By Kassie Parisi
GUILDERLAND— After catching the music-bug at a young age, Talia Denis has become a name on the local scene, and is generating buzz around the rest of the country as well.
Denis lived in Clifton Park for a few years, but has now moved back to Guilderland, where she was born. At just 16, her days are jam-packed, starting with workouts in the morning followed by hours of homeschooling.
Then, instead of hanging out with friends when the day is done, Denis hits her in-home recording studio to work on her music, either singing, practicing with her band or playing the piano.
Denis learned to love music through her parents, who introduced her to artists like Sarah McLachlan and Peter Gabriel. Her father and manager, Stan, bought her a small speaker and a microphone when she was a child, and Talia quickly realized she had found her calling.
“This is one of my main passions,” Denis said. “I took a big liking to music.”
Denis, who has released a four-song EP and is working on new music, said she draws inspiration from many sources. “I don’t feel like I’m getting my inspiration from a specific artist,” she said, noting that she is able to draw more into her songs from emotions more than other musicians.
Denis is no stranger to playing big crowds now, having opened shows for big names like Rusted Root and Fifth Harmony. She even headlined her own regional tour. But that wasn’t always the case. One memory that sticks with her is signing the National Anthem at Madison Square Garden for the New York Rangers.
Stepping onto the ice, she said, was extremely intimidating.
“If you haven’t sang in front of [18,000] rowdy hockey fans, it’s the loudest thing you’ll ever hear,” she said. “It was a nerve wracking experience.”
And just as Denis’s confidence has grown over the years, so has her music. When she was 10, Denis said that her songs definitely fit into the pop category. As she’s grown up though, she said that her music has now started to make the transition into the alternative world.
One genre is not better than the other, she said. Instead, it’s simply a matter of what’s moving her to make music at the time.
“As I’m maturing, my music is also maturing a little bit as well,” she said.
Denis owes her success to her ability to stay true to herself. Her father said that she was offered a record deal with a major label, but she ultimately decided not to pursue the deal due to the risk that she would have no control over her own art.
As a result, Denis has the final say in her career, from deciding what music she’s going to make next, to picking out her own merchandise.
Record deals and merchandise aside, Denis’s main goal, she said, is to connect with fans with her songs.
“I think I just want to move people with my music. That’s one of the most important things to me,” she said.“I like being being able to help people through a song.”
Denis admitted that people might not always love every aspect of her music, but she knows that she’s doing what she needs to do, and that’s what matters.
“Don’t be afraid to go the way you want to go,” she said. “You want to be able to do what you want to do. You don’t want people to stop you.”
Denis recently opened for the band Up All Night at the Jammin’ on Jay Concert Series in Schenectady. She opened for Band of Thieves on Sept. 20 at Jupiter Hall in Guilderland.