Born and raised in West London, UK R&B artist Tayah is focussed on making music that tells her story, her way. Having performed at venues such as The Southbank, Lovebox Festival, and Notting Hill Carnival, as well as gaining airplay on UK radio, she has garnered plaudits among audiences and peers for her unique style, experimentation with sound and lyrical storytelling.
Her new single, Hotel Suite 31 is the first taken from upcoming EP, Still Wonders (released on April 28). The UK artist explains how the song sees her turning her pain into a positive and how her new EP focuses on the art of being still.
What musical influences from your upbringing have shaped you to become the artist you are today?
I was surrounded by music in my household growing up. There was always a radio on – all my school friends used to point that out – 24/7 – it didn't matter what time it was or if anybody was in the house, it was always on.
I was surrounded by people who loved music and we listened to genres ranging from ‘70s and ‘80s, soul, jungle, garage, old school hip hop, R&B, jazz, neo soul...there's a plethora of genres that have been with me since I was very young. It was just always part of me – I have nostalgic memories about music.
Did you ever consider an alternative career before you started to create music?
I had different things I wanted to do. I wanted to be a fashion designer. I wanted to work on a cruise. I'm actually scared of boats now so that's definitely off the table [laughs].
In terms of songwriters, who do you admire?
I've always had my favourites. Raphael Saadiq from Tony! Toni! Toné! Lucy Pearl – very old school! – Missy Elliott, Amy Winehouse for her storytelling and the connection I feel when I hear her vocals, and Mary J. Blige for the same sort of feeling.
There's so many artists that I could pick out for different reasons that have influenced me and connected with me. I was an English student and I really loved writing stories and poems, so songwriting to me just came very naturally.
I'm a big lover of songwriting and storytelling, and I appreciate any artists that can do that.