Dallas — Tarnicia Durham has never performed an official cabaret, or onstage in a theatrical production. But she has a lifetime of singing behind her. The Mississippi native, who moved to Dallas three years ago from Houston, performs at various clubs, and happened to find out about Denise Lee's "So You Think You Can Cabaret" competition this spring. She entered. She won.
Durham will perform a 45-minute cabaret tonight, opening for former Dallas actor and current Houstonian Simone Gundy, a finalist on TV's The Voicet. We chatted with Durham to get to know her.
TheaterJones: Where are you from and how long have you been in DFW?
Tarnicia Durham: I am a native of Lexington, MS. I attended Mississippi State University, with and undergraduate degree in General Psychology and a Masters in Counselor Education, emphasis in Community Mental Health. I moved to Houston in 2011. I moved to Dallas in August 2014.
Why did you decide to participate in the So You Think You Can Cabaret contest?
I actually had no knowledge of the So You Think You Can Cabaret contest. I went to the Two Corks and A Bottle one night and sang with the band. John told me that I NEED to get in touch with Denise so that I can get into the contest, although he did not know if it was too late to audition. I met with Denise at the Women's Museum the following Tuesday and it was my lucky day because one girl had dropped out and was unable to perform on her scheduled date. I welcome any and every opportunity to sing because I love it just that much!
Do you have much experience with cabaret and performance? What about in theater?
I have no experience with theater or cabaret; I auditioned for Dreamgirls once if that counts. I have been performing since junior high with the band from my high school. I also performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” a few times during football season throughout high school. In college, I performed in a number of local and regional talent shows. Periodically, I can be found at the Prophet Bar here in Dallas.
When did you first fall in love with singing and/or performing?
I honestly think I started performing in the womb, LOL, as my mother has many stories of her dressing swinging to and fro during her pregnancy. My first three months of life consisted of my crying to the top of my lungs; little did anyone know, I was actually warming up and performing all the greatest hits of the ’80s. I began singing in church at the age of 3. I come from a musically inclined family, from my father, cousins, and most of my aunts. Our family gatherings consisted of singing, harmonizing, and creating random songs. Music has always played an integral part of my life.
Tell me about your show. What can we expect to hear and learn about you.
My show is entitled SheMotions. I will take you on a journey of life, evoking different emotions that are a result of life's situations. You'll laugh—A LOT. You'll “remember when.” You may feel a sense of despair. But most importantly, you will be inspired.
Denise Lee's second annual Dallas Cabaret Festival is performed at the Women's Building in Fair Park. It continues with:
- 7 p.m. Friday, July 28: Simone Gundy, "My Voice," with opening performance from Tarnicia Durham
- 7 p.m. Saturday, July 29: "It's All About the Blues" with blues guitarist Samuel James and vocalists Denise Lee, Kevin Haliburton, Willie Welch, Calvin Scott Roberts and Stephanie Brehm
General admission to the festival and parking is free. Because we are expecting large crowds, reservations are STRONGLY encouraged to guarantee a seat. You can make a reservation on Eventbrite under Dallas Cabaret Festival.