- Words Notion Staff
- Photography Rosie Matheson
- Styling Oliver Vaughn
- Hair Stefan Bertin
- MUA Jess Summer
Hope Tala tells us about her musical firsts - from seeing The Ting Tings live at 10 years old (remember them!) to playing the clarinet.
“Why have a life if you’re not going to do something crazy and make a difference in the world?” That’s the question Hope Tala asked herself when she turned down a masters degree at Cambridge to concentrate on her music.
The west London singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist may have taken a leap of faith, but it’s sure as hell paying off.
Coupling entrancingly soft vocals with summery bossa nova beats, Hope Tala’s lifelong musical education has embedded this innate ability within her to craft beautiful melodies. Playing clarinet and guitar in school, one day in 2016 Hope uploaded her demo “Peace Freestyle” to Soundcloud. Instagram creative platform Art Hoe Collective shared the song, leading Illegal Civilization founder Mikey Alfred to stumble upon the track and spin it on Pharrell’s Apple Music Beats 1 radio show. This moment acted as the launchpad for Hope Tala’s dream to become a reality.
Hope’s latest EP, ‘Girl Eats Sun’, set for release soon, follows on from her critically acclaimed sophomore EP ‘Sensitive Soul’, which came out last year. Her debut EP ‘Starry Ache’ dropped the year before whilst she was studying English Literature at Bristol University (of course Hope achieved a first-class degree – no biggie). The project’s name ‘Girl Eats Sun’ is a representation of Hope’s drive to chase her dream as much as possible: “If you’re eating the sun, you can take the heat. Everyone had better watch out for you because you’re ready to really achieve something,” she explains.
Whilst we wait for the EP, Hope has shared a new single, “All My Girls Like To Fight”, which shows her embarking on a new musical direction. Whilst the summery bossa nova sound Hope Tala became known for has departed, we get to see her flexing her rapping skills instead.
We spoke to Hope about her musical firsts, and she spills the beans on everything from her first festival to the first time she heard her music playing on the radio.
First song you made?
I’d written bits and bobs before this, but the first time I made a full song with production and everything was for my Music AS Level – the lyrics were adapted from Langston Hughes’ poem ‘Island’ because I didn’t like the thought of having my own lyrics associated with something that was for a grade.
First gig you went to?
The Ting Tings with my dad when I was about 10 years old – we were obsessed with their first album ‘We Started Nothing’. I remember getting up after I’d been put to bed that night to ask my parents why there was a ringing sound in my ears – I was so stressed about it!
First CD you owned?
There were a million CDs in my house growing up, so I never really had a moment where I thought ‘this is my first CD’.
First time you realised you wanted to be a musician?
It took me a while to realise it was my calling, but I think the desire has always been in my heart – ever since I was a baby with colic and my dad’s trick to stop me crying was to play me “Two Can Play That Game” by Bobby Brown.
First festival you went to and the first one you performed at?
I definitely went to Lovebox and some other festivals with my family as a kid that I don’t remember too well but I went to Wireless for the first time in 2013 and I think I’d still say it was the best day of my life. The first festival I performed at was technically my high school’s Summer Arts Festival, which I miss terribly.
First song you released officially?
“Blue”, the first single from my first EP ‘Starry Ache’. I had written it at home on my guitar and took it to the producer Jamal Hadaway on the first day we ever worked together and he built the production around what I’d written.
First gig you played?
I’d played various smaller things before this, but what felt like my first real gig as a real artist was in London on the 14th of August 2019, the same day my ‘Sensitive Soul’ EP dropped.
First instrument you owned?
I started clarinet lessons when I was 8, and I’ll never forget my first day with the instrument. I couldn’t stop taking it apart and putting it back together over and over again.
First time you wanted to give up?
Never. Never EVER in my life
First time you heard your song playing somewhere?
My demo ‘Peace Freestyle’ which was the first song I ever put on Soundcloud was played on Othertone on Beats 1 back in 2016, back when I was just making music for fun. I cried about it for at least half an hour alone in my room in my university halls.