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by Tori Sharp

We meet the dreamy rising star ahead of the release of her debut EP.

‘Distant Dreams’ is the latest single to be released from Tulliah’s upcoming debut EP and it is spine-tinglingly stirring. The whole EP, which is set to be released on the 12th March, gave me goosebumps on the first listen…and the second…and third. Chatting with Tulliah, we learnt about the 19-year-old’s hopes and dreams, none of which are too lofty for this future star.  

I have just listened to your EP three times through and I have goosebumps. It is really, really fantastic, so firstly, congratulations!

It warms my heart that you love it, thank you so much!!! It’s been a long time coming.

The speech overlay from ‘Teenagers’ works so well. Where did you find it? At 19, you are still a teenager, but you seem wise beyond your years, have you ever felt that you’ve been underestimated because of your age? 

Dean Tuza (producer) constantly had images, scenes or colours in his head when we’d listen back. He would search up movie trailers or random videos and we’d sit back and watch the scenes with the song playing over the top. We must have searched up something along the lines of “teenagers in the 1950’s” and stumbled across an interview called ‘It’s the Age of the Teenager’ with Lady Lewisham. This is where we got the sample from. It was so fitting for the song so we couldn’t part with it. 

I’ve never felt underestimated but pretty recently I showed one of my mum’s friends some songs off the EP and she asked me “how do you write like this; you haven’t been through life yet”. It made me think a lot. I feel like I’m just observant of people’s emotions and feel empathy towards a lot of situations. 

Can you explain the inspiration behind the EP and why you picked each track to feature on this debut release?

All of the songs on the EP were written over a year ago and they were songs that I felt the strongest connection to at the time. I had no clue how they were all going to work together because they are pretty different individually, but Dean said from the start that if it’s a good song, it will transcend genre.

Do you have a favourite track or one that means the most to you?

My favourite track is probably ‘Take it Off Now Boy’ at the moment. The production is very simple on this one. It is two chords the whole way through with little piano embellishments that pan from left to right, a touch of strings and then just the vocal leading the listener through the story. The song that means the most to me though is one called ‘Okay’. It’s the most personal song on the EP and is the only song I still cry to on stage.

In Hey My Friend, you can hear the emotion cutting through your voice, was that recorded purposefully? Was it difficult to include this raw sounding emotion?

‘Hey My Friend’ is an interlude just before which leads into my song ‘Okay’. When we were recording the vocals for ‘Okay’, I asked Dean and my manager Damien if I could explain to them what the song was about because it would help me to capture my emotion towards the song. It wasn’t until I went back into the room to listen back to the vocal tracks that I realised he had recorded me talking about the song. It was hard to hear myself talking because it still evokes the same emotions that I had when I first wrote it.

Everyone in my team really loved the talking track (which is now called ‘Hey My Friend’) and wanted it to be on the EP except for me. I think because it is so vulnerable, I was scared for people to hear it. However, I figured that if I let my guard down, it could help someone else with something they are going through. So, I decided to put it on the EP the day before the deadline :))

Do you think it’s true to say you have to be sad to write sad songs, or in love to write love songs? 

Not at all. I find that if I am in a good headspace, I tend to be more inspired to write. Even when you are in a good headspace, you still have some bad days and moments when you feel a bit flat but that’s a part of life. I have also never been in love romantically. However, I have a lot of love towards my family and friends so maybe I draw the emotion from that kind of love 🙂

The track ‘Okay is really touching, and the strings add real depth. Can you tell us a little bit about this track? When did you write it and what is it about?

This track was written around a year and a half ago. It’s about letting your friends know that you are there for them and being the friend who is seeing them go through such a hard time. Watching a friend struggle is really difficult especially when there is not much you can do to help except try to comfort them. I guess no one wants to see their friend hurting. 

After Dean was close to finishing the production, we were lucky to have David Kahne write string arrangements which he recorded at his studio in New York during Covid. The song was already so emotional and then when the strings were added, it pulled at the heartstrings even more.

Do you have a dream artist to collaborate with?

I would loveee to work with Rick Rubin one day, he seems like a legend

Do you have a dream venue to play?

The Royal Albert Hall!

Overall musical hopes, dreams, aspirations?

I really want to play tour all over the world and bring people I care about with me! It would be amazing to meet strangers from other places that I can connect with through music despite any language barrier.

Congratulations, again! I think this EP will be deservedly successful.

Thank you, it was lovely chatting to you!!

Press play on ‘Distant Dreams’ from Tulliah, and stay tuned for her new EP on 12th March.

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