Photo: Ruby Gleeson
With spring in full swing, it is imperative that we begin to compile a playlist of artists that fit the warm and tingly feelings the season normally exudes. As the gradual warmth and bloom continues outside our bedroom walls, at the top of our spring playlist is none other than Hope Tala. With her soft melodies and airy acoustics, she is giving us the effervescent energy we need to live through these seasonal and emotional changes.
A London native, Tala has the unique ability to create music that is stimulating to the mind, body, and soul. Since graduating from the University of Bristol with a first class honors in English Literature, the 21-year old singer-songwriter has not only proven to be a devoted academic but has done an impressive job at balancing her studies with her musical passions.
Often drawing inspiration from her favorite writers, such as Shakespeare, J.D Salinger, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tala's lyricism is as literary and poetic as it is melodic. And as for her distinct sound, Tala notes Lauryn Hill and D'Angelo as some of her primary musical influences, which serve as the foundation to her dynamic artistry but certainly not as the singular focus.
Similar to her alternative approach to songwriting and production, Tala has made a point to reside in a genre that is completely her own, one that is a synthesis between recognizable soul and R&B but with a signature bossa nova flare. Such an implementation of ambient, Latin-influenced chord progressions and chillwave aesthetics not only continues the theme of genre non-conformity in our current soundscape, but represents an "R&Bossa" style that has been crafted and perfected by Tala.
Both released during her three years as a student at the University of Bristol, Tala's Starry Ache and Sensitive Soul EPs are a direct representation of her distinct, emotionally cinematic sound. More specifically, though, her most recent project Sensitive Soul is an engrossingly vulnerable story about youthful relationships and how cognizant sensitivity can be one of the most beneficial components to an honest and loving partnership. While the project pays specific attention to Tala's recognition of her own insecurities, it serves to highlight the beauty in mindfulness and soul-bearing reactions to newfound love.
Noted as her most admired track to date, "Lovestained" highlights how the carefree moments spent with a significant other can be some of the most emotionally stimulating. Incorporating a springy, steel drum with breezy guitar chords, the track's effortless lyricism and clear Caribbean and Latin influences convey a love story shrouded in warmth and simplicity.
Furthermore, in an ode that acknowledges her emotional inhibitions, Tala's track "Sentir" concludes the Sensitive Soul EP with a spoken-confessional about the advantages and disadvantages about being prone to sensitivity, acknowledging that it can be both freeing and irrational, but that she "wouldn't live the life that [she] wanted to live if [she] wasn't so sensitive."
As we find ourselves in increasingly uncertain times, Tala is providing us with the warmth we need to continue on. Through literary storytelling and transformative approaches to the neo-soul soundscape, she epitomizes what it means to be an all-encompassing creative and should definitely be added to your next playlist.
Do yourself a favor and revel in Tala's acrobatic melodies and sunny production with her Sensitive Soul EP below: