The boldest personalities exert the biggest impact. A clever west Londoner whose passions run the gamut from classic literature to nineties flicks, Hope Tala immediately asserts herself as a bold presence.
Twisting up turn-of-the-century R&B with Bossa Nova bliss, the UK singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist daydreams about girls who aren’t afraid of fistfights, tackles heartache without fear, and muses over the kind of love reserved for the big screen in her music. After posting up 20 million-plus streams independently and garnering acclaim from Rolling Stone, Complex, Vogue UK, and Vice UK, she answers an important question with action on her 2020 EP, Girl Eats Sun.
“Why have a life if you’re not going to do something crazy and make a difference in the world?” she ponders. “In the past two years, I’ve discovered music is the most impactful way for me to do that.”
Music has surrounded Hope for as long as she can remember. Every Saturday growing up she attended music school, learning the clarinet and performing in orchestras and wind bands. Fostering a creative streak in their kids, her parents emphasized extracurricular activities and spun full records on holiday car trips. The car soundtrack included everything from Hope’s favorite album of all time Brandy’s Full Moon to Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi, Foo Fighters’ Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, and a bevy of Now That’s What I Call Music compilations. As part of an audio class, she learned Logic. At 14-years-old, she taught herself guitar.
Upon gaining proficiency with recording, she uploaded “Peace Freestyle” to Soundcloud in 2016. Following a post by Instagram creative platform Art Hoe Collective, Illegal Civilization founder Mikey Alfred discovered the track and spun it on Pharrell’s Apple Music Beats 1 radio show. This recognition made Hope realize she “could pursue music as more than just a hobby.” While attending the University of Bristol and achieving a First Class Degree in English literature, she unveiled the Starry Ache EP in 2018 working with producer Jamal Hadaway. A year later, she re-teamed up with Hadaway for the Sensitive Soul EP. “Jealous,” “Anywhere,” and “D.T.M.” each gained traction on DSPs as “Lovestained” eclipsed 7.3 million Spotify streams. Rolling Stone placed the latter at #8 on its “50 Best Songs of 2019.” Everything paved the way for Girl Eats Sun. This time around, she switched up the process. Rather than write prior to her recording sessions, she wrote on the spot in the studio, emanating a new energy.
“I’d never worked like that before,” she elaborates. “This time around, I showed up at the studio and wrote. It made a difference with the lyrics. Now, it’s fearless. I’m more confident with my voice. I’m really experimenting.”
This experimentation empowers Girl Eats Sun. Cinematic strings stir throughout “All My Girls Like To Fight,” echoing the bombast of “an action movie soundtrack.” Piano careens across “Crazy” before guitar takes hold and she unabashedly embraces her “R&B sensibility.” “I was thinking of nineties romance movies like Clueless and Ten Things I Hate About You,” she recalls. “It’s a teenage love song.” Meanwhile, the phrase Girl Eats Sun speaks to a crucial life decision. “When I finished my degree, I was supposed to be going to Cambridge to pursue a master’s degree,” she says. “Last minute, I decided against it. I had an opportunity to do music full-time. If you’re eating the sun, you can take the heat. Everyone had better watch out for you, because you’re ready to really achieve something. The title represents going for it.” In the end, Hope goes for it with everything she does and leaves a lasting imprint. “I just want people to make my songs their own,” she leaves off. “If you connect with it in any way, that’s cool with me. I always felt destined to make music. It’s my duty to see this through.”