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by Sabrina Fearon-Melville

We caught up with the 21-year-old West Londoner on the back of her new release ‘Mad’ and in anticipation for her next project.

With stunning vocals and even better visuals, Hope Tala is the genre-blending star whose latest single doubles down on the reason why we placed her on our 2021 ONES TO WATCH list. Through her impactful lyricism which tells a story, Hope is taking her fans on a journey with ‘Mad’ and her soon to be released new project.

Drawing inspiration from the artists she grew up on, Hope’s Bossa Nova sound follows her into this latest single. We asked her about how her signature sound came to be, “I think Bossa Nova and Latin music in a more general sense have had a massive influence on contemporary R&B and soul music -genres that I grew up on – so I had those influences drip fed to me through songs like ‘1 Thing’ by Amerie, ‘Beautiful’ by Snoop Dogg ft. Pharrell and Charlie Wilson and ‘Senorita’ by Justin Timberlake, and those influences always came very instinctually and subconsciously when I was making my own music.

Set for global stardom, Hope Tala is making waves with her innovative and authentic work, and people are noticing – in fact tmrw fave track ‘All My Girls Like to Fight’ was picked as the opening song to the hotly anticipated rebooted Gossip Girl pilot. We caught up with the rising star about everything from her last listen on Spotify, dream collaborations and getting advice from Aminé…

So, this new single ‘Mad’, you’re giving us visuals and amazing sound as per usual, but how did you go about creating such a trippy video?

I worked with Millicent Hailes – who directed the ‘All My Girls Like To Fight’ video – on ‘Mad’ as well, but it was extra great because Millicent got to be there in person – for AMGLTF she joined us on Zoom because we were on different continents at the time. We shot ‘Mad’ on a ranch in LA, and I think our main aim with it was to create something a bit strange and creepy but also with an element of fun. Millicent is such an amazing director, and she really understands me and my vision, so it’s always a pleasure to work with her.

What message are you trying to share with people with a song like ‘Mad’?

It depends on each individual song, but I tend to think of songwriting more as telling a story than sharing a message. The story I’m trying to tell with ‘Mad’ is one about frustration and anger in a long-distance relationship, where those feelings are the fault of the distance not the other person, but you end up blaming each other.

Who are your musical inspirations and your visual inspirations – your visuals are always so perfectly curated to your production and lyricism.

Thank you! My musical inspirations are endless, but a few big ones are Lauryn Hill, Ariana Grande and Amerie. Visually, I’m mostly inspired by 90s teen romcoms and just things that I see and like on Pinterest and Instagram.

Who was the last artist you listened to on Spotify/Apple Music/Soundcloud?

Clairo. She’s one of my favourite artists, and I loved her first album Immunity so much, but her new song ‘Blouse’ is her best yet and makes me cry big time. It’s my favourite song of the year so far, no question.

You play a number of instruments, but what has been your favourite? Have you learnt any new instruments during lockdown?

The guitar is my favourite instrument. I primarily play and write on nylon, but I love acoustic and electric as well. I’ve spent a lot of time improving my guitar playing over the past year and a half, and it has been time very well spent.
Dang, now you mention it, I should’ve learned a new instrument in lockdown!

‘Girl Eats Sun’ is such a phenomenal EP obviously, including a collaboration with Aminé. How did that come about and who would you love to collab with next?

I’ve been a fan of his since his first single came out, and I admire him a lot. He gave me some pieces of advice about the industry before I started releasing music properly that I took very seriously and will always be grateful for. As soon as I wrote ‘Cherries’ I knew he was perfect for it, and I think his contribution to the song is honestly so well considered and wonderful. In terms of future collaborations, there are a few I’d love to do but I’ve been manifesting a Justin Bieber collab since I was about 12 years old.

“I’m trying to make sure that the stories I tell are well told and honest."

Obviously, since your early projects your methods of making music have changed – going from writing pre-studio to in-studio. Has the pandemic meant that you’ve reverted to pre-studio?

There’s still nothing like writing something on the spot in the studio and being able to flesh out the production there and then – I think that will always be my favourite way to make music, and I’ve had some magical experiences of writing that way this year. But the pandemic has forced me to be comfortable with writing pre-studio again as well, so I have a pretty healthy balance of both at the moment. Being able to be back in the studio since the end of last year has made me feel even more grateful for it, and to be doing what I’m doing.

If you could open for anyone on tour (I mean you’re 100% main act material, but even main acts have their dream tour partner), who would you pick?

Oh my god. Ariana Grande, absolutely no question. She might be my favourite artist in the entire world. I would cry and probably faint every single night.

What are your hopes for your next project?

My main priority with my next project has been creating something that has a lot of heart to it. I’m trying to make sure that the stories I tell are well told and honest. I just hope that ultimately it’s something I love and that I can live with forever.

Press play on Hope Tala’s ‘Mad’ below now…

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