TALIA is an exciting new artist based in Brooklyn, NY, whose debut EP ‘headrush’ was just released at the beginning of April. TALIA’s lush, emotive songs show the breadth of her influences and the depth of her lyricism. We sat down to chat with the artist about the making of ‘headrush’, her many artistic mediums, the artists she loves, and her plans for 2021.
Hey TALIA, it’s so nice to meet you!
Yea nice to meet you too, thanks for having me!
How’s your day been going?
Pretty good, it’s a rainy day. I’m in New York so I’m all cuddled up and cozy today. I’ve just been working from home.
Congrats on the release of your debut EP ‘headrush’ which just came out April 2nd . Can you give some insight on what went into making the record?
Yeah, so I started it at the beginning of the pandemic, but I really didn’t click that it was a project until towards the end of this past summer. I was just writing and reflecting on a lot of relationships and I feel like quarantine had me in a state of introspection because I had a lot of time with myself. I was just naturally inspired to write and then all these feelings came out. From the songs that I wrote I realized that it felt like it could be a cohesive project. Before that I had only released one single, “Shiver” and I’d always wanted to spend more time with music so it just felt like the perfect opportunity to experiment and play with the different sounds that I’m interested in. I think it’s kind of cool that my first project just happened to come really naturally.
The process of making ‘headrush’ was amazing though! I spent a lot of quarantine with my mom in Phoenix, Arizona which is so beautiful and inspired a lot of the visuals for the project as well. I was there with my brother who’s also a musician and we had a ton of fun making all the demos.
One of the tracks on the EP, “fuckn amazing” is actually just the demo. I recorded it once and wrote the lyrics in that moment and haven’t touched it since. With most of the songs, I wrote the lyrics in like 20 minutes just sitting with my guitar, because it’s just how I felt in that exact moment. I try to go back to those songs to work on them, but my brother just told me one day that those are the best takes because they’re just raw and honest. But of course I always put the bells and whistles on after.
Do you feel like you write best when it’s an organic process?
It’s definitely something that has to be organic for me. Like if I don’t feel inspired in a moment, I just have to set my guitar aside and experience some life for two weeks and then I’ll get a burst of inspiration. But I’ve always worked like that. I’m a filmmaker too and have acted and in all of those avenues I’ve realized that creatively, I’m just at my best when I really feel it, and don’t try to force the process.
So it sounds like you’re really prone to bursts of creativity, is there anything particular that spurs those moments of inspiration for you?
It could be so many things. It mostly comes from life experience but I get inspired by other artists too. I have a lot of creative friends and so just having conversations with them about life about love and just anything really sparks a lot for me.
I’ve always gotten a lot of inspiration from films too. I’m in love with storytelling, and putting myself in those characters shoes.
But if I’m not naturally inspired, I’ve learned that I have to leave it alone and wait for the spark to come
Before the pandemic, you were primarily pursuing acting. What inspired the shift into music?
I studied acting and film but music has always been a part of my life. It is the first creative outlet that I found ’cause I started piano lessons when I was seven. My dad is also a musician, so he had always played music around us and taught us little things here and there. I’d watch him at his concerts, so it’s always been a constant thing that I’ve loved.
I think that I didn’t find my stride with music until very recently though, which is pretty cool because it just felt so natural to me in the beginning. I’d never thought of it as something that I could actually pursue or that people might actually want to hear what I have to say. I’m grateful for that shift because I still love all my other mediums and I plan on continuing to pursue those too, but music has offered me like a place to be vulnerable. It’s the realest, most raw version of me whereas with film and acting I get to change characters and step into another person’s perspective.
So you started playing the piano at a really young age, was that the instrument you started writing with?
When I started off I just saw myself as a musician with piano, then I learned a little bit of violin and taught myself guitar. I was more into the instruments and composing. At one point I actually thought I was going to compose scores for films. I’ve always admired like singers and songwriters, but I didn’t find my voice until high school. That’s when I started writing songs and sharing them with my friends. They’d be like, this is actually good! But it took me a while to actually believe them but once I did, it came more naturally. But I’m still learning about my own process.
So if there was a film you could go back in time and re-score, what would it be?
I would love to score the Great Gatsby film!
And what vibe would you give that score?
I love strings and orchestral music, and it would definitely be cinematic in a classical way. But I would love to find a way to bring some electronic sounds to it, like I love M83 because I feel like their music has that cinematic element, but I also love all of Hans Zimmer’s work. So I would want to infuse that dark string sound with a more modern, electronic twist.
But I think the score of that movie is already so sick, I love Lana Del Rey’s song in it.
So, as a kid was there an artist or experience that really shaped your personal taste in music or style?
Oh definitely, I love OutKast and the way that they played with so many genres and sounds. I think they fully changed the game. I also loved Lykke Li growing up, and Lorde and Solange too.
I think I just especially resonated with the artists that were doing something different than everyone else. Now, I feel like it’s cool to be doing something different but back then it wasn’t necessarily, so it definitely inspired me to own up to my unique sound and be honest with my music.
You have this great quote where you say, “There is an expectation for Black culture to carry society forward with little regard to the silencing we face. My music is a place where I can feel those emotions because I had to fight for the space to have them in the first place.”
I was wondering if you could speak on that more, and the commodification of black art and how you navigate that?
Yea that’s a great question, honestly, I’ve still been figuring that out. I always want to be pushing the boundaries like those black artists who I love but have also seen the ways the industry has treated black women like me. I want to be able to put my art fully forward and out there without it being commodified, and that’s a boundary that I’m still navigating.
At the end of it all, I just need to be true to myself. That’s what I’ve always admired about artists like OutKast and Solange. I think they are spearheads in the industry and have really changed the game. I hope people acknowledge that and the huge imprint black culture has left on music today and the genres we all love so much. It’s important to me that we give credit where credit is due.
What artists have you been listening to recently?
I’ve been loving this artist Alaska Reid, if you like the band Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Karen O, you’ll love her. She’s very up and coming but reminds me so much of Karen O
There’s also this new artist Unusual Demont who I’ve been loving.
There are so many, but I’ll stop after this one, but there’s this artist Ahmad Anonimis who I’ve been loving. He’s a rapper and he’s actually from the same area I am in Georgia. He has this really catchy playful sound.
Along those lines, who would be your dream collaboration?
And I can only pick one! Well first off, Frank Ocean, because everyone wants to work with him. But I’d also die to work with James Blake or OutKast.
That’s a great answer! So what are your plans going forward into 2021?
Well I’m excited to hopefully play shows in person and I’m already working on a bunch of new music that sounds really different than what was on ‘headrush’ so hopefully I’ll get to roll out some of those singles. I also have some ideas for a larger visual project, so I’ve got a lot to look forward to!
‘headrush’ is available to listen on all streaming platforms.