Singer-songwriter. Author. Presenter. Social media superstar. These are just some of the words used to describe Tallia Storm.
At just 22 years old, she’s already made a name for herself, reaching amazing heights as an independent artist. Just take a look at her social stats: 470,000 followers on Instagram, 460,000 followers on TikTok (with an impressive 90 million views), 45,000 followers on Facebook, and 55,000 followers on Twitter.
Not bad, right?
With the release of her newest single, “I Am the News,” we had the opportunity to speak with the British singing sensation to discuss where she’s come from, where she’s going, and everything in between.
You’ve come a long way since your first album Teenage Tears was released in 2017 – what has that journey been like for you?
It feels like yesterday I dropped my debut album Teenage Tears – I cannot believe it’s been 3 years. The album itself was such a massive achievement for me because it was all of the songs that I had written from age 14 to 19. From being discovered by Sir Elton John, getting a book deal with Scholastic, Nile Rodgers supporting me to growing into the confident, independent young Tallia. All of the highs and all of the lows – being authentic and honest in my music is such a big part of who I am and what I stand for. Life is a journey and proving yourself as a female artist is an ever bigger battle.
It’s important for me to share that yes, I have many highs and many blessings, but what we do not talk about is the thousands of no’s, the almost maybe’s and the you aren’t quite ‘it’s’. This is the real stuff that drives me! There is no better fuel than being told you are not good enough or your songs aren’t catchy enough or you don’t look a certain type of way. Change your hair, change your tweets, change your wardrobe. I thrive on proving negativity wrong and rising above it. I remember when I first started, Elton told me that It would take me a good 10 years in this industry before I really begin to crack it as an artist. It’s coming up to 9 years, and ironically for the first time, I think I really understand what that meant. You have to feel, be, and experience all of these highs and lows as an artist to really feel the pressure of who you are meant to be and stand for.
At just 13, you were discovered by Elton John, who said you had “one of the most impressive soul signatures he’d heard in 20 years.” How does it feel to have someone at that high of a caliber musically on your side?
I still pinch myself at the fact that this fairytale really happened. Sir Elton will always be my idol, inspiration, and the man that believed in me and changed my life forever. He taught me ambition, drive and work ethic. Learn from your mistakes, be unafraid to grow and change your style, be unafraid to feel the emotions of this ever changing landscape of being an entertainer. I love to perform live on stage – it’s my favourite part of being an artist. As far as I am concerned there is no greater performer than Sir Elton John – he inspired me to sit down in front of the piano and learn how to play. I am always growing, evolving and trying to be the best version of me.
Did you always want to be a singer? How did your musical journey start?
Ever since I can remember, I was obsessed with noise. Give me a pot and wooden spoon, and I would be content for hours as a little baby. I always knew that I was meant to be a performer and meant to be on stage. I could always feel it in my soul like it was some sort of calling. I studied music and art at school, and sound engineering was my main course. I love the technical side of producing and writing as well – I think nowadays, it’s so important to be switched on and be able to walk into the recording studio and understand what’s happening around you.
What music or artists influence you?
I am the biggest Amy Winehouse fan – I could listen to Frank for hours. I grew up listening to Jazz and Neo Soul. I was blown away by the vocal ability of the likes of Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald – they had such tone and beauty In every note they sang. When I first discovered Amy Winehouse after coming from a jazz background, I couldn’t believe how pioneering she was bringing Jazz influences into a modern day pop/soul record. Every time you listen to an Amy song, you can always pick out a new lyric or a new instrument that you might not have heard the first 5000 I’d play it. She was a true artist in every form!
You’re more than just a singer – you’re a full-blown influencer. From music to books to presenting to #TalliaAction, how do you balance it all?
I love creating, I can’t sit still! I just love to entertain and whatever that means – whether its music, writing, singing, dancing, giving back – I love making others feel great with whatever entertainment I can bring to the table. I am so grateful for the journey, so I really do enjoy every single part of it. It’s so important to stop and smell the roses.
What can you tell us about your new single, “I Am the News”?
‘I AM THE NEWS’ is a super upbeat ’80s inspired throwback bop. I am really lucky in that Nile Rodgers has supported me over the last 5 years even tweeting that I was his ‘favourite new artist,’ so I really felt like now was the time to create that ’80s pop record I have always envisioned – inspired by the greats. Writing in lockdown allowed me to really find myself and my love for feel-good songs about empowerment and being your own hype team — and ‘I Am The News’ may be my most favourite yet. My favourite type of retro-funk bop that would have felt just right on a mirror-balled dance floor in 1980s… full of guitar prowess, a lurching, bass-heavy underbelly and an addictive melody that I hope you can’t help but to whistle along to.
Something that we’re seeing more and more these days is artists being totally independent, building their brands by themselves, which is what you have done – and so successfully. How does it feel to have that independence?
I want to represent that Gen Z demographic, who are entrepreneurial and independent, thinking globally, not locally, with fierce ambition and originality. I think it’s so important to be all hands on deck when being a modern day artist and fully understanding the business side of your artistry as well. I love my job, and I’m grateful to be able to have so much control over my music, my sound, and the message I am sending to my fans.
I hope people are able to feel the strength and vulnerability in my music. Females can be both strong and vulnerable at the same time.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming artists trying to do the same?
Don’t let them try to dim your sparkle. Don’t let them make you doubt yourself. You are your own superpower, and you have to own that.
2021 is already set to be a banner year for you. What more can we expect from you this year? More music on the way, perhaps a new album?
Get ready to DANCE! I love when people underestimate a female artist, I cannot wait to release all this new era of Tallia Storm. I have a big collaboration coming with a very popular UK rapper so I think this next era of 22-year-old Tallia will be what everyone has been waiting for…fingers crossed. Big attitude, big emotion, and a big sound! I hope we can get back out onto a stage soon…I miss performing so much. The kitchen disco will have to do for now.