That’s right: Boston Police Officer Kim Tavares, or her musical alter ego Kim Tavar, is charting on radio stations in the United Kingdom and Canada.
Over the past year, when Tavares wasn’t working a shift at BPD, she was writing and recording her R&B record, “My Story,” which came out in February. Last week, she was on the R&B charts of the Urban Influencer radio station in the U.K. and Teerex Radio in Montreal, and that wasn’t her first time finding international success. In March, six of her songs were on Amazon’s U.K. Top 100 New Releases, and her album was number four on Amazon’s U.K. Hot New Releases R&B album chart. A few of her singles even hit the charts in November 2020.
You may already have heard of Tavares: in 2018, a video of her and fellow Boston Officer Stephen McNulty singing God Bless America in “cop pool karaoke” went viral. Since then, Tavares has sung the national anthem at numerous local sporting events, and was even invited to appear on Good Morning America and to sing with Brad Paisley at his local show.
Tavares, a Duxbury and midland Pennsylvania native, has been serving on the Boston police force for 20 years, but she has nurtured a passion for music for much longer.
“I’ve always loved music,” she said. “I used to listen to a bunch of different albums back in the 70s. I also listened to the radio, and I’d listen to not just one type of music but I’d go up and down the dial of the radio, and when a song was playing, I’d sing that song…whether it was R&B soul, Motown, classic rock like the Eagles, country — I loved Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, that original country music. Once I would go up and down the dial I’d start all over again.”
Tavares was a shy kid, and her first public singing experience was in the eighth-grade choir at her Duxbury middle school. She learned the basics of songwriting in choir, but never wanted to pursue music in college. As a single mom, she joined singing competitions and eventually joined a few successful top 40 bands.
“I never gave up singing,” she said. “I joined a band in the early 90s…we played all over New England, we went to Nova Scotia for two weeks, Block Island, we were booked just about every weekend. It was top 40, so it wasn’t just one genre of music.”
As an officer, she has always kept the music alive. She sang at her graduation in 2001 and has since performed at hundreds of police events.
“There are plenty of female independent artists out there, there are many African American female artists, some that are single moms, but you’re not going to find a lot that are police officers,” she said. “What I want the world to know is you have to have something outside of what you do to level out that stress. Something that makes you happy, something that makes you calm down, something that makes you feel like you’re helping others.”
Tavares is excited about her new record and the attention it’s getting. In September, she’s booked to play a soul festival in Southport, England. Her songs “Movin’,” “Love Me for Me,” and “Isaiah” have been getting the most airplay, but she believes her track “Trippin Together” has the most universal message. She’s excited to bring all her music on the road.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s an intimate setting of 10 people or 10,000 people – I want to be part of that,” she said.
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