It’s been almost two years since Bido Lito! first spoke to TAYÁ and were bowled over by her early successes. Having already released three tracks that showcased her exceptional vocal and writing abilities, the then 17-year-old was well on her way to establishing a secure spot in the RnB music scene. Some of the biggest names in the industry had already alerted listeners to her smooth melodies and sought to collaborate with the young artist. Her career has been making leaps and bounds since she was first discovered singing for Positive Impact at the age of 13.
It’s no surprise then that the past two years have seen Tayá truly reap the rewards of her devotion to music. Named as one of Vevo Dscvr’s 2018 artists, Tayá is now at the brink of the success she was destined for; an important moment to capture in her steadfast career path. Looking back over her incredible experiences so far, especially in what can be a ruthless industry for a young artist, what strikes me during our conversation is her unwavering sense of self and style. Tayá describes an early awareness of what she wanted to create that is ever-present in her current work. “I’ve always known what sound I wanted to create and which lane I wanted to go down with my music, but this year it’s just been one thing after another! What with the songs I’ve released, the people I’ve met, it feels like everything has just fallen into place this year. I’m really happy with where everything’s going.”
Being able to retain her own creative input and be in control of her music has kept Tayá on the right track. Glimpses of her RnB loves of the early 2000s can be found in her music, such as Ciara, Ashanti and JoJo. Her self-titled EP, released in September this year, acts as a snapshot of both her career and personal development so far. “I’ve been working on this EP for two years now. It’s all of my favourite songs from over the years put into a little EP, so every song is about a different stage in my life, especially situations that I’ve grown or learnt something from. The reason I love it so much is because I think other girls my age can relate to it. When I listen to music, I want to hear something I can relate to. Music just speaks to me, and I want to do the same for my listeners.
“I’d say that, when it comes to writing songs, I find the best ones that I write are always the most honest,” she continues. “They’re always the ones that come from real situations. Say, something has happened to me, or to a friend or someone I know, I can channel that in my music.” The personal aspects of Tayá’s music are the key ingredients for creating her textured, intricate sound that captures an array of emotions. These are expressed clearly in her impassioned vocals and are something she also strives to convey in her writing. “A lot of the time I’ll go through WhatsApp messages and old conversations on texts, and take sentences that people have said or ones I’ve said to them. The more honest it is, the more people can relate. Sometimes I’ll speak to people and after hearing one of my songs they’ll say, ‘Oh my god, I said that to you the other day!’”
Does referring to personal experiences also help her deal with the conflicting and difficult emotions conveyed in her songs? “Yeh, definitely! You realise you’re not the only person experiencing them. It gives you the confidence to actually speak about what you’re feeling and write it down, so it really helps.”
Regardless of the impressive list of influential producers and artists that have worked with Tayá, her style and honesty permeate the finished product. She chooses to collaborate with creatives that will complement and evolve her style and character, rather than lead it astray. “Once someone tries to put you in a box, or tell you what to do and how to be, you lose your creativity. I think the relationship is the most important thing, because someone could be an amazing producer or writer, but if you don’t get along, then you’re not gonna want to open up your heart and write something really honest and real with them. Most of the time I look for how I blend with them as a person before I even look at the music. People I’ve worked with are now like friends and we make the best music together, because we’re comfortable with each other. We’re not scared to state our opinions, because there is a mutual understanding. That’s the best way to work.”
To add to the surge of musical talents showing their support and appreciation of Tayá’s music, Zara Larsson and Astrid S invited her to tour with them this year. Working alongside these artists gave Tayá the opportunity to learn and develop as a performer. “The experience was totally different. They were the biggest gigs I’ve ever done and were both very different as tours themselves. Astrid’s was all over Europe and a little bit smaller, but the fans went crazy! And Zara toured all of the UK and the productions were much bigger. They were the best experiences I’ve had performing. Being able to see other people who I can look up to and see how they do things helped me grow so much as a performer. It helped that I was supporting two young girls like myself, so the audiences were really receptive to me, I was really lucky. I got an amazing response!”
She was also able to find her own way of dealing with stage fright. With her strong self-confidence and bubbly spirit that shines throughout our conversation, I was surprised to hear that even Tayá struggles with nerves ahead of performances. “You’ve got to have that persona and get into a different mind frame, because I get so painfully nervous! I shake from head to toe, I sweat, everything! It can get really bad, so I’ve just got to get into a different mind frame and just go for it. Once I’m on stage then it’s OK, it’s just the initial walking on that’s the hard part.”
“Music has just been one of the only things that I’ve really loved and really, really cared about since I was young,” Tayá continues in an impassioned voice, laying her cards on the table. “I’m one of those people who goes through phases where I’m like, ‘Oh, I love this!’ one minute and, ‘Oh, now I love this!’ the next, but music has been one of the only constants throughout my life. That’s how I knew that I wanted to do it as a career, because I was never gonna go to Uni or do anything like that. I’ve always just loved music and you’ve got to do something that you enjoy. That’s why music is important to me. It’s always been there. I’ve always known that this is what I want to do.”
The EP Tayá is out now via Atlantic Records.