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-- Malikka McDuffie
Hearing the phrase, “We need to talk” is usually met with anxiety and doubt. But, Tayla Parx and her newly released album, We Need To Talk, showcases an enormous amount of vibrancy, empowerment and vulnerability.
Some of you may already know Parx, as she’s written and produced songs for Janelle Monáe, J. Lo, Fifth Harmony and most recently penned Ariana Grande’s chart-topping hits “thank u, next” and “7 Rings.” She’s a chameleon who studies her subjects, fully embraces their experiences, and crafts the many hits we hear on the radio today.
While making her way into the spotlight, Parx obtained a vast amount of knowledge when it comes to the music industry. From writing and producing her own music to managing her own business, Parx is etching her name in music history. Her love for colors and vivid imagery assists in elevating this subconscious goal, as she takes memories of sadness and other emotions, and breathes new life into them.
It's not just her bubbly personality that has the ability to brighten a room, it's her music, too. She's powerful with her pen and makes it a point to lead with a full heart.
Recently making a pit stop at Coachella, as Parx was also on the first leg of her American tour with Anderson .Paak, the star is now back on foot and entering major cities across the nation alongside fellow self-love advocate Lizzo.
REVOLT TV spoke with the recording artist/songwriter about her creative process and much more. Check out the conversation below! We Need To Talk is now available on all streaming platforms.
I read somewhere recently that you always start your writing sessions with artists by asking them a few questions, so I have a few for you. How are you and what have you been up to lately?
I’m great! My day is awesome! Today is an off day for me. It’s my first day recovering from Coachella, straight to San Francisco for the first day of voiceovers before my first day of the tour, which was a lot. I actually loved it because I really enjoyed the day in San Francisco. Now, I’m just chilling today.
You have this fondness for colors. It’s evident in all of your videos, whether they are joyful or melancholy. How has changing the perspective of colors assisted in telling your record's visual story?
I think some people associate being sad with dreary colors. The same thing with every sad song being slow, which isn’t true. I have a lot of records on my album that are talking about different things like 'Rebound.' It sounds like it would be a happy song, but it’s not and it’s still colorful. I have fun flipping the typical ideas of the way we relate to emotion on its head. The same way I flipped the name of my album We Need To Talk. I think that we are, a lot of times, afraid of that sentence. But, this is taking a different approach to our emotions and how we relate to them. It’s been really really fun.
The album’s lead single, 'I Want You,' describes the idea of having multiple partners. Are you encouraging fans to date multiple people at the same time or at least having someone on the side?
(Laughs) 'I Want You' is more about the listener. It’s you doing you. Being honest about what you’re doing; whether you’re dating somebody, or being in an open relationship, or saying, 'I don’t want to exclusively date anybody because I want to date you and you and you.' There are a lot of different ways to perceive it. If you don’t want to be in a relationship, you don’t have to. If you want to date multiple people, then do what you want to do, like I do. It’s sometimes hard to have that transparency, but that’s what this song was for me.
You previously mentioned that your latest single 'Easy' was one of the hardest songs you’ve ever written. Why is that? What place did this song take you to that made it so hard to deliver?
It was definitely a real-life moment. I found myself getting emotional and to this day, I still get emotional because I’ll never forget how I felt in the moment of writing that. Having to be so real and raw in the studio, it was one of the hardest moments because you’re holding up a mirror to yourself and you’re really saying, 'Okay, this is how I feel, and I’m putting my ego and emotion aside. I know that this might sound sappy or I know I might sound weak,' but instead, taking that and knowing there’s strength in vulnerability. I had to do it and it was hard, and it was something I had to learn over the past two years. But, ending my album with 'Easy' was beautiful because it was a personal challenge to myself to allow myself to be vulnerable and that’s exactly what that record is.
How do you move on knowing you gave your all in romantic situations like that and didn’t get the same in return?
I think the main thing that I see [is] this: Before that person came along, I didn’t even realize how much I could love somebody. I couldn’t fathom that I could love somebody this much and I had to look at it for what it is. Now, at the end of the day, at least you gave me that. Me knowing now -- to the person who actually deserves it -- I know that I can do that now because of you. It’s something where I was able to see that I grew from it. At the end of the day, it hurts because it’s a growing pain... I’ve always been the type to see the brighter side, eventually. That’s why I wanted to end the album on 'Easy' to say, 'Hey, I’m letting it go.' I’m taking it for what it is and it’s all good at the end of the day. Most [of the] time, you have to go through the fire to appreciate the next person that comes along.
Your penmanship on Ariana Grande’s 'thank u, next' birth conversations surrounding self-love and choosing yourself. It followed the Janelle Monáe self-acceptance, female-empowered single 'Pynk.' How important is it to you that those themes resonate in the records you’ve contributed to?
I think there’s been a number of artists that I’ve worked with -- including myself -- that I know my little sister is going to be hearing this. Knowing that I have female cousins that are going to hear this. Knowing that I have a mom that’s going to hear this. I would like to represent that. I would like to represent people that I love and makes them proud. I want people to feel proud to be them, whatever they are. Even starting off my female-empowered writing days with Fifth Harmony and the K-Pop girl groups like Red Velvet and 21, writing sassy songs and giving girls a good feeling about saying, 'I’m that one,' and not feeling afraid to say it out loud. And if you don’t believe it, you’re going to believe it by the end of this song. I have fun and try to approach feminism in a different way through the music [with] records like 'Pynk' that I wrote for Janelle Monáe. It’s fun because every artist has their own way of displaying their femininity, and I enjoy putting into different words and melodies.
Why is it important to showcase female camaraderie and friendship in all aspects of the music industry?
I’ve been blessed enough to write for some of my best friends, but they’ve also supported me. Even when I’ve felt that it wasn’t time yet, I knew that I had their support. I knew I had the belief from the artists and A&Rs around me that would say when you’re ready, we will be your cheerleader and I’ve been so blessed. I think that when you’re surrounded by such a group, you’re unafraid to truly do you. I enjoy being a chameleon, and knowing that this is adding joy to someone’s life because it doesn’t diminish mine. Taking that mentality and showing that it’s one that works.
Revisiting the topic of colors and their significance -- Being able to add colors to anything can give it a more positive and uplifting feeling. With that in mind, has that allowed you to develop a philosophy on positivity and if so, what is it?
My take on positivity is that there’s always a brighter side to things. It doesn’t matter where you are in life. It doesn’t matter how bad you feel that it is. I’ve always been that type of person to always see the scale and know that it could be worse. It’s easier to apply that philosophy if you see it from a different lens. Whether that lens is pink, yellow and green -- or if we don't -- we truly don’t understand just how much color evokes certain emotions. You learn that yellow makes you smile and red actually helps you sleep better. Different things like that go into how colors affect you. It can help change your relationship with negativity and positivity. You’ll be able to find the positive within the negative. I’m not saying that it will make life easier because that’s not what life is supposed to be. You’re supposed to go through these extreme emotions, so that when you are on the other side of them, you can appreciate what you went through.
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