Last week, we reported on the Doogie Howser Segment, and the trend of accelerated development among youth. We highlighted that TedX has even witnessed the overwhelming amount of dedicated, brilliant, and passionate teens around the world, creating a platform to share their grand ideas. This Saturday, the 4th annual TedXTeen conference will be underway and Ypulse will not only be there representing, but we’ve got a special guest as our dedicated correspondent, 14-year-old musician, Tallia Storm.
Discovered by Elton John just last year, this native of Scotland is known for her R&B and jazz vocals with a powerhouse voice and even bigger personality (and hair!). There is nothing small about this girl, except maybe her petite frame. In addition to working on her upcoming album, making live appearances all over the world and going to school full time, Tallia is also a writer for Huffington Post Teen. In addition to being our corespondent, she’ll also be singing at TedxTeen and we can’t wait to see her perform in real life. She is the perfect young lady to represent the mature, talented, insatiably curious, pop-savvy generation.
We had a chance to catch-up with her before the big day and got to know her a bit more.
Firstly, thanks so much for being Ypule’s TedXTeen correspondent! We’ve noticed a lot of tweens and teens taking hobbies to a serious level, very much like the dedication you bring to your incredibly mature and soulful voice. Have you noticed this dedication level among your peers too?
Yes, I think so, definitely. When you look at legends like Elton John, it’s not just by chance they are so successful. Contrary to the instant success of Reality TV, they were all in it for the long haul, came up the hard way, persevered and never gave up. They did all the venues and clubs, large and small, and went through all the stuff that shapes who you are. In this last year alone, the experiences I’ve had really made me stronger, more determined and more conscientious than ever. It’s like an Olympic athlete – it takes years of dedication to reach for gold, but athletes are so focused on their ‘thing’ that they keep going, no matter what ups and downs come along.
And all that hard work seems to pay off with amazing invites, like attending this conference. Have if you ever been to something like the TedXTeen conference before?
Never and I’m just so excited to be here really – it’s actually a bit surreal if I’m honest. I grew up listening to Chic and Sister Sledge, influenced, of course, by my parents’ taste in music (my dad plays jazz piano and writes my songs at the moment), so to be invited to this awesome event which is organized by Nile Rogers We are Family Foundation is kinda’ insane! It’s a real honor and thrill for me. I must admit, I am a bit of a chatterbox so can’t wait to meet all these awesome teens.
When it comes to your music, where do you get your inspiration from and what has inspired you the most thus far?
My dad is a jazz pianist and our house is always crazy with noise and music and jamming. Both my parents work so when they come home, dad plays the piano, mom dances about whilst cooking dinner and my 6 year-old brother, Zac, is into the bongos. I love the jazz legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and my modern day favs are undoubtedly Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and Jennifer Hudson. I mean I love Jay-Z and Beyonce but I would love to see a jazz classic with some hot Jay-Z rapping in it – the reality is without jazz, we wouldn’t have the music we have today.
I also noticed that you’re quite a talented writer! How do you find the time to do all this; practice hours on-end every day, work on an album, attend amazing events AND go to school?
My life is crazy really – I am one half Tallia Storm and other half Tallia who comes home from London Fashion Week and then gets on the bus the next day to go to school. My parents keep me really grounded – they support all the exciting stuff and make sure I keep my feet on the ground, but in truth I am a bit of an academic geek – I do love to study. But I make sacrifices – I don’t hang out with friends every minute, I don’t go to parties at school or do other regular teen stuff, I literally dedicate every spare minute I have to singing or writing. The writing thing just kind of happened – I have always loved creative writing and poetry so when I started blogging it was just like writing as you think. I try to make my writing quirky you know, how I am really feeling at the time of the experience.
I don’t work any harder than a dedicated gymnast or pro-footballer or hockey player – they train every spare minute and I make sure I use every spare minute I have for the things that I love. I was reading about a professional pianist who rehearses for 8 hours a day. That’s how it happens – talent is from nature, but success is more dedication and hard work than anything else.
In your HuffPo article you mentioned that you’re really excited to see Los Angeles-based teen Caine Monroy (“Caine’s Arcade” project), Kelvin Doe from Sierra Leone (10 year-old radio station inventor built out of recycled materials), and Kuha’o Case from Hawaii who was born blind and has taught himself to play piano. Aside from the fact that they’ve accomplished probably more than what most people will in their entire lifetime, what about these three inspires you the most?
All of these speakers are incredible inspirations to me. Each had an idea, or ‘thing’ as I call it. They implemented that idea and kept going. I remember watching Kuha’o video’s on YouTube and I was actually crying. I almost felt that I didn’t deserve to be on the same platform as him. He overcomes incredible obstacles through music – and it’s pure magic. It’s exactly the kind of stuff that really should be shared with the world and that’s why this platform is just so incredible. It’s also the fact that we come together from all over the world and share our ideas and talk about them, then go back to our tiny pockets in the world and learn from them. It really does rock!
What kind of inspiration are you hoping to come away with from the conference?
I am easily excitable at the best of times. When I read something in a magazine, I want to do it right then and there. Like, when I hear a piece of music I want to sing it right away, so I think I will be overcome with excitement about the possibilities in front of me / all of us after this.
I am sure it will make me want to reach higher, work harder and really, really go for it – if that’s even possible. I expect it to be a roller coaster of emotions too – which is fine, I’m up for that! The subject matter is ‘The Audacity of Why’ and for me, I’ve always been a ‘why not’ girl so bring it on TedxTeen!
Keep an eye out for Tallia’s report next week when she follows up with her favorite moments of the event!