The London-hailed R&B singer talks her new single, finding inspiration and how her next EP is her most inventive yet.
Transporting us to late night backstreets in an old Spanish town with Latin dancers and flamenco guitars in tow is rising UK singer Hope Tala, with her fierce new R&B-tinged single “All My Girls Like To Fight”. Brimming with rich guitar chords and suspenseful melodies, Hope delivers an assertion of confidence and boldness for a fierce and sensual track. Taken from her upcoming EP “Girl Eats Sun”, the track is accompanied by a stunning video shot by Migos and Lil Yachty favourite Millicent Hailes.
Speaking on the release, the singer said, “I grew up on good stories, and have always been driven by a desire to craft my own. Writing ‘All My Girls Like To Fight’ was the first time I felt like I was really constructing an expansive narrative in a song. I wanted to create a visually rich tale steeped in drama and intrigue to match the suspenseful Spanish guitar chords we started with in the studio, and wanted to portray women as having strength and agency in the narrative.”
Hope’s upcoming EP and new music follows on from her breakout EP “Sensitive Soul”, which racked in an impressive 20 million streams and growing. But now, ready to start a new chapter and push the boundaries on her vocals and productions, the singer talks to us about staying creative in lockdown, growing up in London and how her next project is her most inventive yet.
Check out the interview below…
Hey Hope! Hows lockdown been? What’s one thing you’ve learned?
Hi! I really can’t complain – it sucks to have had things not go to plan but considering all the terrible things going on in the world I count myself very lucky to have been home with my family who I love to death and get on with really well. I think like a lot of people I’ve learned some important lessons about priorities in this time.
You had huge support for your EP “Sensitive Soul”, what was the inspiration behind the EP?
I never really overthink concepts or anything ahead of making a project, I just focus on making great individual songs and finding ways to make them make sense cohesively. With Sensitive Soul, after I had made most of the songs I realised that I wanted to tell a story through the idea of sensitivity because I’m a very sensitive person and I felt like that came across on the tracks, particularly in “Jealous”, “Sunburn” and “D.T.M”. The final track Sentir, which is a dialogue that happens over the music of “Lovestained”, came about because I wanted to explore the various positive and negative connotations of sensitivity.
Your music is quite personal, do you find it difficult to pour out your emotions into your music?
On the contrary, I find it really difficult to write songs that aren’t personal! I’ve tried and failed on more than one occasion to write songs that are more outward-facing. I worry about that sometimes but then I often find myself thinking about the fact that in “Little Women” – one of my favourite books growing up – all of Jo March’s writing was pretty bad and unsuccessful until she started writing about her own story.
You grew up in west London, how did growing up in a melting-pot of music influence your sound?
At home there was always a lot of music being played – my mum mostly listens to neo-soul/R&B leaning music, which are definitely the main genres I listen to, but my dad has always had a very broad and random palette so I was exposed to a lot of different sounds. Living in London I was lucky enough to go to a good amount of concerts and festivals in the city as a teenager, and I played a lot of music in orchestras so I think classical music has had a real impact on my sound too.
After you finished university you were supposed to follow a masters degree but ultimately changed your mind, what made you make this choice?
Well I’ve always been academic and really loved studying English Literature at uni. I was very dedicated to my studies, and my dream was to go to Cambridge to study a Masters – I was so happy when I got in. That was a couple of months before “Lovestained” – the first single from “Sensitive Soul” – came out, and everything started going well with music. After that I thought that no matter how much I wanted to go to Cambridge, I needed to be doing music – and music is quite a one-shot career. I knew I would have regretted continuing my studies, which I can always return to later in life, when I had so many amazing opportunities in front of me.
What do you want people to feel when they hear your music?
I just want to make people feel seen and more connected to themselves. I used to think that music should make people happy, and have realised that although feel-good happy music is crucial and is maybe my favourite music to make, ultimately it’s about helping people connect with themselves and helping them to work through whatever emotions they’re dealing with – happiness, sadness, anger or whatever it may be.
What can we expect from your upcoming EP “Girl Eats Sun”?
It’s the Hope Tala sound you know and love, but the music is stronger and bolder. The stories on this project are my most inventive thus far I think.
Who are your main inspirations?
It’s such a cliched answer because she’s everyone’s main inspiration but Lauryn Hill will always be up there for me. I could go on about her for hours, but in short, I’ll say that her legacy and power will last a very long time. I’ve always felt that my literary inspirations are equally as important as my musical ones in terms of their impact on my lyricism; authors such as Françoise Sagan, Zadie Smith and Sylvia Plath I count as big ones.
Aside from your EP, what are you most excited for?
This year has sucked for everyone and I kind of think it’s only up from here. So I’m excited about everything really, and life eventually going back to somewhere near normal. I’m excited to continue working on my first album too.