Tanya Tagaq on her acting debut in True Detective: Night Country

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Q8:51 p.m.Tanya Tagaq: True Detective, the genius of Jodie Foster and the creation of the music for the series

Most people who land their very first acting job don’t get their start opposite an American cinema legend like Jodie Foster – unless you’re Tanya Tagaq, of course.

The award-winning Inuit throat singer was approached to compose music for the soundtrack of True Detective: Land of the Night, the fourth season of the HBO anthology series, and was unexpectedly offered a small role. Tagaq has kept details of her character under wraps to avoid spoilers, although she is known to appear briefly in three scenes.

In a conversation with Qby Tom Power, Tagaq says she happily accepted the role, but felt a little nervous about trying something new. It wasn’t until she saw Foster in action that she decided she would definitely like to act more in the future.

“That’s what made me want to do more,” Tagaq says of Foster’s acting prowess.

“The camera started rolling and I had chills from head to toe because (Jodie) transformed. I’m sorry, I can almost barely talk about it because it blew my mind!”

Set in the fictional town of Ennis, Alaska, the latest installment of True Detective stars Foster as a hardened cop who tries to solve a number of murders and disappearances. Supernatural phenomena are common in this city, as every winter it is plunged into the endless darkness typical of the colder months near the Arctic Circle.

WATCH | Official trailer for True Detective: Night Country:

While Tagaq can’t get into plot details – “I have to stop,” she tells Power, “because I’m really, really, really looking forward to people seeing what happens.” – she can discuss her contributions to the score.

The Inuit singer-songwriter says she began by recording in a studio in Iceland with music supervisor Susan Jacobs before flying to London to work with series composer Vince Pope.

“We had a lot of fun,” says Tagaq. “They were playing the scene they wanted me in, they had a screen and I was reacting to what was on the screen.”

Tagaq says reacting to what she saw on screen was less about thinking and more about feeling.

“Nothing you can present to me can make me feel more passion or more pain than the reality of things I have witnessed, seen or felt before,” she says. “There are many things in reality that are more upsetting than fiction… I just look at the image and I produce the sound that I feel. And that’s what improvisation is, isn’t it? So that’s always how I’ve worked.”

The full interview with Tanya Tagaq is available at our podcast, Q with Tom Power. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.


Interview with Tanya Tagaq conducted by Mitch Pollock.

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