YEOJA Mag - BHM 2021 - Talia

Talia Beale

Interview with the North London-based artist and musician

Talia Beale (​@taliable​) is a​ North London based, multidisciplinary artist and musician, who is currently undertaking her placement year at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. As part of our 2021 BHM series, YEOJA Mag spoke to Talia about how she began creating music and how her Black heritage and her London district of Tottenham inspires her creatively.

You have many talents in a lot of different fields ranging from being a visual artist to being a musician. How would you define yourself to people?
Talia: I explore creativity in all realms whether that’s expressing myself through videography, poetry, photography, sculpture, handmade costumes, painting, or collage. I often say my visuals were just waiting for my voice. If I could put my creative endeavours in a capsule, I’d say I’m a creator/multidisciplinary artist/storyteller/creative director. I feel like I’m cheating if I just say I’m a musician.

YEOJA Mag - BHM 2021 - Talia
Photography: Casey Reddy (@blue0sukai)

When and how did you begin developing a passion for music and song writing?
Talia: Writing has always been an interest of mine. I often wrote strange stories and drew comics with weird creatures in school. In secondary school my gxrls and I would freestyle together, making beats with bottles and on the tables.

I​ remember when you released your first single “Tender” in 2019. Was that the first song you created?
Talia: From years of journaling thoughts and memories to then toying with poetry, I arrived at deliverable lyrics. A few weeks before the birth of “Tender”, I’d just experienced my first proper heartbreak and words just poured out of me that night, highly intoxicated under a shelter near Portobello (in London). A flaw of mine at the time was an inability to share my true feelings. Sometimes I would want to share something but felt like I wasn’t able to. But as I went through this loss, something clicked and I made it my mission to express the way I felt and ask for help.

At the time I was interning for ​KeepHush ​(a members only club for underground music) so I was in and out of events every week where I literally began to ask everyone if they produced and wanted to make a song together. All I wanted to do was make this one song and then I’d cap my musical journey there.

Long story short I connected with Karl Brinaj, the musical wizard, who I’d always speak to on my breaks and we haven’t looked back since. Karl really was a catalyst for myself to even see potential in my voice and music. He told me if I wanted to make more music, then he’d love to be my producer and ride it out with me. So we created a safe space to just express the rawest sides of ourselves through experimental audio and storytelling.

YEOJA Mag - BHM 2021 - Talia
Photography: Casey Reddy (@blue0sukai)

To those who have never listened to your music, how would you describe your music and your attitude when performing?
Talia: I’d coin my sound as dysfunctional rap. As for my attitude when performing on stage: I’d say it’s unapologetic and bold.

Is there a specific message you want to send out to your listeners? Who are you when you are performing?
Talia: The message lies in the lyrics as well as my visuals. They’re there to be decoded and applied where suitable. They are all puzzle pieces based on the state I’m in when making these tracks. I’m a big advocate for not over sharing explanations on one’s creations. Artists and listeners are a collaborative encounter. The whole point [of art] is for others to resonate with it how they see fit. If it’s communicated effectively, you’ll feel the message.

YEOJA Mag - BHM 2021 - Talia
Photography: Casey Reddy (@blue0sukai)

How much has your black heritage influenced your creativity?
Talia: The texture of Tottenham has always been a huge inspiration for me. The accumulation of squares in a block of flats, barbed wire fences, patchy concrete pavements, a pram left on the side of a road, rusty shop fronts… And then there’s the melting pot of diverse Black people who I’ve been exposed to my whole life and have influenced the raw aesthetic of my work.

Growing up around people from a range of ethnicities who unapologetically wear their culture on their sleeve inspired me to always remain connected to the area I was raised in and use that as a life foundation – forever creating with what I have in my reach, harbouring continuous motivation, charisma and drive to apply myself in any situation.

What advice would you give to other young black gxrls today?
Talia: Stand your ground, don’t shrink yourself in any way, shape, or form or dumb down your ideas for another. Demand your space and excel in all of your dreams. Everything is possible with passion and purpose. And finally, consume content of iconic, wise Black womxn such as Oprah Winfrey, Alicia keys and, Bell Hooks.

YEOJA Mag - BHM 2021 - Talia
Photography: Casey Reddy (@blue0sukai)

Who inspires you?
Talia: Rico Nasty, Salvador Dali, Dr Seuss, Alicia Keys, and Charles Jeffrey.

What is your greatest accomplishment for you?
Talia: Creatively directing and performing a Tate Late show is definitely up there with my greatest accomplishments. Being accepted into CSM was also a great moment considering I had no desire to go to university. That whole period of time of building a portfolio for university really showed me how working hard every single day and living your passion truly pays off.
Photography: Casey Reddy (@blue0sukai). To follow Talia on Instagram, click here. For more interviews, click here. For more BHM articles, click here.