Edward Burnett sat down to talk to English singer Tally Spear to talk all things from the creative process to Taylor Swift comparisons. A fun conversation which gives a real insight into what Tally is all about.
RNRR: Hello and welcome to Spotlight! This week I’m joined with singer and songwriter Tally Spear. Hi Tally nice to meet you! Would you mind introducing your act and musical style to those who are unfamiliar with your work?
TS: What’s up! I write genre-bending pop songs that are inspired mainly by rock and punk music!
RNRR: So how did you get into music professionally then Tally? Has it always been a dream that finally got realised? Was there a process of realising what exactly it was you wanted from your career?
TS: I grew up in a very musical and theatrical family and was always surrounded by instruments and inspiration! I’ve been writing songs since I was a kid-being a performer was definitely always been a big dream of mine.
RNRR: So who were your early music inspirations which pushed you to going pro yourself? Have they changed as you’ve got older or do you always hold the same music icons in high regard?
TS: I can’t lie about it, my early icons were without a doubt Avril Lavinge, Hilary Duff, Tay Swift, Miley Cyrus because who doesn’t want to be those women?! I still look at all these women and their careers with such admiration today. Other inspirations to me are Sheryl Crow, Blondie, Grimes…the list is a long one.
RNRR: I notice a couple of those were actresses as well as being singers. Do you feel that you can be inspired by those in different parts of the media industry like film and television stars when trying to forge a career in the music world? Does it have to be music centric or was it just as inspiring growing up as a younger girl watching these women kill it across all entertainment mediums?
TS: Definitely. I think inspiration comes from all areas and in all different forms... I feel like I’m inspired by seeing and observing other people’s talent, and talent is so diverse, it doesn’t have to just be other singers and songwriters. Artists are anyone who is doing their own thing and doing it well.
RNRR: That’s really great to hear that and what a resounding message to send to our younger readers too. So let’s bring it all the way up to the present now. You released your EP ‘Tally’ recently. On it resides ‘Already Gone’, a song that I’ve been obsessed with since it first aired. Talk me through what went into that song in particular and the EP as a whole. What was the feeling behind this and what message did you want to send out with this fabulous collection of songs?
TS: Ah thank you so much man! ‘Already Gone’ is the anti-love song of the EP. In fact, no, they’re pretty much all anti love songs. It’s about beginning a new relationship but already feeling like you’re not fully there... your mind is elsewhere. The song is almost a metaphor for never being fully present, always ‘moving on’ to the next thing. The EP really explores insecurities of never being in the moment, and admits all the thoughts I have ‘beneath the surface.’
RNRR: That’s an incredibly interesting topic to focus an EP around and the message really shines through when listening to the collection of songs as a whole which is truly a credit to you. Do you feel that you’ll always create an EP/album based around how you’re feeling at the time and let those emotions determine the theme or do you think you could distance yourself from the topics in the future? So go into the creative process with a subject in mind that doesn’t necessarily reflect your mood?
TS: I do find it more of a challenge to write songs about things I haven’t experienced myself or in moods I don’t relate to at the time but I think it’s important to try and branch out of comfort zones as a writer and always experiment with new sounds and styles. That’s what my new single ‘When Nobody’s Around’ is all about - leaving the comfort zone and seeing what happens when you do.
RNRR: So we’ve addressed your use of topics in your songs but something very unique to your act and branding is your use of colour, specifically red. Why is this particular colour the emblem of Tally Spear? What does it represent for you?
TS: I always feel differently depending on the colours I’m wearing. Red makes me feel confident and empowered... it represents passion, also anger, and also love. It’s definitely the most powerful colour on the spectrum... It intrigues me! Taylor Swift agrees.
RNRR: It’s funny how you mention Taylor Swift as not only do your initials match perfectly but your vocal styles are very similar showing you to be a real asset to the music industry. Do you find Taylor Swift to be in line with what you aspire your music to be both thematically and audibly? Or do you find such comparisons tiresome as you wish to be your own entity entirely?
TS: Taylor is a FORCE! She inspires me in countless ways, she’s just such a brilliant songwriter which is always the baseline for being a successful, legit and long lasting artist. I could go on about Taylor for days so I’ll stop there. But I can’t ever compare myself to other artists, every writer and singer is completely unique... comparisons can be sometimes damaging in this industry, although of course, artists I particular admire inspire my own development and creativity.
RNRR: Going the complete opposite way to a comparison, what’s one musical genre that you have a lot of time and respect for that others wouldn’t necessarily relate you to? Say a genre which you have never and will never perform yourself but is one that you can appreciate for what it is?
TS: Great question! Punk and metal. My older brother is a speed punk drummer and I’ve always been in awe of the talent and the energy in that genre.
RNRR: That’s a really interesting pick! You mention your brother being involved with music, is your whole family into their music more than most or is it very much a sibling connection you have for the audio arts?
TS: The audio arts [laughs], I love the technical terms. My whole family is into music. My dad works in the music biz and definitely is held accountable for my brother and I getting into it all. My ma’s an actor and a singer as well so it was a creative house for sure!
RNRR: What can I say, the music industry term is overrated! An extremely creative house. Aside from all of this singing and stardom, how does Tally Spear like to relax away from it all? What hobbies do you have and have you developed any new ones in the several lockdowns we’ve had here in the UK?
TS: Yes I have actually got a new hobby since the lockdowns.... houseplants. So predictable right? I had never been interested in plants before Covid and now I’m the proud owner of over 40… [laughs].
RNRR: Aspirations of opening a garden centre on the side while simultaneously rocking the world? Does this mean we could see a tonal shift from your iconic red to green in the future then haha?
TS: [Laughs] I do love green, so never say never.
RNRR: So what are your plans for the rest of the year? Have you got any post-lockdown gigs booked? Are you working on new music, perhaps even a full album yet?
TS: No plans for an album yet, but lots of new music getting cooked as we speak and in the release line up! I’m excited to experiment with new sounds, work in the same rooms as other humans again, and really develop my live show. My Instagram will be the first place to announce gigs so stay tooned on there!
RNRR: That’s brilliant to hear and I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone reading this that I’m very excited to hear what comes next! Well that almost wraps us up but as keen readers of Spotlight know, I can’t let you go without asking you the all important final question. You’re on a desert island for the rest of your days Tally and you can only take one album with you. What are you picking and more importantly, why?
TS: Thank you so much for such an awesome chat. I’d bring ‘Tapestry’ by Carole King! If I can have a second, I’d have ‘By The Way’ by RHCP. I used to listen to ‘By The Way’ growing up in college, and it was all I listened to for a solid year I swear! It’ll always bring back a lot of memories. Carole King’s ‘Tapestry’ aside from being some of the best songwriting ever, reminds me of the ‘Beautiful: Carole King Musical’ that my mum was in during the U.K. and Ireland tour a couple of years ago - she’s an actress, it was such an awesome show.
RNRR: Wow two very varied choices there but both great in their own way and well backed up too! Well it’s been a pleasure Tally, can’t wait to see (and hear) what you’ve got in store for us throughout the rest of the year!
If you would like to find out more about Tally or keep up to date with her latest releases, you can find the links to all her socials below via the icons: