Selected by: James Keith

Name: Taliwhoah

Where She’s From: London (via LA)

When She Started: 2009

Genre: “Caribbean-flavoured R&B”

File Next To: SZA, Ray BLK, NULA

Sounds like: “I would say my sound is a lo-fi fusion of many sounds. I don’t draw inspiration from just one genre! I could see myself getting on anything as long as I feel it.”

First Music That Inspired Her: “I would have to say Tevin Campbell’s ‘Can We Talk’. It’s the first song I vividly remember knowing all the words too.”

Earlier this year, Taliwhoah dropped her stunning SOLAR EP, a richly-woven collection that sat perfectly well as its own project, but it soon became clear that this was just a primer for a much longer endeavour, her monumental debut album Another Dimension. Although the overarching sound of Taliwhoah is R&B, her album spans far more sounds and styles, taking in jazz, reggae, soul, reggaeton, hip-hop and more, either through her own vocals or the seamless fusion of live instrumentation and club electronics behind them.

The singer-songwriter was born into a big family, helmed by her Jamaican father and Nigerian-Lebanese mother, and her musical heritage runs deep: Taliwhoah’s mum, Toyin Adekale, and aunt, Maizie Williams, both performed with the legendary Boney M during her childhood. “When I was a kid, I learned so much from those videos,” she says. “I got to see my mum and my aunt play to huge crowds in Russia and all over the place.” She describes Sundays in her house growing up as “lit up”, adding that “there was lots of reggae, African, pop, R&B and gospel music being played. Cleaning up the house, we got to run down a few good albums across a variation of genres.”

In her early teens, Taliwhoah moved with her mother and stepfather from London to Seattle, WA, and much of high school was devoted to studying music and dance, graduating early so she could attend FIDM in Los Angeles. By 2011, however, she knew she had to pursue music and would settle for nothing less. After building up a reputation as a hit-making songwriter, things really started to take off in 2017 when Taliwhoah made a stunning appearance on L-Vis 1990s’ grimey R&B cut “Flexin”, a standout on his hit-filled 12 Thousand Nights mixtape that would later be given a garage remix. To stand tall on a project that also featured GAIKA, Flohio, Mista Silva, Jimmy Edgar and Sinjin Hawke was an early signifier of what Tali had in store for us.

Like a lot of great artists, Taliwhoah’s music is best experienced live. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, especially after the fluttering guitar licks of Another Dimension opener “The One You Need” or the full-bodied bass of “Soul Food”, but it’s still worth repeating. Often backed by a live band rather than the usual DJ, Taliwhoah’s live performances fill the stage before she sings a single note. Once it kicks off though, the results are truly mesmerising.

It’s only been a week since Another Dimension and it’s still got plenty of fruits to bear. Last year’s “Soul Food” and “Run Along” started her down the road to release day, followed by the sultry, futuristic visuals for “Juice” this year and now she’s released the video for “Sweet Sweet” with Sak Pase and M.I. Abaga. Filmed out in Toronto, the “Sweet Sweet” video celebrates the various African and Caribbean communities in the city, capturing them on Super 8 under the blazing summer sun. It surely won’t be the last single to drop from the album and with any luck, you’ll get the chance to catch her live sooner rather than later.

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on November 28, 2019