TĀLĀ emerged in 2014 with a series of futuristic pop songs that put her voice, songwriting talents, and production skills on display. Songs like "The Duchess" combined electronic production with soaring vocals, and in subsequent years she pushed the limits of her creativity across four EPs. TĀLĀ's last EP, Zal, was released in 2016, and since then she's kept a fairly low profile, but all that changes today.
TĀLĀ is finally back in 2018 with a new single and the announcement of her own label, The Duchess Records. The single, "Stay Here In The Sun," is a bold and bright pop song with a huge hook that nonetheless retains some of the quirkiness that made her early releases so intriguing. It's a collaboration with producer and songwriter Naughty Boy, who has a U.K. No. 1 hit to his name ("La La La" featuring Sam Smith) and has worked with artists like Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Emeli Sandé, but it all came together naturally between the two friends.
"It feels like the right time for me to release 'Stay Here In The Sun' because it marks a really hopeful and positive start to this new era for me," TĀLĀ says. Although this is a standalone single to launch her new label, there is an album on the way too, scheduled for early 2019.
In the meantime, listen to the premiere of "Stay Here In The Sun" now and read our interview below to find out what TĀLĀ has been working on, why the label is so important, and what's coming next.
Tell us about this new song and what it means to you? What do you want listeners to take from it?
It's about the safe, beautiful place you’ve found with someone and trying to keep them away from what isn’t good for them. Songs you write can sometimes be like prophecies. Sometimes what we write in the moment can take on a whole new meaning a year later. I felt like I went through this with someone who was very close to me and it was only a long time after I had written stay here in the sun that the song really took on a whole other and far more personal meaning to me.
How did the collaboration with Naughty Boy Come about?
I’ve known Naughty Boy for a long time, not only is he a friend but we’ve worked together on ideas before.
I remember the night Naughty had shown me a demo that he and Emeli (Sande) had made and I was inspired. He had the idea for me to develop it into a song and build on the production. We loved the idea of the title being "Stay Here In The Sun" as it genuinely makes you feel good but it was only way after the writing process that the lyrics took on a whole new meaning to me. The song felt very special.
Your last project was released in 2016—what have you been focusing on since then and why is now the right time to release more music?
Wow 2016! It feels like yesterday..
Since my last release I have gone through loads of professional and personal changes. At the beginning of 2017 I had over 40 songs that were all being considered for my album but they didn't make sense together. They were tracks I had written with other people and I had done loads of sessions but they didn't form a body of work that I want my album to be. Then last summer loads of stuff changed for me personally and I went into the studio in hibernation. I guess you could call it therapy and I basically wrote down everything that happened and every single raw emotion I was feeling in the moment. I was sending my manager like three new songs a week and before I even knew it I had my album right in front of me.
It feels like the right time for me to release 'Stay Here In The Sun' because it marks a really hopeful and positive start to this new era for me. It is also much more of a song, compared to more instrumental stuff I have released in the past. That is definitely the direction of the album. The production is always important to me and is my foundation but my writing has progressed and I’ve developed a voice I just didn’t have before.
What can you tell us about your upcoming debut album?
The whole album was made in my studio, produced and written by me with the help of a few friends who have worked very closely with me on the project. I really wanted the album to be a cohesive body of work. Its not a collection of random songs but a story.
Why did you want to start The Duchess Records and what are your aims and goals with the label both in the short term and the long term?
The Duchess Records for me is complete freedom and what I really needed. The way I work, like many artists I know, is at times frustratingly fast, constantly in need of an outlet for new ideas and creativity. I wanted to be able to make music and put it out into the world rather than wait six months for the powers that be to decide if its good enough or trendy enough. I just didn’t believe that this was the way to nurture my artistry. I need to feed it and allow it to grow and have its own free space to evolve.
Short terms goals are to put out my album, to be able to drop cool tracks and instrumentals along side it whenever I feel like it and to really build a world around the music and brand that I’ve created.
Long terms goals, I would love to be in the position one day to find and develop a young artist and start putting out other people's music and collaborations. The Duchess Records is going to be a platform for all of my creative ideas that go well beyond music.