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TALK Interview: From TikTok to “Mars”

TALK released his debut single titled “Run Away To Mars” in June after gaining a following on TikTok earlier this year. His voice and persona as an artist are so developed for this to be his first release, and I was immediately intrigued by his style.

TALK released his debut single titled “Run Away To Mars” in June after gaining a following on TikTok earlier this year. His voice and persona as an artist are so developed for this to be his first release, and I was immediately intrigued by his style.

He fits right into that rough, pop-rock sound that can be easily detected in the voices of artists like Miley Cyrus, Stevie Nicks, Avril Lavigne, and Machine Gun Kelly; people that don’t have to fake that raspy growl in their words.

TALK will release his debut EP titled TALK To Me this fall. When I asked him about using his stage name in the title, he told me there’s a deeper meaning behind it, as well: “It’s a bit of a pun… All the songs off this EP coming up are very ‘talk to me’ type songs. Like, that’s what I’m doing. I’m lonely, and it’s Mars, I’m lonely…”

“There’s a lot that I want to say, and a lot of things that I’ve wanted to say for a long time. I started this journey a long time ago — maybe eight years ago — and just developed and found myself and figured out all the things I wanted to say. I’m sure there’ll be more of it. I’m just really excited to try and reach people.”

Just like the artists that inspire his music, he has a myriad of dream collaborators on his mind including Coldplay, Elton John, Muse, and Billy Strings.

Speaking about Coldplay, he said they’re at the top of his list, and he has been “in love” with them “since [he] was really young”: “Chris Martin and Coldplay have always spoken to me, like, how he writes songs. They would probably be number one.”

An artist who has defined a generation of artists after him, Elton John, also made the list: “Elton John is a big influence on me, too. The whole bright, colorful, kind of walking a very fine line of too much in your face… I really like.”

On Muse, he said that working with them would be “super cool”: “I love them. That would be crazy. That would be awesome.”

An artist you may not know from that list is Billy Strings, but he’s somebody that should definitely be on your radar. TALK agrees, saying that “Billy Strings is just so underrated.” He went on praising his artistry and the incredible talent he possesses: “He’s so good. I could listen to Billy Strings all day… He’s very psychedelic. I know he’s a Dead [& Company] fan. I’ve got a Dead [& Company] shirt on. I know me and him would get along really well. I like how he is kind of goofy in his songs… I like to consider myself pretty goofy, too. I think Billy Strings could be sick. That would be awesome. I mean, obviously, he can play, he can rip.”

TALK teased that this astronaut character he has embodied in the visuals that go along with “Run Away To Mars” isn’t the only character we’ll be getting from him. The songs on TALK To Me are all very different, and they will each take on their own unique look both visually and sonically.

I asked TALK if his first single, “Run Away To Mars,” was a good indicator of what fans should expect sonically on the EP, and he said that some of it leans even more into the rock genre: “I love a guitar solo, and some of my songs coming up after ‘Mars’ are a little rock-focused, and there’s a lot of guitar in there.”

While talking about the rest of the songs on the EP, he told me that this first single is the most “bare bones” of anything on the project. Most of the songs on the rest of the EP are “a little faster-paced, a little heavier, more rock-oriented stuff. There’s still the country elements, the kind of pop elements that are present in ‘Mars,’ but definitely more drums, guitar solos.”

He continued to describe the style of his upcoming rock-infused songs, likening them to that of “Bon Jovi, Guns ’N Roses, anthem rock,” although “not super heavy, but heavy enough to get the point across.” 

Something a lot of music stars might tell TALK not to do is read his comments, but he insists on reading everything because he knows what it’s like to be that fan leaving the comments:

“I’m responding and making sure people feel heard. A lot of people are sharing stories of how this has affected them or what it has helped them through, and I’ve been there. I’ve thanked artists the same way these people are thanking me. It’s been a crazy kind of flip to be on the other side of it. It’s been a blessing and humbling.”

He says he has gotten lucky, though, scraping by with only one negative comment, so far: “I only got one mean comment, and all it was was, ‘Hell nah.’ That’s the nicest mean comment you can get!”

TikTok played a major factor in his come-up story, and it all started after he posted a cover of “House of the Rising Sun” that went viral on the app. A few years ago, he had a friend suggest he start posting his covers and original songs on TikTok, but it took a while for him to start doing it consistently:

“I recorded covers in my basement and in my bedroom. Then, I progressively found my footing when it came to how I was shooting them and the quality. It was a lot of watching TikTok and seeing what people were doing and trying to do it better than they were doing.”

He says “there’s no other platform like [TikTok]” and compares it to “a lottery ticket every time you post a video.” He went on to say that he thinks, “Now, TikTok is oversaturated. Every single artist in the world is using TikTok.”

With more players in the game, it can be difficult for rising artists to stand out from the crowd, and some of the biggest success stories out of TikTok may come from the most unexpected places.

For TALK, posting his original song “Run Away To Mars” was the ticket that got him a viral hit of his own. It truly is an organic success story that built upon itself. His fans were demanding that he release the song on streaming services, so it was obviously clicking if it got such a response out of them.

In building the artist that we know as TALK, he told me that he explored several genres and tried on a few different hats before landing on this one that we hear today: “I had experimented with a lot of genres coming into this project. Two years ago, I was making stuff like The Weeknd. I was making this ’80s-pop, urban stuff. I was making some Lumineers-type stuff, which ‘Mars’ kind of fits into.” After that, he said that he “went back to [his] roots” and “found [his] voice again.”

One album in particular that he says was especially impactful on him was Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace by the Foo Fighters.

When I asked him what he thought about the pop-punk-rock sound that’s currently dominating mainstream music right now with The Kid LAROI, Olivia Rodrigo, Miley Cyrus, Post Malone, Machine Gun Kelly, and more leaning into the style, he said, “I think it’s about time.”

He thinks that artists being locked inside for several months made them crave the live element of music, which is usually more rock-infused, so he thinks it was inevitable for it to come back.

Live music is slowly coming back with tour dates and shows taking place and new dates being announced for the upcoming months. TALK thinks that “it’s gonna to be a beautiful time for music. It’s gonna to be the Roaring ‘20s. Everyone’s gonna wanna get out.”

As a Canadian artist, TALK says that music fans in the US might only familiarize Canada with Drake, The Weeknd, and Justin Bieber, but also shouted out some of Canada’s rising stars like Ali Gatie and Jessie Reyez as rising talent to keep your eye on.

I was blown away to hear just how many instruments TALK is able to play; piano, guitar, drums, bass, banjo, harmonica, and the mandolin. He stays humble by saying, “I don’t consider myself really amazing at anything… I’m very mediocre at every instrument.”

“I waited so long to release something because I wanted to release something really good. And I wanted to make sure it was so cohesive that it not only sounded good but the message was right for me.”

TALK has new singles dropping pretty periodically up until his debut EP, TALK To Me, is released this fall. In the meantime, buy and stream his single, “Run Away To Mars,” here.

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