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Hope Tala – D.T.M.

What happens when you combine the warmth of R&B/neo-soul with the addictive groove of Bossa Nova, a sprinkle of smooth vocals reminiscent of D’Angelo, and a dash of William Shakespeare-esque poetic wisdom? None other than West-Londoner songwriter and artist, Hope Tala who’s cooking up inspirational creative concoctions fit for a new generation of genre-bending listeners.

Though a relative newcomer to the pop world, Hope boasts an innate knack for songwriting, synthesizing genres that mold rich melodies with thoughtful lyricism. An academic and avid reader, Hope didn’t initially intend to pursue music as a career. Penning her first song for her A-level subject-based exams, though immediately falling in love with the writing and recording process, she went onto study English literature at the University of Brussels, with an option to pursue a masters degree post-graduation.

After gaining some traction following her feature on Beats 1 radio via designer and director, Mikey Alfred and Pharrell Williams, she decided to pursue music as a career releasing her freshman EP, Starry Ache in 2018. Thus far, 2019 has seen the release of two more luscious singles from Hope, the self-coined “RnBossa” track titled “Lovestained” and breakup song with a healthy twist, “D.T.M.” (June 5).

“D.T.M.” is an acronym for “Don’t Tell Me” and is inspired by the perspective of the “heartbreaker.” Hope’s intention behind the song is to challenge the myth that the party initiating a breakup is always apathetic toward their former love. The listener may feel like a fly on the wall, eavesdropping on a vulnerable conversation. Lyrics highly relatable to many, Hope expresses “Don’t tell me I’m too harsh for you / Don’t tell me that you never see me cry / Goodbye / I wept when we said goodbye / Don’t tell me that I’m mean to you / Don’t ask me how I can be so cruel / Stop playing the fool / You know it hurts me too.”

The lyrics complemented by a relaxed groove and Hope’s blissful vocals, she slides through melismatic runs, her voice honeyed and controlled. A head-bob-worthy rhythm, combined with a gorgeous R&B melody over tropical guitar riffs and cheeky sprinkles of quirky electronic production, the track feels nostalgic yet playfully fresh. An apparent force to be reckoned with, keep your eyes and ears peeled for more Hope Tala in the very near future.

Jessica Thomas