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GSO Spotlight: Auriyan Tillman

Recent KSU grad and rising star, Auriyan Tillman will be headlining the upcoming GSO Jazz concert “What the World Needs Now.”  She sat down with Executive Director, Suzanne Tucker to talk about her start in music and the big dreams she’s got for the future. 

S: What first got you into music? 

I’ve been singing since I could talk! I did my first performance in second grade…a duet with my mother. We sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” and after that I knew that singing was what I wanted to do. 

S: Where did you hone your skills? 

I sang in the church a lot…that’s where my roots are. And I went to a performing arts high school in Augusta.  That’s where I first sang jazz and found out I loved it. I went to KSU and started getting involved with jazz programs and doing gigs around town. I graduated last May with a Bachelors in Music, in Jazz Performance. 

S: Do you have a favorite genre or style of music you like to perform? 

I love singing with a Big Band…I feel like my voice fits perfectly in that set-up. And I do gospel, R&B, neo-soul. I’m really inspired by Nina Simone, Carmen McRae and Jill Scott.

S: Tell me about this upcoming performance with GSO Jazz. How did you get involved? 

While at KSU I did a song with Sam in Big Band…”The Look of Love”…that was my first performance of a Bacharach song. I loved that song. 

S: These songs are not really of your generation…why do you think they’ve stood the test of time?

There are songs that are universal. They talk about real life situations, issues, struggles…They apply to everyone. I feel like those songs never grow old. They can be played in any setting, any time period. They’re just timeless. 

S: Atlanta is such a thriving area for music. Talk to me about performing here.

I feel like Atlanta is the place to be for any genre. Growing up in Augusta…music is there you know? We’ve got James Brown! But it’s not what it is here. I came to Atlanta to be a part of this. Right now Jazz is bigger in Europe and overseas, but it’s really growing here. In Atlanta, I’ve been able to do it all, gospel, dabble in country music…everything.

S: What’s next for you?

I’m working on my own project…I haven’t really announced it yet…So I guess this is the big announcement! I write and compose, so I’m headed into the studio to collaborate with some great musicians and work on my first album. 

S: What’s your dream? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

I want to be touring all over the world. I want to be up there with the legends. I dream big!

You can find Auriyan on Instagram and Tik Tok at auriyansoneo.

And be sure to get your tickets to see Auriyan and GSO Jazz!
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