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  • Writer's pictureShenead Poroosotum

Behind the Mask: With Creative Artist TaliaBle

“I just do art; I love the whole umbrella of creativity and I think it’s just a muscle we need to exercise, ” TaliaBle says.

Photography: Lauren Andrews

Interview conducted by: Shenead Poroosotum

The creative is adorned in a multi-pocketed utility vest and cargo trousers. She fiddles with her white knitted balaclava that only shows her mouth, eyes and a neat, brown afro that sits, spouting out at the top. ‘TALIABLE’ is sprawled across the forehead alongside flowers and buttons sewn down the temples and cheeks.

She sits in a cosy studio space - cosy in a sense that it’s slightly cramped - with a clementine-orange backdrop draped behind her. There’s a large window on the right side letting natural light stream in and overseeing the Overground trains passing through Haggerston station. As TaliaBle sat comfortably in her wide chair, she went on to talk about why she’s decided to pursue music in the first place.

With her debut album on the horizon, TaliaBle has released a handful of singles and collaborated with like-minded musicians who are also on the rise such as Osquello, an R&B and blues musician for their track ‘Glory Daze’ and BEBELUNA, an alternative and underground rap artist and their collaborative track ‘Reclaim’ that focused on systematic racism. It wasn’t always, however, in TaliaBle’s interest to try and make music; as a creative individual, she gets herself involved in visuals, photography, videography, styling, costume making and collage. She says: “I see music as an extension of everything that I do anyway and its nothing different, now it’s been labelled a thing so I’m just like okay, there is a different world to music than there is to the world I’m used to. “I’m just giving it a go and it’s going quite well.”

She praises herself with a hint of contemplation. As someone who enjoys delving into all aspects of the creative world, she’s been hit with a case of imposter syndrome. Who really is TaliaBle? Well, it depends on the day, where she is and what she’s doing, but she still tries to incorporate many different elements that she practices within her musical content. “People are starting to see me as a musician and I’m not a musician,” she says. “When I do music, my mind isn’t in making tunes, I’m building a story and when I even write, it’s very visual. I think in terms of more like it’s a campaign, that’s where I’m at.” This could be pointed towards her ‘Muzzled Butterfly’ track which came alongside CGI-styled visuals and a dystopian and experimental rap style that combines elements of her creativity such as her own style choices, the use of CGI and edited visuals that she did herself and an underlying message about police brutality. ‘Muzzled Butterfly’ also came at the same time as a release of T-Shirts in collaboration with Keep Hush, a creative network for dance music lovers that stream underground dance music around the globe as well as run pop-up workshops and special projects for creatives within the industry. Unveiled at the same time as the Black Lives Matter protests, there was a social media blackout. “It was great for the moment but at the time I was like, the thing that keeps me going is making art,” she says. “The thing I’m meant to do, the thing that holds message is art. Like Picasso’s art - it was a form of protest. I wanted to make that art to uplift but also just spread that message.”

TaliaBle shows how passionate she is about the project as a whole as she herself is a black individual. As she weaves ideas of racism, community and love within her music; citing the late bell hooks, she also takes inspiration from hard-hitting rappers such as Rico Nasty but also the lyricism and childlike rhymes and visuals from Dr. Zeuss books. Inspired by musicals but also have grown up listening to alternative and storyteller-type rappers such as Chance the Rapper and Joey Bada$$, TaliaBle falls somewhere in-between. TaliaBle, however does prove that she chooses to explore all corners of what music is available as herself and her producer Karl Binaj have also been in Nina Simone and Dean Blunt. She says: “There’s definitely a spectrum in what we’re creating at the moment and we’re trying to literally just show the variety of sound super hard. Like we’ve gone all the way to like scream rap, we’ve gone to hip-hop, and now we’re going into like, as I said earlier, Nina Simone.”

With plans to eventually explore singing too, it’s a possibility that might or might not make it onto the final project, but there’s always room for it somewhere down the line. TaliaBle chats with me openly and comfortably which makes me wonder why she decides to cover her face with a balaclava and that’s actually still a thing she’s figuring out herself. As an avid designer and accessory maker, she likes the idea that people wonder about it since she never really addresses why she wears it. After hearing how she enjoys being extremely visual, it’s not that unusual that she would go the extra mile to decorate herself as well as she does her sets before performing and has full control of her music video visuals. “I love statements and when I was working at Keep Hush, I saw a lot of people perform and then I saw things I wanted to change,” she says. “I saw a gap almost in performance and it was that visual aspect and if I’m going to go on stage, I’m going to bring the visual side of things.” TaliaBle’s extensive passion for creating is something that she was literally born to do, to the point that it’s cliché to say it; and she’s lucky to have found her medium. With her artistic work and projects gaining momentum over the last couple of years up until now, she views creativity as something we’re born with. She says: “It’s like exercise and I don’t know if I said it already, but creativity is a muscle, and you just have to work it. Everyone has creativity. When we were children we played with toys, everybody did. And then some adults go into 9-to-5’s and you lose that but if you want to be an artist or creative, it’s always there, you just have to tap into it.”


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