Standard Sounds

Q&A: Tara Lily Takes Sky Beach

It’s Tara Lily’s world—we’re just living in it.

If you don’t know the name Tara Lily, you’re about to. The rising star from South London stopped by Sky Beach to dazzle us under the stars on April 9, which happens to be her birthday. She made the appearance as a highlight of her Asia Tour 2024, supporting her debut album Speak in the Dark. We caught up with Tara to talk heritage, artistry and her collabs with Gucci and Nike Yoga. And nope, she’s not afraid of heights.

Your upbringing in Peckham as part of a British-Bengali family seems to have deeply influenced your musical journey. How do you think this fusion of cultures has shaped your unique sound? 

Growing up with a multitude of music, including global sounds, I think has always kept me very open in the way I see music and the world. It’s given me a unique perspective on music and how to work with different sounds. From studying jazz, weaving in elements of Hindustani (North Indian classical), and my continued interest in electronic music from a physical perspective, i.e., synths and hardware, my music is a journey and is always encompassing my interests, experiences, and influences.

Your debut album Speak In The Dark is hotly anticipated. What can listeners expect to hear?

My debut album—listeners can expect more of an experimental sound but with elements of my old music. It's my first album, so it's more of a journey than previous projects.

Your latest single, 'Double Time,' showcases a darker lyrical era and a more electronic sound. What inspired this shift in direction?

Through playing and exploring electronic sounds from a physical/live music perspective—playing piano, electronic pianos—and then last year I got a Prophet Rev 2 which took me deeper into the electronic space. Also, touring Asia a lot last year, I worked with more electronic musicians and different live setups.

"My sound is very niche, and not everyone understands or values it, so being supported by tastemakers has given me some confidence that what I’m doing is good."

Last Flight Out seems deeply rooted in movement, freedom, travel, immigration, and love. Tell us about the creative process behind it? 

Last Flight Out was my second EP. My first EP was Lost in London, which really explores my upbringing in London as a young person trying to find my way. Last Flight Out is then more me exploring my own cultural identity through sound and image—working on blending sounds from South Asia with R&B and Jazz. 

Collaborating with brands like Gucci and Nike YOGA must feel major. How do you decide which brands to align your sound with?

I usually work with brands that align creatively with what I’m doing at the time. For example, Nike YOGA—I have been studying Kundalini yoga in India and working on developing a new project which explores the relationships between ancient Indian meditation and spiritual jazz through improvisation.

What does support from luminaries like (the late genius) Virgil Abloh and Gilles Peterson mean to you—personally, professionally?

I think having support from these luminaries has meant a lot to me. My sound is very niche, and not everyone understands or values it, so being supported by tastemakers has given me some confidence that what I’m doing is good.

As you delve deeper into your South Asian heritage, how do you balance preserving your roots with pushing boundaries to create something innovative?

I think I’m always going to push boundaries and explore things in an unconventional way just in the fact of drawing from my surroundings—having a mixed British-South Asian heritage and growing up my whole life in South London in and around genres like jazz/soul/electronica.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Bangkok? One of my favorite things to do in Bangkok is visit temples, eat local North Thai food, and ride motorbikes. I have ADHD, so I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie.

Are you afraid of heights?

I’m not afraid of heights, and Sky Beach deffo gave me a good hit.



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