When brainstorming what to call my first official music release, writer's block hit me like, well...a cement block. Hehehe, ironic that the creative black hole didn't hit me during the actual music writing, but when attempting to muster up a name for the collection! I really did have such a hard time. It was difficult because I write each song like it's in its own little universe. I don't try to write songs that sound similar or discuss the same things--in fact, I try to make them as diverse as possible. This is fun and great and adventurous, sure, but when trying to compile them and find the similarities, additional creativity is required. Or so I thought.
Once I determined which songs would appear on the EP, I realized that I didn't help myself at all. I had picked the tunes that I felt the strongest about for the moment--"First Meeting," "Such Is Life," and "Raindance." But they all came from entirely different headspaces and motivations. I didn't even know what genre they were!
The truth is that throughout my music journey, I have had the hardest time trying to pinpoint a "sound" or "genre" that best represents what I'm hearing in my head. I've gotten a bit of flack, but mostly just confused expressions from professors and peers alike as they try to figure out what the heck I have just played them. I've heard countless times that if I am not able to effectively market my "brand" in a genre-specific way, no one will be able to categorize and/or engage with my music. Translation: Change what you're passionate about to what is popular and you might be discovered. Wow. That's difficult to hear over and over, and for a while I struggled with this notion that if I stayed true to myself I would ultimately fail, be the laughing stock of the music industry or something ridiculous. But still I kept on. I just had to. I kept building my skills. Singing higher and higher, playing faster and faster, writing better and better. I fulfilled my dream of studying abroad in Australia. I formed lasting relationships with people across the world. I was able to be an adult. Like really feel like one. I was able to come back to the U.S. and get a job...which I quit after a month because the atmosphere was manipulative and toxic. I trialed four or five other jobs outside of the music industry during the early months of 2020, but none of them made me feel excited, supported, and valued. Now I realize that through these disappointing encounters, I was being shown what was important to me. There is one thing that I consistently want out of my life and my music: a supportive and exciting atmosphere. The goal, the "brand"--the uniting factor--of my music is not a genre or type of singing but a mood, an atmosphere if you will, that supports and encourages its listeners.
Instead of saying "I'm gonna write the next pop-hit banger," I want my music to create an environment that allows listeners to see deeper into themselves and then use that knowledge to brighten their outlook on the world around them. I don't want to make music that just makes people want to dance. I want to make music that makes them want to dance because they realize that it's ultimately their choice to live a fulfilling and joyful life. I don't want to make music that just gives people feels. I want to make music that gives people feels because it unlocks a part of themselves that they've kept hidden away for fear of being rejected. I will use the instruments necessary to make listeners feel heard and supported within the context of the song. That's my passion. That's me, plain and simple. And I needed to embrace it.
It was easy then to figure out what atmosphere each song represented. "First Meeting" embodies hope, youthful energy, and beginnings. "Such Is Life" delves into disappointment, disillusionment, and desperation. And "Raindance" rounds it out with adventure, inspiration, and unconditional joy. This cycle from hope to disappointment back to joy is a huge part of our journey through life, and it felt incredibly important to sing on all these topics. Suddenly, the songs fit perfectly together!
It is with these pandemic revelations that I discovered what I needed to name the EP. It needed to have my name because that would mean I was committed--literally putting my whole self into the work. And as this was to be my first major release, I needed to adequately introduce my "atmosphere" to the world. I figured the best way to do it was like I do it in real life: "Hi, my name is Talon. Talon, like the claw."
Listen to Talon, Like the Claw on all streaming platforms now!!!