The go-to bass player for Prince, Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck is now going it alone as a solo artist
Name: Tal Wilkenfeld
Location: Los Angeles, USA
Style: Rich and textured songwriting
Look out for: Debut album Love Remains
Having previously recorded and toured with some of music’s heavy-hitters, Prince, Mick Jagger and Jeff Beck to name just three, the time is very much here for Tal Wilkenfeld to take centre stage and share her own music with the world; and that’s exactly what she’s doing on debut album Love Remains.
Describing herself as, “A sponge,” whose influences are, “All over the map,” there’s a powerful subtlety in her songwriting which suggests to us that she has toned down some of the showier elements needed by a touring musician or the technical prowess displayed in the studio which once led to her being named ‘Most Exciting New Player’ by Bass Player Magazine. “I use restraint all the time,” says Wilkenfeld. “For me, restraint is an exciting choice, not an obligatory one. When I land upon something simple and honest, I celebrate it.”
That powerful simplicity is what drew us to her single Under The Sun, a recent On The Stereo favourite of ours. It’s a song which also made us curious to learn a little more about what fuels her creativity? “Even though my songs start from a personal place, I sometimes adapt the narrative to a fictional story in order to find a more effective way to express a point,” she says. “In some ways, it can be harder to write about something universal, because the more people you’re speaking for, the broader the stroke you paint with.”
The bold move in becoming a solo artist is just the latest from Wilkenfeld, who relocated stateside from her native Sydney when she was only 16. Yet there must still be some daunting elements when it comes to going it alone? “Artists are having to self-promote on social media, which I believe is counterintuitive to the kind of insular life that best supports the mindset for being a songwriter,” she says. “I also don’t believe artists are wired to get bombarded with instant feedback from strangers, especially when their creations are still gestating. It can kill creativity, your flow, and even your confidence.”
It’s an interesting point, which highlights the tightrope that is social media – how much should a young artist have to expose themselves in order to increase their audience base, and at what cost. But based on the reaction to Love Remains, which recently debuted at No 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart, this prodigious talent has nothing to fear… her music will do all the talking for her.
Interview: Duncan Haskell
Love Remains is out now. For all her latest news, wander on down to talwilkenfeld.com