Talia Goddess’ Afropunk Diary

Letting V in on her hometown performance, the singer shares the key to commanding a New York crowd, musical influences, and her upcoming single “EVERYBODY LOVES A WINNER”

With a captivating presence only a Brooklyn-native could bring to their hometown stage, multi-hyphenate singer-songwriter-DJ Talia Goddess is saying goodbye to an iconic Afropunk weekend with nothing but good memories. Nearly a year after the release of her debut EP, Poster Girl, the 20-year-old brought the city crowd to life with her soulful, electric R&B—showing off the newest addition to her track list with recent single “RAGGA,” an upbeat dance track with a Caribbean heart. Announcing an upcoming drop as her stream-count steadily rises, Talia shares with V a behind-the-scenes look at her energized performance, and just how she ended up here.

Photo by @gabesuniverze

“New York is probably one of the toughest crowds ever,” the singer shares. “I think it’s because we see so much and are always stimulated, so it takes a lot to impress and move New Yorkers.” Luckily, this is a task Goddess is ready to tackle. Goddess has no trouble commanding the attention of a crowd when it’s her turn on the stage— it’s in her blood. Between her DJ father and singer mother, Talia’s upbringing was nothing but creative—dancing in talent shows with her brother and making music by the time she was 9.

Performing arts high school was where the artist honed in on her vocal craft, finishing beats before homework assignments and uploading her songs onto SoundCloud. Making her way around NYC with unreleased music and a slowly growing confidence, the artist set out on a journey that would reveal itself to be a boundless upward trajectory. “To come this far so young is affirming my belief in myself and what I’m capable of, as well as my talents and skills,” Goddess explains. “It’s a testament to what is possible once you are consistent and dedicated to something you really believe in.”

Keep reading below for more on our chat with Talia Goddess and her Afropunk debut!

V MAGAZINE: Congrats on the amazing Afropunk performance! You’ve been quite busy over the past few weeks, performing and releasing your latest single “RAGGA”. What was the inspiration behind the track? 

TALIA GODDESS: My inspiration for “RAGGA” was the intention to make a new-age dancehall fusion record, pulling from my Caribbean roots and being a first generation native New Yorker. I wanted to make a feel-good dance track targeted towards nightlife, being fly, and having fun, with a popping music video to match. 

V: How did it feel performing the song live for one of the first times? Did you go into it with any nerves and if so, how did you overcome them?

TG: It was dope translating the song to a live band performance. It accentuated my production, giving it a bigger sound, which was exciting. I don’t get nervous to perform, in fact, I’m eager and aim to be fully present in each moment of the performance.                       

V: Being from Brooklyn, what was it like performing in your home borough, especially on such a big platform like Afropunk? Did you feel any pressure in doing your borough proud?

TG: Performing in Brooklyn felt like home. I know my city very well, and I feel very comfortable to exude my New York energy and swag. It definitely felt like a moment to represent myself and my city, as there were many artists from different parts of the world that hit the stage as well. Being born and raised in New York, which is also such a multicultural city, it felt right to be there and to have the range of the musical catalog that I do. 

V: What was the atmosphere like during your performance?

TG: The audience was very engaged and captivated, and it was nice to see my friends and loved ones in the crowd as well. My band was excited, I was excited, it was good vibes all around.

Photo by @gabesuniverze

V: Do New York crowds feel different energy-wise than other cities you’ve performed in? If so, in what ways?

TG: New York is probably one of the toughest crowds ever. I think it’s because we see so much and are always being stimulated, so it takes a lot to impress and move New Yorkers, which is a challenge I succeed at. 

V: Do you have any pre-show rituals? How do you prepare before you head out to perform?

TG: I don’t usually have time to do a full routine, but I always make sure my breath is fresh before going on the mic. I have water, my lips are moisturized, and my mood is calibrated beforehand, regardless of what was going on before.           

V: What do you love most about performing? What do you feel when you are on stage?

TG: I love the ability to move or captivate a crowd, it feels like a superpower. I love to entertain, I love to show my talents. When I’m on stage my mind is blank, there isn’t a conscious observance of my mood or mental state. I am merely and wholly engulfed in the musical performance.                       

V: With it being your first time at Afropunk, what did you enjoy most about the experience? How would you say it has helped you grow as an artist or even in your personal life?

TG: I enjoyed how Black and stylish it was, from the guests to the staff. It was a learning lesson of what to expect as I progress in my musical career and makes me excited for what’s to come.                       

V: What’s next for you? Is there a forthcoming single/project that we can keep an eye out for? 

TG: I have an upcoming single titled “EVERYBODY LOVES A WINNER” dropping soon, and a few more singles coming as well, while also working on my album here in London.

V: Can you share what themes you plan to explore in this forthcoming single?

TG: “EVERYBODY LOVES A WINNER” speaks a bit to my interactions with others and how they change as I progress and gain more success in my career. I am able to recognize genuine people from opportunists, and not only am I claiming my power, I am also warding off the fakes and acknowledging the real.       

Photo by Lea Raymond

V: Can you share a bit about your upbringing and how you found your way to music? Was it something that you were immersed in growing up in Brooklyn?

TG: I grew up in a musical household, and was engaged in the arts from age 6, dancing in local talent shows with my brother. After getting a keyboard and piano lessons, I began to delve into music production and songwriting as a means of creating my own songs and finding a way to express myself.

V: Who would you say are some of your earliest musical influences? How have they influenced your sound today?

TG: My earliest musical influences are Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Lauryn Hill, Willow Smith, and Rihanna. Their level of individualism and musicianship was something I admired and enjoyed listening to. Their sound was never the same, which was refreshing and enthralling.

V: What’s your ultimate goal with the music you create? What stories are you trying to tell, what message do you want to send?

TG: My goal is to inspire others to be the best and truest versions of themselves. I am telling stories from my own life, things I’m working through, things I feel, strengths and weaknesses, in all its fluidity and volatility.                          

V: Take us through your journey, when did you start making music? What was it like creating those first few songs as an independent artist?

TG: I started making music when I was 9 years old. I didn’t have much to say or much experience in life, so a lot of the lyrical composition was PG rhymes about being the cool, smart kid in school. I made a lot of beats which was the main attraction for me, and there was so much to learn! I spent most of my days after school and summer break making beats and songs, often putting schoolwork secondary. Going to a performing arts high school helped me define my creative outlet, and elevated my thinking as well as composition quality to the intention of one day releasing, not just making music for myself. I started putting songs on SoundCloud, all while performing unreleased songs around NYC, and slowly I started to find my sound and the confidence to release music officially.               

V: Looking back on that journey can you share what it means to have come this far, and take the stage at Afropunk? 

TG: To come this far so young is affirming my belief in myself and what I’m capable of, as well as my talents and skills. It took a long time to develop my craft, so it does feel very validating and also gives me more credibility as I continue to make moves and gain more traction. Even greater, it is a testament to what is possible once you are consistent and dedicated to something you really believe in. I am enjoying the process and journey, and cherishing each step of the way.

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