Talay Riley is one talented young man. He’s about to release his debut album, and has already scored a number one hit as the song writer behind Chipmunks smash Oopsy Daisy. Talay is also making waves across the Atlantic, where he has penned tracks for the like’s of Jamie Foxx, rubbed shoulders with music industry elite and almost managed to sweep Beyonce off her feet.
Flavour catches up with Talay to discuss his first studio album, what inspires his writing and why toast may be the way to Nicki Minaj’s heart!
I’ve had a listen to your new album it sounds very futuristic…
That’s what we were going for! It’s a forward thinking kinda sound.
How did you find the whole recording process?
It takes a lot out of you but I am so glad that I got to be in this position because I’ve been a writer for a few years. It’s really good to get onto the other-side of the process and come to the forefront.
Has your focus always been on a singing career?
Yes, definitely. I just never thought it would happen this soon! I’ve only been writing for three years but I’ve been singing since I was five! I always wanted to be an artists and when I got the chance to do vocals on the Chipmunk track Look For Me I knew that was the start of something!
So much is happening for you already and you are only 20. What inspires your writing?
Movies do quite a lot. Avatar was the main inspirations for my album and my lead single Humanoid. I remember watching it and thinking how amazing the whole out of this world alien concept was. To me being an alien is unique, different but still beautiful. Also the imagery used in the movie was very inspiring as I had never seen anything like it. So I took all of that from the movie, applied it to everyday things like love and hate, and I wrote the album.
Wow that’s impressively creative! So before your album, you had written Look For Me and Oopsy Daisy for Chipmunk. How did you get involved with him?
I’d actually written Oopsy Daisy two years before Chipmunk got involved when I was unsigned. I was working on music with some friends and Chipmunk met them and he wanted to hear our stuff. We played him some of our newly written material and he wasn’t really feeling it, asked if there was anything else out came Oopsy Daisy…
And the rest was history?
[Laughs] Yeah exactly!
What was Chipmunk like to work with?
He is very confident and sure about what he wants. Working with him helped me to see how much focus and energy is needed in the studio.
Have you looked to any other artists for inspiration with your career?
Michael Jackson of course. Singers like Usher and Joe but on the other hand bands like Oasis and female artists like Beyonce. I love what Lady Gaga is doing right now [Talay say’s this rather emphatically.]
Ooh are you gonna give us the male Gaga?
[Laughs] Ermm, I’m not gonna go that out there but I love the fact that she’s adopted this brave image and is doing whatever she likes. And although some might think its crazy, people have bought into it and they appreciate the fact that she’s bringing a real artists visual. She’s like a character, she inspires me a lot.
So have you got an alter ego on stage?
[Laughs]I do funnily enough!
What’s his name?!
He doesn’t have a name yet but he’ll be out in full effect soon. When I’ve been performing he has made a couple of appearances!
Has anything surreal happened since you got signed?
Well I’ve been bumped up to first class on flights, my tour manager dropped my name and they gave us the seats – I was so embarrassed. Oh, and I’ve been to some amazing parties. I met Beyonce [gets a dreamy look in his eye’s] she was like standing in the room and no one was talking to her. And I just thought is this for real? Beyonce is standing here and no one is talking to her, so I walked over and I was like ‘Hi I’m you’re your biggest fan!’ What you see on TV is what you get. She is so nice, and beautiful!
That’s what’s up! Sounds like you’ve had a lot of fun. Is there anyone you’d really love to work with that you haven’t yet?
I’d like to do a track with Tinie Tempah, and one day I would like to write a song for Beyonce [looks wistful]. I’ve actually written a few for her already….
Are they love songs? I’m sensing your passion for B runs deep…
She’s beautiful, I admire her but it’s never gonna happen. She’s broken my heart, cos she’s married to Jay!
Well you’re a cute guy; we can find someone to mend it! Are you single?
Yep I’m single to mingle. I like intelligent, pretty girls with cool personalities. I quite like Nicki Minaj…
Where would you take her on a date?
Hmm, to Wagamama’s and a movie. Or maybe for a picnic.
Cook her a meal?
I can make good toast- reckon that might win her over?!
Interview by Mary Bello
Talay’s track Humanoid is out in October.