. Yet she also makes sure nothing slips away.

"I've had a melody or song idea in my head before and thought, 'Oh, I'll remember it later.' Later, I couldn't remember it at all," she said, laughing. "Now, I record everything on my phone."

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