Talia Roya Went from Piano Prodigy to Singer-Songwriter | Phoenix New Times

Talia Roya Is Writing Music Close to Her Heart

Roya has been making music since she was 4 years old.
Talia Roya just released her new self-titled EP.
Talia Roya just released her new self-titled EP. Noemi Gonzalez

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In Pound for the Sound, Phoenix New Times gets technical with local music community members about what "gear" they use to create their signature "tones" in our community.

Talia Roya has been playing piano for almost all of her life. One hears the maturity of a lifelong, veteran player in her songwriting, even though she's only in her 20s. Born in Santa Barbara, California, she is almost a native Phoenician, as her family landed here in Phoenix when she was only 4. She was always singing and dancing as a child, and even though she comes from a nonmusical family, they took immediate notice to her passion and put her in piano lessons.

Roya had gigs on the books as early as age 9. Her father booked gigs for her around Scottsdale until she started booking them herself. She was booking mostly cover gigs at resorts all around the Valley, including a five-year residency at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale. At a certain point, however, she decided it was time to ditch the covers and focus on originals.

In 2006, Talia released her debut original album, My Notes. The singer-songwriter doesn't have a regular band and writes all of her own music, so it took some time to follow up her debut. 2015 saw the release of her second EP, Come Here. She followed it up in 2016 with the release of her single "Let Me See It," and again in 2017 with another single, "Not Done With Tonight," a track that features on her most recent work, a self-titled EP. This album contains "music that is closest to her heart," and she celebrates its release this Saturday, September 29, at The Rebel Lounge, where physical copies of her new EP will be available. With the upcoming release, Phoenix New Times was able to catch up with Roya to discuss her gear, the music closest to her heart, and her upcoming performance.

Phoenix New Times:
What's the secret weapon of your sound? And how did that help you find your "signature" tone?

I secretly hope the “secret weapon” of my sound is still in the making. I’ve noticed the more I learn to trust my intuition, the more my music forms at ease, it’s kind of wild actually.

What's your favorite piece of gear in your collection and why?
My Yamaha Motif-8 is a monster so it hardly leaves the house, but that’s been my go-to keyboard for many years.

Just listened to “Not Done With Tonight” off of your recently released self-titled EP. Great song. Really enjoyed all the crunchy, yet spacey vibes put out by the track. Also love the large organ like tones flying around from the what appears to be your keyboards. How did you go about writing and recording this track?
Thanks for your kind words. I wrote and recorded this song in my home studio on the piano. Though the organ doesn’t come in towards the end, it certainly adds a spooky hovering type feeling which is what I imagined while writing “you want to keep warm while you’re out in space”. My guitar player and I experimented quite a bit with those “crunchy” tones, I think he nailed it, it reminds me of Sade’s first records. The vocal on the track is a demo due to laryngitis I ended up getting for the first time during the making of the EP. The other tune’s vocal tracks were recorded post-laryngitis.

You had mentioned that the music on this EP is “music that has been written and feels closest” to your heart. Can you please explain to readers why you feel this way about your new EP?
I think as a writer you get to a time (with gratitude) when you can tell the difference between a genuine and disingenuous attempt to connect with yourself and others. The music I’ve been writing over the last couple years feels more like myself than it has in the past which is a good thing.

click to enlarge
Talia and her writing tool.
Noemi Gonzalez

You are releasing your self-titled EP this Saturday, September 29, at The Rebel Lounge. Any words you wish to share with fans about your upcoming EP release show?
I’m anticipating being out again and going live with my new tunes. We have a really fun show planned and I’m looking forward to seeing those in attendance!

Talia Roya: EP Release Show. With Sydney Sprague, Dirty Sunset. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, September 29 at The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road; therebellounge.com. Tickets are $7 via Ticketfly.
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