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Interview: Talia Mar

We caught up with YouTube personality and singer Talia Mar, and she gave us a preview of her new music video

By now, we’ve heard it all – artist mismanagement, empty promises, and musicians selling out just to sell. However, in the growing digital age, artists no longer have to take the conventional route just so fans can hear their latest tracks. Enter, Talia Mar. The 19-year-old South London singer is forging her musical path on her own terms and quickly gaining a loyal fan base. From covering songs on YouTube and creating makeup tutorials to releasing her own music – Talia is no stranger to social media, the music industry, and ‘fame’ in the internet era.

What is your industry background? When/how did you get started in music?

I started songwriting when I was around 8 with just lyrics and melodies until I decided to teach myself the guitar when I was 13. Best decision I ever made! When I was 15, I engineered bands every week in a recording studio, and that’s when I got interested in the more technical side of music. Working in the studio taught me the basics of using Logic Pro, which I now use to produce my own music! I currently write, record, and produce everything on my own.

I recently watched a video of you reacting to your old YouTube cover videos. In the era of YouTube sensations turned signed artists – what did making cover videos mean to you at such a young age?

I actually started uploading covers to YouTube because of Christina Grimmie – I was obsessed with her channel and she really inspired me to put my music online. She wasn’t signed at the time – but I just loved the idea that I could upload music and anyone, anywhere, could listen to it! I think that social media in general is amazing for putting whatever you want out there! I’m super thick skinned, so any negativity really does not bother me — which makes social platforms such an appealing route for me.

What’s your view of cover videos on YouTube now? Do you think they (and/or the website) still have the same potential to catapult people from near obscurity to stardom?

I don’t think they have exactly the same effect because of the nature of how YouTube has evolved. YouTube itself is a career now – whereas it never used to be. You can still end up in the same place as people like Justin Bieber and Tori Kelly – but it’s never, realistically, going to be from obscurity anymore. Your audience will find you before the labels now! Labels want to see numbers – so if you’ve got the numbers then you’re more appealing now. I think if someone uploads to YouTube – it shouldn’t be because they want ‘fame’ – they should do it because it’s fun and then they can be grateful if anything comes out of it!

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Still from the Stolen music video. Photograph by Jordan McKellar.

Since your earlier years on YouTube, you’ve now started making your own music. What inspired your latest track, Stolen?

Being in and around the music industry from the age of 16 really showed me some insights into the nastier side of the industry. Having gone to The BRIT School, I also saw so many young people in music being taken advantage of. Like many, I initially tried to enter the industry by looking for/wanting a management company’s backing – obviously knowing that every artist has management. I, along with many other young artists, just assumed that I needed them ASAP to be successful. But I quickly formed my own opinions on how I wanted to do it and realized that every single artists’ ‘journey’ is different. Nothing can be replicated and I think that the real pitfalls come when you try to mimic something someone else has done. I’ve worked with a couple of management companies but I ended up realizing that I needed to figure out exactly what I wanted first. In the end – going completely solo was the best decision I could have made (for me).

How’s the music video for Stolen coming along? Are you producing any of it?

I actually just finished filming! I had a massive set back with the video because I got super sick and couldn’t film for weeks and weeks on end. A good friend of mine, Jordan McKellar – who I met at The BRIT School – is filming and producing the video. We had long conversations about the style and story I wanted to convey. I was really set on a few ideas, because I’m so picky, and really wanted it to match the song’s intent. It’s essentially following a girl who goes from having no voice to being completely independent and confident in herself! I’m so excited to see the finished product as Jordan is so crazy talented. He was so good with implementing my suggestions!

What’s next for you? Do you have an EP or any other release/tour plans in the near future?

I am currently writing and producing loads of music in the view of creating an EP. I don’t have a release date yet but I’m hoping to put another track out in the coming months while I set up some shows around London!

Until we get to hear Talia Mar’s EP – check out her song Stolen below!


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