‘What is Most Important is Being True to Yourself When it Comes to Music’ Tayah Releases New Single ‘Hotel Suite 31’

Lucia Botfield

By Lucia Botfield

Lucia Botfield

28 Mar 2023

We caught up with West London’s finest, Tayah to discuss the release of her latest single, Hotel Suite 31, part of her new EP Still Wonders. Tayah discusses her authentic personal experiences in the song, her lyricism reflecting her navigating through the struggles of growing up while staying true to her beliefs. She takes influence from her Jamaican heritage, the 70s and 80s soul, reggae and rare groove, forming her own authentic sound.

Can you talk me through the creative process behind ‘Hotel Suite 31’?

I got the inspiration for Hotel Suite 31 from a few birthdays ago. I had spent a lot of time alone, and was very isolated. The lyrics and the song were birthed from trying to find the parts of me that I had previously used as strength, trying to remember all the things that I had already been through and come through, and bring myself back up. I had done a little demo for it, and then SuperBeats and I, who I had worked with previously and built a creative connection with, worked together on it. He presented this version to me, with the groovy baseline and took my sound and made it what it is now, which is great, and I’m really happy about it.

Music has always been something that has been a part of me, since I’ve been young, it has been that consistent thing in my life. I find it quite natural to use music to express myself and share the experiences that I have had. Music is the medium where I can say what I want to say, and heal from things.

Tayah’s Hotel Suite 31
What does music mean to you as an artist? Has it always been that way?

Music is connection. Music is a stable force. It’s the core of my being. There are so many different ways that music can be interpreted; not just music but lyrics, music to me is the sound of the earth, the one thing that we can all hear and understand in a similar way. When I look back in my memories, it’s always music; songs that remind me of particular times. It’s always been a stable force in my life. I have a diverse music taste, from seventies soul to house, garage and jazz.

Music has definitely always played a huge role in my life. I used to just write things and sing aloud. My uncle used to tell me that when I was around three or four years old I would walk around the house singing pars from “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by Frankie Valli, just sitting there repeating the lyrics. Some people have intrusive thoughts that they say out loud, but for me, those intrusive thoughts are some form of lyricism, music.

Do you have one song in particular that has always stuck with you?

Off the top of my head, I would say Starvue’s Body Fusion. It’s a seventies soul tune. It describes me and my music taste quite well, and it’s quite a nostalgic tune for me.

How would you define your music?

My music has been referred to as RnB quite a lot, but I wouldn’t class myself as traditional RnB. I would say my music is more soul and funk infused. I like to delve into that a lot. One of my recent releases, “Is it me, Hennessy” is a clear example of that; we had the main sound, and then I added a seventies soul flip, on the B-side, which was very mellow.

What is most important is being true to yourself when it comes to music, and that doesn’t mean limiting yourself, but rather doing what you want to do at that time. If you want to experiment, if you want to get out of the boxes that you and others put yourself in, then by all means do so. For me, I have been in a good place where I am able to have freedom in what I am doing. I’m on my second project now, and I’m still in the phase of finding my sound and finding my voice. It’s important for me to use this time properly, and to do what I want to do. 

How have you seen yourself and your sound grow and develop since the release of your first project? 

Looking back at some of the lyrics that I wrote in my first project now, I would never say that again, I wouldn’t write something like that again. Not in a bad way, it’s shown me my growth in terms of the topics that I talk about, and how I say certain things. Even aside from the song lyrics and considering the actual harmonies, the way that the songs have been presented. With this new project, I really wanted it to sound cohesive, and I wanted to listen to it myself. I don’t actually listen to my own music normally after its gone out, not for any reason, I just feel like if I listen to it too much I’m gonna start picking things out that I want to change. With this project, however, I can actually listen to it from top to bottom and be happy with it. 

The support for Hotel Suite 31 has been very humbling, the response has been so good. Those who heard the first project prior to this have said that it’s like a continuation of the story, and they really think and appreciate my art. What touches me most is when people say that they really felt what I said in a song, and truly connect with the story. Thats what’s important to me. The main thing that I want to achieve with my music is leaving something on this earth that will stay forever. The experiences that I speak about in my music are things that have directly affected me, but my music is obviously not just for myself. I want to give a contribution to the world that someone can relate to, that someone can use for their own healing, or whatever they connect with in the music. 

What role have the cultures you have been surrounded by played in your music?

The diverse London culture that I grew up in has certainly influenced my music; you meet people from all across the world, and even the genres that I listen to and say that I am influenced by are present in London. Myself, being of Jamaican heritage, we have so much connection to Caribbean and African ancestry in London, there is always somewhere you can go to feel as though you belong in that way, and to relate to and celebrate your heritage. I performed my first song at Notting Hill carnival, which is a celebration of Caribbean culture, which was amazing. My heritage has influenced my lyricism greatly too; with Hotel Suite 31. Reggae and Jamaican artists in general, we understand our hardships and we know Being around other creatives in London also is really inspiring, to hear others talk about their musical journey and to know that you are not alone. My heritage influences how I view the world, and how I move through the world, and there is a long lineage of people who have been through a lot as well, and are still going.