Tiphanie Doucet Wrestles With Musical Identity and Individuality With “My Own Way”

Interview with Tiphanie Doucet

With careful strums of her harp and crisp vocals imbued with thoughtful reflection, international artist Tiphanie Doucet sets artistic boundaries while breaking musical barriers with her new single “My Own Way.” After sifting through multiple directions her music could take, mainly proposed by industry executives, Doucet forged her own narrative, conflating her variety of musical influences with the frustrations these situations had caused her. Her upcoming album Letters features detailed dedications to those who have had an impact on her music, and more personal tracks that allow her to express heartfelt feelings for her loved ones. Through unrestrained passion, Doucet captures a confessional essence that showcases a commitment to her art, fighting against the harsh grip of imposter syndrome and other challenges that every artist faces. 

Credit: Manuel Dussable

Q. The release of “My Own Way” marks a severance from the opinions of industry figures with an emphasis on steering your own ship as an artist. How was this reflected during the track’s production?

A. I wrote “My Own Way” pretty quickly after a year of writing/ producing and trying to find my way and sound in France, and also with my new place as a producer of my music. I guess I had both the enthusiasm of discovering ways of making sounds and music and also was influenced by the very popular electro-pop sound that a lot of French artists were doing. I went down this road for a bit with tracks like “Joe le taxi,” “Paris Seychelles,” and “Une love song.” Then I made a little pause and I had to realize I loved making these, but they were not really reflecting my art, my heart, and who I was as an artist. I met OTTA, the co-producer of “My Own Way,” through other artists. I reached out to him about making a few songs together. I had a demo for “My Own Way” just on the guitar and we started with it. Everything felt natural and easy. I finished the track in the south of France. This track is really me. You can tell it sits between a true pop song and an indie folk vibe. 


Q. How does “My Own Way” relate to your melding of musical influences from the U.S. and your native country France?

A. I would say this track has more of a US influence than French. The way it’s written is a pop song that will speak to any audience, but the sounds and the way I built the track is to me, driven by what I listen to from the USA and UK. The message I would say is addressed to a French audience because I have to say whenever I felt lost or discouraged, it was coming from France. It’s sad to say but my country always sees an empty glass and always needs to put people in categories. I think America is way more uplifting and hopeful and also way more fascinated by people you cannot categorize. Anything is possible. I like that. 


Q. During the early days of the pandemic you had to move back to France and press pause on your U.S. life and career. What were some of the challenges you endured during this time and how have you learned from them?

A. I think It was a positive experience at first because I suddenly had time. Also, I was finally able to spend time with my family. I could start producing music and go back to my harp. I could also create a relationship with my father because I would go see him every week and take care of him. I enjoyed the French system and realized how lucky we are (health, artist unemployment, etc…) The true challenge came after when trying to pursue things for my music in my own country.

I discovered new codes and also that music tastes were different. Even playing live shows and finding open mics, everything was different.  It was more intellectual, more showing off your voice. It was less about your story and your song. People were also colder and less encouraging. Coming out of Covid was challenging, but it made me realize that America was the country that led me to do music (I started playing on the streets of NJ) and that it was still the country that was the most sensitive to my music. So later on I decided to re-apply for my US Artist visa, and decided I still wanted to share my time between both. I was lucky enough to have learned from both countries and want to try to keep being in both, which is a big challenge for sure. 


Q. Your upcoming album Letters discusses important aspects of gaining autonomy as an artist and navigating through imposter syndrome and conflicting opinions. What are other themes tackled on the album?

A. I would say love! The album starts with a poem in French explaining how I am using beauty in music to hide feelings of anxiety, self-doubts, and also fear of the future. Each song is a letter, and I started writing the album after Covid, so it’s a journey coming from a place of someone longing for answers, love, and escape ( “Une Love Song,” “Ocean Blue,” and “Feels Like Home”) to the reflection of past relationships (Toi et moi je sais pas, “Les mots,” and “Ocean House”) and finding true love and dealing with it (“Easy,” “Spend a Little Time,” “La fuite”). 

One song “Daddy” has a special place. I wrote it while discovering who my dad was. I released it with a more produced version. Then I was recording a live version of it on the piano when the hospital called me and told me my dad was not doing well. I left the studio and took to the road the next day, I drove all day. He passed away a few days later. I could spend time with him at the hospital and play him music so I put this new version of it on the album. The whole album is an open love letter I would say.


Q. “My Own Way” features a harp performance that’s illustrated on the track’s cover. How did you incorporate this beautiful yet unconventional instrument into the song?

A. When I recorded “My Own Way,” I had spent a whole journey on my sound and music already since I went back to the harp. I wrote the song on the guitar, but I wanted to have the harp as a little magical add-on. When I finished the song with Bill at Coxinhell, we listened to everything and realized we loved to have the keys alone and have the harp come in later. I also have a harp/vocal version that I will publish. 


Q. You have explored many outlets creatively, beginning as a child actor and now continuing your craft as a professional musician. What has been the most surprising experience throughout your career in the entertainment industry?

A. The path is never-ending. The learning is constant. I think throughout my career I was super surprised about how many talented people I met and I heard but not many had the desire to work their way through it, to make a career out of it. Not many people actually figure out how to do it because truly it has to come from a deep place, that place where nothing can be better than this, a place where there is no questioning about it. Of course, some days are great and some days you feel you are stuck. Especially even more since everyone watches each other lives, I mean the life we want to show which is mostly not super real. But you don’t ask yourself how. You just know how to do it no matter what and you do it. No Matter how long it takes, because at the end you know the work and the journey will never end, and this is why you are doing it. It’s like true love when it’s here, you just go with it, even if you are scared. I think this is a good recap of my album.