All summer long this one track kept rattling around the Clash office, a recurring soundtrack to gigs, festivals, raves, and parties. With winter drawing in, it’s still here – but then, Tayla is built to last.
A piece of supreme R&B with a heavy UK slant, ‘Call Me Danger’ is about “going out, having your look on point, feeling killer sexy and having the attitude to back it up.” But when Clash gets on the phone to Tayla we uncover a quiet, patient figure, one whose confidence isn’t quite as loud as her music might suggest.
“I found out I could sing when I was my primary school – in my last year, when I was about 12,” she tells us. “I knew I wanted to show a talent, and I wanted to sing. It was a way of showing emotion.”
Studying music at school, she was always determined to take things further. Naturally inquisitive, she was drawn towards music, and found herself engulfed by song. “It happened when I was at school,” she says. “I was reading poetry, and I enjoyed putting words together. I always loved song lyrics – I used to learn them off by heart. I was fascinated by the structure, as well.”
Working with some big name producers, Tayla has been able to meet them on her terms, outlining her vision from the start. “I’m inspired by other people’s ideas and how they work. I can get inspired when I’m writing on my own, but I love working with other people.”
Names trickle throughout our conversation, signs of her musical upbringing, her influences and inspirations: Biggie Smalls, Aaliyah, TLC… artists who changed her life, and helped her realise who she is. “I think confidence is something that progresses over the years. It’s just about being really confident in who you are, having control over the things you love. And just being really comfortable with it.”
Brought up in the Midlands, she’s determined not to allow her identity to be swamped by a music industry so fixated by the cultural flashpoints of London, New York, and Los Angeles. “I’m proud of who I am and where I’m from. The fact that I’m not from London isn’t a barrier. Some artists are from London, but I’m from Birmingham and I can still do what I want to do, musically.”
Still in her teens yet already focussed on completing her debut album, Tayla is testament to the transformative impact music can have. “I think music, to me, is just another world. Somewhere where I can escape, and forget about all the bad things. And then just create new memories. It empowers me, as well – it makes me feel invincible.”
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