On The Rise: Tayá, Tayla And Mahalia

By September 6, 2017PAUSE Features

Three Girls: #OnTheRise

Photography: Serge Malange // @Sergemalange
Stylist: Tiwa Jenyo // @tiwajenyo
Fashion Assistant: Danny Walker + Suril // @uncommondanny & @Suril__
Interviewer: Olivia Dytor // @viatiadytor

We caught up with Tayá, R&B singer/songwriter who loves OFF-WHITE, streetwear loving Tayla and singer Mahalia.


Top – Neige, Dress – Missguided, Jacket – Uttercouture

How long have you been making music for?

For a while, since I was about 10. I think everyone always sings, to the radio, in the shower or whatever but… I started going to this choir in Liverpool when I was about 11 and the woman who run it took a liking to my voice and starting getting me gigs around Liverpool. When I was 12 or 13 management came down to the choir and listened to me sing and I’ve been working with them since then.

Who are your musical inspirations?

Oh, I’ve got so many! I grew up listening to Motown so I love Diana Ross, The Supremes and people like that. As I got a bit older I came into my own musical tastes. When I was younger I used to listen to, I still listen to them they’re my favourites like Ciara, Jodie Joe, Ashanti so I’d say them and obviously people like Beyoncé, I think everyone’s inspiration is Beyoncé. Listening to them, I love that music and it’s some of my favourite music now.

Top and bottoms – Yosqi

And you’re only 19?


You’re already signed to Atlantic Records, how does it feel, you must be excited?

Yeah, of course! I talk about how long I’ve been doing it for and how much I’ve worked but at the end of the day I’m still only a baby. The week I left school I was signed to Atlantic, so I went from full-time school to full-time music straight away! Being signed is so good, it’s so good having an amazing label behind you but people think when you’re signed “oh I’ve made it” but when you sign, that’s when the hard work starts because staying signed, that’s the hard thing and actually making something for yourself with longevity rather than just like, releasing songs for the sake of it. It’s obviously amazing and so worth it.

You recently posted a picture on your Instagram modelling for PUMA and JD Women, can you tell us anything about that?

Yeah, it was so fun! I did a PUMA campaign with two girls Sinead [Harnett] another singer and Emerald Rose who’s a radio presenter on RINSE FM. We’re brand ambassadors for the face of the next campaign. It actually came out yesterday I think, it’s in like a few hundred stores over England and Europe; we’re the face of it, it’s crazy. I love doing shoots, I do shoots all the time for magazines and stuff but to do something that big that’s gonna be everywhere, that’s exciting.

How would you describe your dress sense?

I have the weirdest mixed sense of style. I can be really prim and proper and frilly and girly one day and then just have like boy jeans and trainers on the next. I’m really really experimental, I’ll try anything on. I don’t like doing the same thing as everyone else, I don’t wanna be the same.

What brands would we find in your wardrobe?

I love so many brands. I love high street, I love Zara they’re the best. I love OFF-WHITE, that’s my favourite. This is how weird I am, my two favourite brands, OFF-WHITE which is all weird, boyish, edgy stuff and then there’s a brand called Zimmerman (check) which is like the girliest, floral, ruffles…

So you like to mix.

Yeah, I like to mix and match so I’ll wear like a girly dress with boots or trainers or something, a bit of both.

What would make you look twice in terms of a guys style?

I dress so wacky I’d like a boy to dress like not plain but block colours and a lot of black.

What male celebrities dress sense do you like?

I love Scott Disick with his shirts and trainers, he’s always really casual.

Top: Boy London, Bottoms: Uttercouture, Trainers: Alexander McQueen

What have you got in store for the first of the year?

For the last 2 and a half years I’ve been getting my songs together and my sound and working my way up. The 18th of this month I’ve got my next single coming out ‘When You’re Sober’ with the video too. I’m so excited for that! Then after that in September my EP will be out, it’s been 2 and half years in the making but I’m happy I waited this long.

So you’ve been working on it since you were 17?

16/17 yeah and this is my first EP. I’m happy I waited because I’m so proud of every song, even if people don’t like it I know it’s the best I could have done, I put everything into it and I love it. It’s out on September 1st.


Jacket – Adidas, Bottoms – Adidas

Who’re your musical inspirations?

Ah man, I really like P!NK, Eminem, Missy Elliot. I’m really into Coely as well, I know she’s a new artist but her lyrics just remind her of mine, they’re really deep.

How has Birmingham influenced you and your music?

I don’t think Birmingham itself has but I just think my upbringing was like really dark, I was around the Ghetto being around my brothers and sisters and mum and dad. It was just, I don’t think it was Birmingham itself, I think it was the upbringing.

Tell us about how you got into music.

I always wanted to express myself and I’m not a talker really unless I’m really comfortable with people. I think it kind of just came from listening to my mum’s playlists and my dads and the clash of it and how it made me feel. Then I thought that I could do it and I started to song write and I figured I could sing and put it together.

Jumper – Boy London, Joggers- Yosqi

Jumper – Boy London, Joggers- Yosqi

How old are you now?


So how long have you been doing music?

About 4 years

Who would be a dream musical collaboration?

I think Eminem. I love how dark and deep his lyrics are. And P!NK.

Tell us about performing at Selfridges #MusicMatters night.

Oh my god it was so sick! Do you know the Missy Elliot videos… when I saw the set I was like this is the dream come true. The fact that I love Selfridges so much, it’s a big brand and they asked me to do it was unreal. It was really surreal.

When you got approached how was that?

I didn’t believe it at first but I was like “okay we have to nail everything”. We were supposed to have dancers but I think I can command the crowd well just on stage with a DJ. So we rehearsed all week and put everything into it!

Jacket – Adidas, Bottoms – Adidas

We’ve spotted you rocking Air Max 97’s and orange camo trousers, how would you describe your style?

It really changes, but I really like the baggy look on the bottom but on the top belly out, cropped tight and sexy look. Recently I’ve been buying baggy stuff and cutting it like this Selfridges hoodie or I cut the arms off.

Whats your favourite sneaker brand?

I’m gonna say Adidas. I love the brand.

When you see a guy, what attracts you in terms of their style?

I think their trainers first and maybe like their jewellery like chains.

What male celebrity do you think dresses really well?


What can we expect this year from you?

I think an EP towards the end of the year but I have got a Uni tour coming up in October around the UK, I’m doing it with Missguided.


Jacket – Billionaire Boys Club, Crop Hoodie – Marc, Bottoms – Kappa

When did your musical career start?

I don’t really know… I started writing songs when I was really young. I wrote my first silly song when I was about 7 and then I started writing and playing the guitar when I was 12 and I got signed quite young so I think technically, my musical career started quite early but in my mind serious, I left school a year ago and I think that’s when for me it was like ‘this is it’. I had nothing else to distract me or take me way from what I was doing I guess.

How did growing up as a signed artist affect your teenage years?

it’s a weird one that. It affected me more mentally, I think it’s definitely strange feeling like you’re under a microscope. I always got that feeling when I missed the latest party but that’s not really… now I’m older I don’t really mind but I definitely always felt like I wasn’t’ as free as I wanted to be. That maybe sounds a little silly but I think, there’s always people watching and not watching in a bad way but it’s like, my parents are great and would always make sure I’m playing guitar or writing songs. The label are great and I’ve got a really great team but when you’re young you just kind of want to be your own person and that definitely affected me slightly. I’ve never said that but it definitely did.

Top – Kappa, Bottoms – Kappa

Who are your musical inspirations?

Amy Winehouse definitely inspires me loads, she always has really. Actual more her debut album Frank, it’s a lot more jazzy than Back To Black but I think it inspired me as a song writer in a whole different way and I think lyrically I never felt there were any limitations when listening to her. She’s amazing but I’ve got loads of inspirations. I think people like Lauren Hill, Erica Bado, India Irie, Nina Simone vocally. As I got older I started to listen to different types of music like Arctic Monkeys and The Kooks and I think it all mixed into one and I was trying to find my sound out of that.

You’ve worked and toured with some amazing people (The 1975, Ed Sheeran) has that helped you grow as a musician?

Yea, I’ve toured with some amazing people definitely but if I’m honest, I think the guy who produced my latest track Sober, his name is Maths Time Joy. We spend quite a lot of time together in the studio and he personally has helped me learn and grow. Every time I’m with him, my creative juices are always flowing so much. I’m constantly growing, challenging myself, learning how to do something new or delving into a lyrical idea. He just really gets me and knows how to challenge me.

Did moving to Birmingham help your musical career?

My move wasn’t exactly to help my musical career, I wanted to study at Performing Arts School and I wanted to study Acting because I really loved it when I was a kid. I had done it all the way up to about 14 so it was a natural move. I was at a middle school in Leicester where after that everybody goes onto High School and I just didn’t want to do that. I thought if I’m at a Performing Arts College doing something like having to leave school for a week to gig or go and do sessions they would take that easier.

Top – Kappa, Bottoms – Kappa

What is your favourite song off your 2016 release Diary Of Me?

I think I would have to say ‘I Remember’. ‘I Remember’ was one of those songs that I always loved when I was writing, after I wrote it, I was a kid, I had had this boyfriend and he broke up with me in Middle School and I was really heart broken about it. I was 13. I was really young. I think it was one of those songs I always had in my mind ‘this is a hit, this is a tune’ and I’ve always loved it. Everything I say in it was how I was feeling at the time and it totally made sense for me and the character I am and the things I say.

You acted in the film Brotherhood, have you always been a singer and an actor?

Maybe I;m being silly, I have always acted but it was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life. Acting with a group and acting on stage is very different to acting on film. Watching it back I cringed loads but it was so sick to be a part of. Noel Clark and Jason (mazza)? are the two guys I met in the beginning just before I got cast and I think those two are so supportive of what I do. They love my music and that’s really sick, my tune got played in the film. It’s all experiences. I never want to be that singer that’s like ‘i wanna do this because I can’ I don’t really like that, but if you’ve done something and trained at it then try it out. That’s what I did.

How would you describe your dress sense?

You know what my friends always describe my dress sense as Funky. I don’t know if I like that word. I don’t really have one. I wear a lot of black, but then I’ll walk out the house in all pink. I think I dress a bit like my mum in the sense that… I would describe her as funky. Maybe I’m funky. Let’s go with funky.

Jacket – Billionaire Boys Club, Top – Kappa, Bottoms – Kappa

What brands would we find in your wardrobe?

A lot of Nike, a lot of Urban Outfitters and Shore Leave [Urban Outfitters Mens], a lot of Missguided and Pretty Little Thing. A lot of trainers, adidas, Nike and Puma.

What kind of male style attracts you?

I’ve always liked skater style like vans and jeans and shirts. I think confidence, you would wear a bin bag and be confident with it and that’s attractive. I can’t deal with spray on jeans. If a guy is confident in what he’s wearing then that makes him attractive.

Which male celebrity is the best dressed for you?

Oh my god I don’t even know what male celebrities wear! I don’t know, Jaden Smith always looks quite sick.

What have you got in store for the rest of the year?

I’m just gigging, in the studio, I’ve got gigs and maybe headline show in October. Mostly studio work on the album!

Crop Hoodie – Marc White

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