We get chatting to the emerging soul-pop songstress.
With the rise of Soundcloud a few years ago, there came a flood of fresh-faced artists ushering in a new genre that’s somewhere between everywhere: RnB, electronic, hip-hop, soul, garage, pop. Spearheaded by the likes of Cyril Hahn and Kaytranada, it’s remained the soundtrack to every chilled summer party since. Right now though, no one is nailing this sound quite like Tayá, the 17 year-old Liverpudlian who is one part Aaliyah and one part AlunaGeorge.
17 might seem young, but don’t let numbers fool you; she’s been crafting her sound in the studio since the tender age of 12, and already has collaborations with the likes of Sángo and Snakehips under her belt. Growing up in Liverpool, too, means she has come from a city that’s serious about its music, and 2016 could very well be the year she joins its impeccable musical legacy. With her mixtape due to drop any time soon, we jumped at the opportunity to get to know Tayá a little better.
What drew you to making music – what was your calling?
I don’t think there was ever one specific thing that made me love music. I think I’ve always loved it since I was a kid; I was always singing or dancing or listening to music when I was young. It’s just always been something I’ve loved. My first time taking it more seriously rather than just for fun was doing plays and singing at a local youth group choir.
What’s your earliest memory of music? What records did you grow up on?
My earliest memory, haha, I used to obsess over the film Oliver Twist! I know every word to every song and my mum would ring all her mates and make me sing down the phone – embarrassing looking back now but it’s true. Despite that, the music I grew up listening to was Motown, it was always on in the house and all my family were really into it, I grew up listening to people like The Temptations, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and people like that.
Have your tastes changed? What are you listening to at the moment? Which artists really influence your sound?
My tastes have changed a bit since I was younger; I still love Motown music and could listen to it all day, but now I sway more towards R&B. I love the older sounds like Ashanti, Jojo, Ciara and people like that although, Jhene Aiko and Kehlani are really influential to me too.
We love Sweet Waste of Time! What inspired the track? What does it mean to you?
Thanks! That track was inspired by literally a waste of time, just a person you try your hardest with and you get nothing back. No one should waste their energy on someone like that, it’s just not worth it!
You’re 17, which is an impressive age to be working with some amazing people like Snakehips and George Reid of AlunaGeorge… how did you get the ball rolling?
Yeah a lot of people say it’s brilliant to be 17 and working so much, but to be honest it’s been a long time in the making. I started doing my first studio sessions when I was 12 and 13, and working with amazing producers like that is definitely a blessing, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t worked hard to come up on their radars!
What would be you dream musical collaboration?
There’s sooo many people! But even though sadly he’s passed away now, J Dilla was someone I think I would’ve worked perfectly with. I loved his musical style; he was just so me in every way. Another person is Common, I love his style – he raps in such a real way, and I feel he’s different to all other rappers nowadays.
Where do you start with creating a track, what comes first? Tell us a bit about your creative process.
Well everyone you work with has a different way of making music, but I prefer to start with chords. Just a little progression so you know where you’re standing, then to write the song with as little music as possible. I think that way it’s all about the song and the music can mould around and compliment it, because at the end of the day if you’ve got an amazing song then it can sound amazing 100 different ways.
Have you played many shows so far? How do shows compare to the studio? Which do you prefer?
Since I have been singing I’ve done hundreds of shows here and there, but with my own material there hasn’t been that many! It’s hard to say what I prefer because you have good and bad days in both – it’s always nerve wrecking performing your own stuff, because I’m personally so proud of my music and you want everyone else to feel the same way!
What’s your career highlight to date?
Hmm that’s a hard one. I wouldn’t say I had a highlight just yet as I’m only still developing and trying to do my best like everyone else. But I have to say when you hear people you admire are reaching out to do sessions, or when you hear your song on the radio, it’s an amazing feeling like your hard work is paying off.
Are you working on an LP? What should we expect from it?
Yes 100% in the future there will be an album coming, but for now there will be a mixtape dropping soon around March/April time. I’m really excited about that, there will be a few songs that are already out on there and a few newbies too.
Tell us a bit about what you have in store for us? What does the future hold for Taya?
Well first the mixtape! Then who knows hahah, I’m just trying to make music I’m really proud of and when the time is right show to everyone my work!. I’m gonna work towards an album and see where it goes, I’m just enjoying what I’m doing!
Words: Lewis Goodacre