“Heart, Body, & Soul”: Brooklyn’s TALIA Dives into Her Intimate & Visceral Debut EP ‘headrush’

Talia © Josefine Cardoni
Talia © Josefine Cardoni
Cool waves of ethereal sound wash over the ears as TALIA’s debut EP ‘headrush’ gets underway, pulling us into a riptide of electrifying RnB-laced vulnerability.
Stream: “hyde park” – TALIA




Cool waves of ethereal sound wash over the ears as TALIA’s debut EP gets underway, pulling us into a riptide of electrifying pop. As vulnerable as it is finessed, the multi-textured headrush EP captures the imagination as one of Brooklyn’s freshest voices formally introduces herself for the very first time.

headrush - TALIA
headrush – TALIA
Haven’t seen you in a year now
Life just slips my mind so easily
And a house is not a home
And I am not alone
But I get lonely
You broke my heart, it hurt so badly
Ask me how I am, I can’t speak
I know I am hard to break
I get stronger every day
But I’m still hurting
And I am tired of fighting
– “Colder,” TALIA

Intimate, honest, and utterly immersive, headrush is 100% true to its name.

Out April 2, 2021 via Quadio Records, TALIA’s debut EP is a compelling mixture of groovy and visceral release. The Brooklyn-based Caribbean American, whose debut single “hyde park” premiered on Atwood Magazine last November, delivers an intoxicating seven-track indulgence that incorporates R&B, pop, electronic, folk, shoegaze, and rock influences into a twenty-two minute outpouring of self-expression.

Talia © Josefine Cardoni
Talia © Josefine Cardoni

In our “hyde park” premiere, Atwood Magazine‘s Dahlia Alrayes praised TALIA for building worlds “with effortless otherworldly luminescence, thoughtfulness, and authenticity, like a breath of fresh air.” Her EP takes that description to the next level, showcasing moments of intimacy and reflection against wondrous soundscapes full of colorful sound, and equally palpable, exposed moments with just voice and an acoustic guitar.

the sun came out in london town
when you walked by queensgate & hyde
and i know you caught me staring at your smile
and i could kiss you a thousand times
and talk for hours on long train rides
and you hold all of the world in your eyes

“Every song on this project investigates a different version of my relationship to both love and pain,” TALIA tells Atwood Magazine. “There’s a sense of longing to figure out who I am and what these life experiences mean, but it never quite resolves. I’m constantly learning and relearning this…there is never one clear resolution, but all the love and pain I’ve been dealt has made me who I am today. The EP process loosely started around April when the pandemic hit. In quarantine, I had a crazy amount of time and space to experiment with music. Before this last year, I don’t think I ever allowed myself the time to dive into my songwriting process as much as I got to with ‘headrush’.”

“I started writing whatever flowed to me in the moment, but the idea for an EP didn’t come up until  after I had written ‘colder’ and ‘better for u’. It was extremely freeing and liberating to build this project throughout quarantine because there were no expectations. I just wanted to allow myself the space to be honest. I sort of built the world of the songs before envisioning the record and piecing it together. I looked at it as a puzzle and it was fun to put it all together once I already had the pieces to work from.”

Talia © Josefine Cardoni
Talia © Josefine Cardoni

For TALIA, the title headrush is quite intentional – a nod to the layers of feeling embedded in her songs.

“I don’t keep a diary or journal,” she explains. “I just write songs. headrush is a culmination of my inner thoughts. These songs come from some of my most intimate thoughts that live in my head. As a kid I always felt an overwhelming sense of connection to my emotions. The only thing that could calm my mind were words. I spent a lot of time reading and listening to music that I could relate to. I also spent my time imagining and creating different worlds in my head. I found clarity through writing. Every song on headrush comes from my flesh, from my head to paper. These songs are all a part of me. I built the soundscape and worlds to the feeling that each song carries.”

“It definitely introduces me and my artistry, but there are a lot more layers of my sound that I’m excited to explore. I think my music will always be lyrically driven, but I’m ready to experiment with blurring more genres. The art I create is inherently tied to my identity and there are endless layers that I am always discovering and rediscovering. I want my music to feel as fluid as my identity. I’m also looking forward to working on some film and visual-heavy work in the near future.”

From the intense electronic sounds coursing through opener “colder” and its light, jazzy acoustic counterpart “refresh,” to the raw unveiling of “fckin amazing” and poignant EP closer “getoutofmyhead,” headrush invites listeners to bask in pools of thrilling emotion. “I love the lyric, “Now that you’re gone my mind wanders often / And I don’t know where it’s been / Maybe I’m just a bit sick in the head / But then again who isn’t” from the track ‘fckin amazing’,” TALIA notes. “My brother, Kai Blu, who I collaborated with on the whole project, co-wrote ‘getoutoutofmyhead’ with me and it’s really special because I sing about our bond as siblings. One of my favorite lyrics on that song is, ‘I threw on my cape cause I wanted to rescue you / But all the bad thoughts came back to my head / get out of my head.’” For TALIA, personal highlights off the EP include “getoutofmyhead” and the driving, guitar-drenched “better for u” – a song that rises and falls with beautiful, intimate passion.

There is an expectation for Black culture to carry society forward with little regard to the silencing we face. My music is a place where I can feel those emotions because I had to fight for the space to have them in the first place.

For TALIA, headrush is just the start – one she hopes connects with an audience who needs it, and one that certainly helped her connect with herself.

“The words are all personal, but I think everyone has intimate and intrusive thoughts,” TALIA says. “I’m always wondering, why did this relationship go this way or what if this happened differently? I’m really just asking a lot of questions about myself with this project. I’m in my early 20s and still figuring out who I am. I just want to create and tell stories that move people. I hope that anyone who listens to my music feels connected and heard in some way.

She adds, “My biggest takeaway has been to just trust myself and my words. If i’m writing from a place of honesty then I can never go wrong. Before this record, I hadn’t spent more than a few days working on one of my songs, so I’ve learned a lot about persistence and delayed gratification throughout the process.”

headrush is the visceral sonic immersion we didn’t know we needed. Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside TALIA’s headrush EP with Atwood Magazine as the artist goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their debut!

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:: stream/purchase headrush here ::
Stream: ‘headrush’ – TALIA



:: Inside headrush ::

headrush - TALIA

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on the EP

Growing up, I had a very strong and active imagination. I’m such a pisces and really live in my head, my mind is always rushing with thoughts even if I’m seemingly relaxed on the outside. I’ve learned to embrace that inner life by channeling it into my artist self. I listened to alot of film scores growing up and practiced playing them on piano. My love for cinema and filmmaking definitely bleeds through in my songwriting process. It’s like building a cinematic world around my character and the words. I wrote all of these songs either in my bedroom or my makeshift home studio. I spent most of quarantine in Arizona where I started writing these songs and before I knew this was even an EP. I was writing a ton because I had an influx of feelings and a burst of inspiration. I didn’t start this project with the intention of building a body of work so that’s very special to me. If i’m not inspired, I’ll just stop playing music entirely for weeks or months if I need to. But when I have an idea it’s such a rush, I’ll stay up all night writing and recording. I’m a very in the moment person, so I’ll finish the base of the song right then and there. I wrote ‘colder’, ‘better for u’, ‘fckin amazing, ‘HML’, and ‘hyde park’ in Arizona then recorded most of the final vocals in my childhood home in Georgia. I wrote these songs with my younger brother, Kai Blu. He’s a phenomenal artist and one of my biggest inspirations. We share a lot of the same music influences but our sounds are so different that he really adds a unique perspective to each song. He has a magic touch. He’s the first person I send any shitty voice memo or rough recording to. The songs on headrush are all a part of me. I built the soundscape and worlds to the feeling that each song carries. Solange, Frank Ocean, Bon iver, Nick Hakim, and Phoebe Bridges are just a few I look to and admire for their fearless ability to cultivate a bold sound for themselves. These artists are unafraid of experimentation and definitely inspired me to do the same with this EP.
A little less than a year ago, I started writing music more from a place of introspection and reflection. Before the pandemic hit, I found that I was going at such a fast pace and getting ahead of myself, not really listening to myself. I was getting very distracted by the outside world and then also felt the pressure of finding success right out of school. When everything slowed and we were collectively dealing with this scary moment, I had a minute to sit down and rediscover my appreciation for all the experiences that have brought me to become the person I am today. With these words, I hope I can create space for people who feel their voices have been minimized or silenced. Whenever I’ve felt loneliness or sadness, I found a deep-rooted connection and sense of belonging by listening to music, watching films, reading and relating to other stories that made me feel less alone. I hope that my music can do that for the people. I know what it feels like to be silenced as a Black woman. Black women are not allowed the space to be vulnerable. We’re not valued as full human beings, yet we are the backbone of society. We are constantly looked at to take care of and protect our societies that don’t protect us. There is an expectation for Black culture to carry society forward with little regard to the silencing we face. My music is a place where I can feel those emotions because I had to fight for the space to have them in the first place. I hope that people see a piece of themselves in these songs or even just vibe to the sound, regardless of where you come from. However people choose to experience my music, it’s very personal to me and I’m so grateful that I can share it with the people.
I’m like a sponge, I listen to all kinds of music. I watch different types of films and read about different things. I’m dipping my toes into different sounds and blurring those genres. I have no idea what to call my music but somewhere between Alternative, indie, and R&B. It’s very cinematic. I never want to put myself in a box and have every intention of exploring new genres and sounds as I continue to learn new things about myself. I’m just a vessel for these words and these songs. They speak through me.
My friend recently said something that really stuck with me, she said “you can only love as deeply as you’ve been in pain”. Her words have resonated with me deeply especially as I started finishing up headrush. With this project there are moments of deep emotion but also playfulness and like all that comes with life and what is life without the pain too? Unfortunately, it sucks and it hurts but we have to experience that to grow into the people that we want to be. The words are all personal yes and it’s all very specific but I think everyone has intimate and intrusive thoughts. I’m always wondering why did this relationship go this way or what if this happened differently? I’m really just asking a lot of questions with this project about myself and I’m still discovering myself. I’m in my early 20s and still figuring out who I am and how to pursue all of my dreams. At the heart of it all, I just want to create and tell stories that move people. I want to connect with people through these words and experiences.
As a kid I always felt an overwhelming sense of connection to my emotions. The only thing that could calm my mind were words. I spent so much time reading and listening to music that I could relate to. i spent so much time imagining, playing with, and creating my own worlds in my head. I found clarity and an escape through writing. every song on headrush comes from my flesh. from my head to paper.
Talia © Josefine Cardoni
Talia © Josefine Cardoni

colder

I remember the night I wrote ‘colder;’ I was reflecting a lot on a complicated relationship I had a while ago. Coming out of a relationship with a lot of confusion and miscommunication hurts because I felt like it could have been saved ‘if only’ I or the other person had fought harder for it. Regret is always annoying because it just creeps back in. I usually write songs to help me understand or process my emotions. It’s definitely jarring to feel like the person I gave so much love and warmth to could suddenly be so cold.
“Life just slips my mind so easily / And a house is not a home / And I am not alone / But I get lonely”

refresh

I hate arguments and feeling distant with a loved one. Whenever it happens, it’s usually because of miscommunication or misunderstanding which I feel can be avoided if we just talked. ‘refresh’ is me asking that question…why can’t we just talk? 
“I just wanna talk” / “I miss hearing your laugh with my morning coffee / Now your distant and not talking baby / Silence for hours turns to cowardly waiting / Instigating / Contemplating / Never talking, ooh I fucking hate it” 

better for u

I’m talking to myself in this song. Asking myself if i’ve learned from past mistakes. Will I break generational cycles and give myself the love and healing I deserve.
“Mom and dad are fighting again / Oh I swear, I don’t wanna end up like them (let’s work it out) / Let me inside, let me inside of your head / Tell me what’s going on / I wish I knew” 

hyde park

I studied abroad in London and lived a few blocks away from hyde park. Being in love feels like flowers blooming in the Spring. It’s a garden full of emotions and it’s exciting. Falling in love in a new place was a beautifully vibrant and colorful experience. I will always cherish those memories. 

HML

I remember writing the track for HML at midnight in my living room. Everyone was sleeping so I was whispering lyrics into my mic and dancing to the track. More than anything, I hope people listen to it and feel it deeply. It is about the intense feelings and desires you have for someone. I wrote it to a crush as a flirtatious dare to hit my line and let me know if they feel the same way. My brother, Kai Blu, encouraged me to experiment with this track sonically. Once I had the lyrics done, we played around with different ideas for the bridge and outro. We grew up playing rock band and listening to a lot of rock so I was excited to let the bridge have an angsty guitar solo to build that tension of desire.

fckin amazing

‘fckin amazing’ is about reminiscing on a love that feels like an enigma. A moment in time that you’ll always reflect back on. It’s nostalgic butterflies, but knowing the timing was never right for you. I played the chords and recorded the lyrics as I was writing them. The recording feels raw and unfinished like the relationship. It’s an odd feeling to spend every moment with someone and then suddenly part ways. It almost left me questioning if it ever happened. Were those feelings real? And you know it did, but the mind plays tricks on you.
“Now that you’re gone my mind wanders often / And I don’t know where it’s been / Maybe I’m just a bit sick in the head / But then again who isn’t”

getoutofmyhead

I wrote this song about my brothers and the strong support system we have for each other as siblings. My brothers are the two people that know me better than anyone else. They’ve always looked out for me and protected me. They’ve seen me at my lowest of lows and highest of highs. We share the same life experiences and upbringing. I was crying as I wrote it because I just have such a massive amount of love for them inside of me. My younger brother, Kai Blu, helped me write the lyrics over facetime. He is one of the best lyricists I know and he always pushes me to find a special sort of specificity in my songwriting. He also added some background vocals on the track. My friend SIAH produced the song around the guitar progression we recorded the lyrics to.  I know how it feels to want to take care of the people you love the most. The need to take care of my brothers has taught me to take better care of myself and mental health. We can’t love on everyone else and not return ourselves that same love. To me, the chorus “get out of my head” is an anthem to call off the bad and destructive thoughts that sometimes try to invade our minds. An anthem to protect my own mind and my brothers from those negative thoughts. I love them to death and would do anything for them.
 “I threw on my cape cause I wanted to rescue you / But all the bad thoughts came back to my head / get out of my head”

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:: stream/purchase headrush here ::

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headrush - TALIA

Connect to TALIA on
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Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
📸 © Josefine Cardoni

:: Stream TALIA ::



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