While Tiffany “Tiffsbass” Lloyd is an accomplished lifelong musician, she is also an absolute genius with the bass guitar.
As the first black female bass guitarist to endorse Elrick Bass Guitars, Lloyd is also a member of the Grammy Award Recording Academy and has shared the stage with Gladys Knight, Yolanda Adams, and many others.
Listen to her play once, and you’ll be sold on her skill with the bass. Listening to Lloyd play is like running your hand over silk; it’s smooth, lush, and entrancing.
Recently, we caught up with Lloyd to talk about her latest single, transitioning from the piano to the bass, and her work as a public speaker.
Your latest single “Paradise,” what can you tell me about it?
Well, it’s a lot different from my other single that’s out now. It’s an instrumental, and I was working on it a long time ago. I think it’ll be enjoyable. It’s a lot of live instruments in this one, and it’s jazzy.
What kind of instruments?
Well, first is the core key bass and drums, then there’s synths and trumpets, which is my favorite part of the song. There are a few different parts.
Now I read that you originally started playing the piano. How was it moving from piano to playing the bass?
It was interesting because piano and bass usually approach music from two opposite directions. When I transitioned to bass from piano, I already had the thought pattern of a pianist. So when I started to play bass, I approached it from a piano standpoint, but still doing my part as a bass player. It was an interesting transition, but in a good way.
So what kind of bass do you play?
So every Elrick bass is a custom made bass by Robert Elrick, and the model is an Elrick Elrick EVO 5. It’s a five-string custom bass I’ve had it for quite some time. I love it. I love that particular bass.
Is it the one you use for everything? Or do you have others?
I use this one for everything, especially now, because they endorse me. So I have another bass, but I don’t actually play it out. Well, at least not anymore.
And I read you also use Elixir Strings. How are those?
They are amazing. I’ve been using Elixir for about ten years now. They’re the best. I love them, and I would not use any other strings.
How do they feel and sound when you play?
I think the feel is the biggest part for me, but they sound really clean too. Now there are different types of Elixir strings that you can buy, but the ones I use are really clean and give a good amount of punch. They’re also really smooth to the touch, and that’s something that you really don’t find with other bass strings, at least not to the degree that Elixir strings are. So they really make playing very easy, and it just allows you to do a lot more.
On another note, I also read that you do motivational speaking for students wanting a career in music. How does that work with your schedule as a performer?
A lot of times, speaking to students is at conferences during the daytime. So a lot of times, I can maneuver that into my schedule a lot easier than an evening or something. But it’s fun, and a lot of times if it’s at a school, I’m going during school hours, or to a college that is even more flexible. That’s all changed now, but I look forward to resuming soon.
What is the key advice that you give young musicians?
The key advice I usually give is to exercise a lot of discipline, especially early on. That’s really what it takes to make it in the whole industry . . . discipline. And you have to establish that when you first start out, whether you’re aspiring to be a musician or if you already are a musician and you’re trying to go further. Discipline is a broad term, but that’s exactly the point, it covers a lot of areas.
So between discipline with practicing, time management, and things like that, that, to me, is one of the most important factors and key things.
And the last question, what is one super memorable moment that you’ve had in your career so far?
Well, I remember when I was on stage with a famous actress Lynn Whitfield. The reason it was so memorable for me is because when I was a little girl, I used to see her in movies and say, “Wow, she’s so cool.” At this point, when I was barely a teenager, I had no idea that I was going to be a musician. I mean, I guess I did, but it was something in the future. So I had no idea that this lady that I saw in a movie that one day I would be standing next to her on a stage and playing for her.
She was hosting an event at a big theater in D.C., and I was on that particular show. And I just had a moment, I looked over at her, and I’m like, “Oh, my God! I’m standing right next to her!”
So that was a definite, definite, memorable moment.