Taali Debuts 'Powerful and Vulnerable' Video for 'Hear You Now': Premiere

Shervin Lainez
Taali

Empowerment is the theme and subject of singer and songwriter Taali's debut single "Hear You Now" and its accompanying video, premiering exclusively below.

The highly conceptual clip features Taali -- until now a songwriter and backing vocalist -- performing the song surrounded by curly-haired "guardian angels," with the track's backing vocals provided by women from a variety of occupations worldwide -- songwriters, directors, executives and attorneys. "The (Harvey) Weinstein controversy was just starting to stir as I was finishing it, lyrically," Taali (real name Talia Billig) tells Billboard. "I have quite a bit of trauma myself that I've never really felt safe enough to address; It was really wrenching, but I tried to do justice to those feelings. It's the beginnings of talking to myself rather than an on-the-nose accounting of what happened, and what I tried to do, lyrically was apologize to myself for the years I didn't have to words or strength to name or push way these people who were treating me badly.

"It was the first song I wrote where it just felt too personal. I couldn't conceive of just giving it to someone else."

"Hear You Now's" video, meanwhile -- directed by close friend Madelyn Deutch -- moves the song from Taali's internal expression to recognition of the universal issue.

"We wanted it to be both powerful and vulnerable," explains Taali, who was a house songwriter for Blue Note Records and toured with Jose James. "The guardian angels around me are supposed to be people who show you the way, through words and action, and also through the power and example of how they act. And we picked people I knew so I would be comfortable with them. And just growing up I never saw that many curly-haired women, so that end of the video is a dream come true for me. It's all these things I wish I could've seen before, and I love that we were able to achieve that."

"Hear You Now" will be part of Taali's debut album, a 12-song set planned for 2019. And she promises the rest of the material is as topical and provocative as the single. "It leans on the same sonic power as you hear (in the single) and it does address a lot of issues," says Taali, who will be opening for James later this year in Japan and is eyeballing a spring tour to promote her album. "I'm proud that my songs have become sort of corporeal, of the body. It's breaths and claps and voices and brushes of your hands. ('Hear You Now') and the entire breadth of work that will come is me coming back to my body, coming back to myself, coming back to my music and claiming it. I really love it."