By Alex Moss

At only 17 years old, Tallia Storm has already achieved more in her young life than most can dream of in a whole lifetime. As an aspiring R&B singer, at the age of 13 Tallia ran into David Furnish while on a family holiday. Using her initiative Tallia asked if David could pass her demo CD on to his partner Elton John. Before long she was supporting Elton at one of his Scottish concerts in front of 17,000 people. Since then Tallia has given a TEDx Talk, written for The Huffington Post and last year had her first book Pop Girl published. For Life caught up with Tallia to find out how she is able to kick up such a storm.

You’re a singer, you’re a blogger, you’re a writer, you’ve given TED Talks, how do you best describe Tallia Storm?

First and foremost I’m a singer, always have been, always will be. Jazz, soul and R&B are in my soul. On top of that I love to write and generally can’t stop talking so these things are wonderful add ons that I’ve been fortunate enough to have been invited to do. As cliched as it sounds — I do consider myself very blessed but I can also tell you that I put in serious hours at my craft and I’m here for the long run, whatever knocks come along, I won’t give up.

We are the generation of ‘why not’! We have this incredible technology at our fingertips

Your TED Talk was on ‘Being Prepared’ in case opportunity knocks, when you met David Furnish was this a prime example of seizing the day?

Yes I think so. I think life gives everyone gifts and it’s what we make of them that counts. There is no excuse for not being prepared — whatever the project, or exam or life goal. The choice is always in our own hands — we must put in the hours of training, research, building our craft whether it’s sport, art or music — whatever. I think teenagers today have more opportunity than my parents’ generation. We are the generation of ‘why not’! We have this incredible technology at our fingertips, we can create our own craft at a fraction of the cost that our parents could. We can experiment and really make a go of almost anything if we want to. The rest is down to seizing those opportunities, a bit of luck thrown in and dedication. It’s a bit like acting — a committed actor will do hundreds of auditions before he gets that break right? Where there’s a will, there is always a way.

By seizing that opportunity you were subsequently asked by Elton John to open for one of his concerts, how did that feel?

To this day it still feels very surreal. I was only nervous at the side of the stage before I went on — shaking even. But once I started singing, to those 17,000 people in that football stadium, I didn’t want to leave the stage. It was totally and utterly incredible — the vibe, the adrenaline — despite being just 13 years old at the time, I knew then — this was it. I wanted to do that for the rest of my life. Then the hard work began. Elton John and David Furnish opened a magical door for me — I owe it to them not to let them down. The journey may be long, but I’m giving it all that I have, even on the bad days — I find a way of turning any negativity around.

I think a lot of people expect mountains to be climbed in no time, there is no such thing as as a short cut.

The music industry has shifted so much recently, do you think there is a method of breaking into it or do you think every case is different?

The music industry is a monstrous animal — it’s understanding the animal that is challenging and every manager, every label and producer has a different method or mechanic to ‘break it’. Personally I think you have to trust your gut and your own close team — it’s very easy to be influenced by important people but one has to ask the question — are they simply looking to make a quick buck — or do they have your long term growth at heart? The positive of today’s market place is the incredible opportunities that the artist has to build fans through social media, to share your own music, to really grow your own brand / identity. I think a lot of people expect mountains to be climbed in no time, there is no such thing as as a short cut. You have to do your time, gain that experience and build your sound over years. I think acts need a sense of authenticity — not something that has been crafted for them — more of something they have crafted and developed themselves.

Elton John has played a big part in your career so far, what kind of advice did he give you?

The most important one was, ‘take your time, there is no rush’. I really took that to heart. I’ve had insane offers that would have possibly brought me huge awareness — but were they right for me as an artist? No, I didn’t believe they were. So I am taking my time — no matter how long that takes. But hey, don’t think for a second I’m not productive — I survive on hardly any sleep and keep hustling!

The most important one was, ‘take your time, there is no rush’. I really took that to heart.

You’ve been hanging out at some pretty amazing events, is there anyone who has made you particularly starstruck?

I have worked with Nile Rodgers many times now but given he is such an idol for me, I’m still in awe of his talents when I meet him. He’s so down to earth but utterly dedicated to his craft. The man never stops. When we are hanging out or working together I can’t help but think of the people he has written for. I also met Drake right after his show — I was like — wow, this guy is where it’s at. He’s an incredible performer and yet back stage he was calm, in control and still focused — that seriously impressed me.

Unlike many young stars you often pay tribute to the influence your parents have had, how important is your home life in keeping you grounded?

100% — I think working with my parents is incredible as they can reprimand you when you need it, tell you something is really bad when it is, and guide you with a degree of honesty and integrity that may be hard for others who have monetary objectives. Plus my parents have always worked and are definitely workaholics so watching that I think gave me my drive. My dad is an incredible musician and producer — he lives in his studio and my mum is always glued to her laptop or phone. My sister and brothers are brilliant for that cheeky banter that always keeps me in check so there is no escaping if I’m being a bitch — I can tell you!

Unlike many young stars you often pay tribute to the influence your parents have had, how important is your home life in keeping you grounded?

100% — I think working with my parents is incredible as they can reprimand you when you need it, tell you something is really bad when it is, and guide you with a degree of honesty and integrity that may be hard for others who have monetary objectives. Plus my parents have always worked and are definitely workaholics so watching that I think gave me my drive. My dad is an incredible musician and producer — he lives in his studio and my mum is always glued to her laptop or phone. My sister and brothers are brilliant for that cheeky banter that always keeps me in check so there is no escaping if I’m being a bitch — I can tell you!

What does 2016 hold for you?

Writing and recording more music — a cool collaboration which I can’t wait to share. I’m also releasing POP GIRL my novel in the USA in the autumn, some fashion campaigns and live gigs so it’s not quiet I can tell you that. But that’s the way I love it!

What are your top tips for making the big time?

Believe in yourself and your abilities and never give up. Perfect and practise your craft relentlessly and dream big. Add a dash of ‘hustle’ on top for good measure and hope for a spot of good luck along the way and you’re all set!

You can follow Tallia on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

You can follow Tallia on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube

Resources: https://medium.com/for-life-journal/tallia-storm-making-waves-8a0dcc1ab38c#.7bhhmw6x3