Talia Hoit is an American singer-songwriter from Colorado. She was classically trained at a young age, and now she writes songs and various symphonic metal compositions (fans of Evanescence would connect). She has contributed to bands for the last two decades and also has a collection of solo works. Alongside a talented group of producers and musicians, she is bringing more of her most personal and intimate solo songs to life. Her latest piece is “Abandon”, in which the listener can immerse themselves in the haunting emotion, and in this interview she shares her excitement for the video release.
She commented previously on “Until It’s Forgotten” that, “When I wrote this song last year, it was not particularly intended to be something I would release; it was just a moment of vulnerability I had at my piano one day where this song unfolded into existence as I was going through something and had a moment of being emotionally overwhelmed and just started playing the keys and saying the words. It became a beautiful poem about letting go of something that had been really important to me but was dying in my life.”
Fans of the hard rock outfit Anadies will remember her as their keyboardist and co-songwriter. She recorded the 2004 album “Formamentum” with them, along with the 2006 EP “Catalyst.” She has a formidable music CV, having been with the Chamber Singers of the Colorado Springs Chorale for five years.
One of the things we take great pride in here at Rock the Joint Magazine is that we enjoy getting behind newer bands and acts and showing that belief when we know they can make it. And listening to these early numbers from Talia, she very clearly has the musical chops to create a very significant solo career.
Talia Hoit, Photo by Michele Johns.
We started off noting that Talia’s opening single, “Until It’s Forgotten,” was referred to by our reviewer Loraine as “a lament for loss,” with a piano accompaniment to the gentle melody and a voice showing the pain. It is powerful and really sad, and we felt we wanted to know the background to the track.
Talia- I suppose a lot of my songs are personal, and I often write them for personal reasons and because they were written a long time ago and not for publication reasons. I could take them to producers and try to make something of them, I guess. As for “Until It’s Forgotten,” I wrote that one probably twenty years ago. During that part of my life, I was standing outside a club. In the club, I was playing, and I wrote the lyrics. I then went home and wrote the music. It was quite a long time ago, but it was one of the songs I chose to redo with a professional production as I recorded it at home a long time ago. It went out on an album that I put out just to friends and family, and it was one of the songs in there. So it was one of the ones I took along more recently to a producer and had it done professionally, and they did a great job.
Obviously, Talia has been in bands, as aforementioned, and written with them. But does she feel greater freedom as a songwriter when she is a solo artist than when she is writing for the needs of a band?
Talia- I write constantly at home for myself, and most of these will never see the light of day. When I was in a band, sometimes I would bring in songs that I had already written, and other times we would collaborate. With the musicians I work with now, it works both ways, but most of the time they supply the music and I take it home and do the lyrics. There is another vocalist who may add some lyrics, so it’s different with the band, but equally, I can bring in songs written outside the band altogether. I don’t always write songs for the purpose of getting them out there, but if they are for the public, then they will go through more filters to make them more publicly accessible.
Next, we asked about the songwriting process, the old lyrics, or music first! We also noted how comfortable Talia is on the piano, and I suppose she wrote songs on the piano first.
Talia- Mostly lyrics first, then I sit at the piano to work out chords and melody. Sometimes, with “Abandon,” for example, I just sat down and started playing the piano. I began to work with some chords, and the words came to mind with the melody. But the majority of the time, I will have some ideas for lyrics, and then I work on the music. Although you note the guitar, when I first started songwriting, I wrote on the guitar. I was more improvising so I could learn how to play at that time, and then I would start writing the words, just singing to the guitar. My earliest songs were guitar based.
The promotional material we initially received on Talia identified her as a “symphonic metal” performer, which intrigued us. As a thought, symphonic metal seemed to remind us of Jim Steinman and Meatloaf. But did Talia see herself as “symphonic metal”?
Talia- For sure, orchestration is the music with which I personally resonate. Of course, what is difficult as a solo artist is that I don’t have a band! As a songwriter, I can write a song in any genre, it depends on who is helping me with it, and the market. When I am playing myself, I will take it home and play it on the piano, but when I am working with producers, at this stage of my life, I am looking to occupy the symphonic metal genre. That is because my songs are heavy and dark; they need that feel in the production. Let’s face it, they are not happy pop songs, and as you noted, they can be very sad. The music I am looking toward will be very much in that genre.
We asked if Talia was a fully independent artist at the moment. We cover a lot of indie artists here at the magazine and are always in awe of how they work so hard to carve a path for their music. Of course, many of the solo artists we work with are very happy to retain considerable artistic freedom.
Talia- I am just starting out as a solo artist, and I have been trying to record and figure out the right producer for me for a couple of years. Really, these two singles are the first ones I have released with commercial effort. I guess people don’t fully know who I am yet. But I have manufactured CDs and merchandise with the band I am working with now. I don’t feel at the moment that I need to be with a record label to achieve my goals. As we go along, if a decent partnership comes along, then I will consider options.
Turning to the videos, of which we include a couple here, they are very powerful. The video for “Abandon,” especially, is extremely impressive.
Talia- The same videographer, Kyle Lamar, made both “Abandon” and “Forgotten.” He is about an hour away from me and he does a lot of videos for bands in that area. He also travels and has experience. I had seen his material from other bands that I know and follow, and I reached out and asked if he would do my videos. If I see someone’s work and love it, then that is the person I want to work with, and that applies to album art, producers, or videos.
We may be off base here, but we thought we detected some gospel influences in her music.
Talia- Not intentionally, but I did spend a lot of time in a religious setting doing church music, and I have been classically trained. So in my past, there has been a lot of sacred music, and so I would say there is an influence there, but it is not what I am trying to do.
As a working songwriter, is Talia still writing for other bands too?
Talia- mostly just for myself now. I don’t do music as a full time career, I also work in finance. For most of the time I have been writing, I have not been looking toward commercial material, but I am now. In the past, with bands, they had a different singer, so I was writing songs with the intention that she would sing them. I would sometimes feel sad that I was putting my heart into a song, but someone else was singing it, and would they understand what I wanted to say? So I have been working on my singing so I can sing my own songs. I suppose if there were artists out there who wanted to work with me I would listen. But for now, I am working on my personal story.
Talia Hoit by Michele Johns
So what is the plan for 2023? Is there more on the way?
Talia- I do have another single and a video prepared for release, hopefully in May. There are also a couple of singles with various producers that I am at various stages of working on. I am also in the studio working on a full-length album, so the recording side is very busy right now. I have so many songs—over 20 years of material—unused. It is a matter of getting it done well. Once the production is done, maybe at the very end of this year for the album, I want it to have the quality that I always desired. I wanted the visuals that I wanted too, and I want to get my music out to share with people. The quality control is myself, but there are those around me that I choose to work with, and the producer of “Abandon—when he sent me the completed song, I loved it. I may not be an expert, but I choose the best to work with, and that is quality control for me.
And lastly, we noted that Talia wrote orchestral scores.
Talia- Yes, when I started with the band, we had a keyboard player initially, but she left right before the EP was recorded. Now I play keyboards, but I love to do full scores; I love orchestra and classical music, and I don’t just want to fill in the chords; I want to think about what the violins do, what the bassoon does, and how all the instrumentals all fit together. I have done that ever since on our albums, and I enjoy working that way.
By Benny (the Ball) Benson
Mark C. Chambers
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