London based singer and songwriter Taliwhoah is not afraid to speak her mind, assert her value, and work hard to bring her dreams to life. For Tali, music is not just a way of expressing herself, but also, a way of peace and aligning with her purpose. Between working in cities like Los Angeles and doing shows around the UK, Tali finds time to take in life and write about her experiences. Her R&B, Pop, and soulful sound brings a unique energy to any listener and allows them to relate to her life.
We got to catch up with Tali and talk about her music inspirations, songwriting process, and being a woman in the music industry. Check it out below!
What inspired you to pursue singing and songwriting?
I would say I started songwriting at a very early age, maybe about 9-years-old. It started as a hobby from writing a ton of diary entries and poems for school projects, and for my own personal enjoyment and therapy.
Writing was very much a release for me, especially when trying to express my feelings. I'm much better at putting feelings into writing than I am verbally saying my feelings out loud, which didn't always work to my benefit lol. So writing definitely helped a lot!
Would you say that you chose music or that music chose you?
I would say that music definitely chose me. I come from quite a musically inclined family - both on my mother and my father's side - but I wouldn't say it was my initial passion in life. I showed signs of being quite musically talented but I was more leaning toward being in the fashion and dance industry.
After graduating high school at 16, I took a year off then enrolled at FIDM in LA. Although I loved dance and fashion, I wasn’t fully fulfilled. I had an opportunity to travel back home to London in the midst of my classes and work. It definitely wasn't the prime time for everything but I knew I needed something new. So I quit my job, quit school, came back home and found D major - my main producer that produced my entire first project - and began making music. I knew from the first time I heard one of my songs played back that music was it!
How has growing up in both London and LA shaped who you are today?
I was born and raised in London but I am of Afro-Caribbean heritage (quite very strong cultures) and I feel like my background played heavily into my self-identity. I didn't really realize just how much until I moved to the States.
Having such a strong sense of self in the "Land of the Free" had its perks for me. I was always so thankful for being able to come to America and grow in a place where you were taught that you can be anything you put your mind too and having this "American Dream," which for everyone means something different. There wasn't really such a thing as the "English Dream," it was kinda embedded in us from a young age that you go to school, go to college, go to uni, and get a well enough paying job to raise a family.
How would you describe your sound?
I would describe my sound as mellow dramatic lol. Lots of R&B, jazz, and reggae fusion influence in my sound. I like to play with all sorts of sounds and genres and just add a feeling to them. It's all about feeling for me, a message that I'm trying to convey and get across. So I'm willing to do that on any composition that connects with me.
“No pressure, no diamond... Cliche! I know. But I really feel like it's important to remember that it's the pressures of life that make gems out of all of us."
Who are some artists from past eras that have inspired you?
I have my mum to thank for my broad taste in music. She introduced me to a lot music from an early age. I was heavily influenced by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Brandy, Mya and Sade. I also listened to reggae artists such as Freddy McGregor, my mother Toyin Adekal, and my aunty Sandra Cross. My influence is quite broad, I take a lot from everywhere because I grew up listening to so many variations of music.
Take us through your song writing process…
I wouldn't say I actually have a process to be honest. My inspiration tends to spark at the most random times. It can come from how I feel at a certain moment or inspiration that physically I see.
You recently dropped your track “Alright.” What is the message you wanted to send through this track?
I guess I was subconsciously channeling all my negative energy I had been feeling earlier and speaking to it, telling myself - and anyone else listening - I'm gonna be alright. Sometimes in acknowledging that things may not be where we want them we still need to take a moment to be thankful for what is, and set a positive outlook for what is to come!
What challenges do you face as a female musician - and how do you fight the standards and conventions set for women in the industry?
I like to think that I fight the social norms that society sets for women by constantly educating myself about my craft and what's going on in the world, and using the knowledge I gain. As a female in the industry, I've actually been blessed enough to work with individuals that genuinely respect me as a woman and what I have to bring to the table. I have had my fair share of experiences with people trying to over step boundaries by challenging my will-power as a woman. However, I've always managed to handle the situation appropriately without it ever having to get too out of hand.
Are there any artists you would love to collaborate with in the future?
I would love to work with Sampha, he's so dope! I also would love to work with Mura Masa, Childish Gambino and Jai Paul. These are some immediate names that come to mind.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you have ever been given?
"No pressure, no diamond" - I have it tatted on me too! Cliche! I know. But I really feel like it's important to remember that it's the pressures of life that make gems out of all of us.
If you could perform in any city where would you go and why?
I would love to do a headline show in my own city one day! I obviously wanna travel all over the world and perform (Nigeria, Dubai, and Brazil being at the top of my international list) but it would mean a lot to me to be able to do a big show in London and see my name in big huge letters, the whole sha-bang.
What are some of your self-care practices?
Drink lots and lots of water lol. Water is life! I also love my good ole home made face masks and I eat pretty healthy but seriously, drinking lots of water!
Do you have any upcoming projects you’re particularly excited about?
I'm extremely excited to release my second EP this year. It is titled New Wave Order and I'm genuinely happy with it. I had another chance to be as creative as I wanted to be and I love how all the elements have come together!
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
MISSBISH is a term that I feel christens your true renaissance woman! A woman making her mark in history and using her voice, talent, and energy to enlighten others.
Photos by: Eddie Fiasco