Photos by Nick Rasmussen
Interview: Talia Mayden New Song/Video Release for “Prettiest Girl in L.A.”
By Iesha Rowan
Sometimes you’re provided opportunities to speak with a fantastic artist. This is one of those opportunities. Talia Mayden has “it”. Whatever “it” is, she has an abundance of it. Charisma, charm, attitude, and talent, talent, talent. Her ambitious take on life and music is contagious and will catapult her into the charts. Iesha from Habari entertainment took a few minutes to ask some questions about the future superstar’s upcoming video release produced by K Factor Films for Talia Mayden’s new song, “Prettiest Girl In LA”. The video is directed by Sundance award-winning director, Giselle Bonilla. The music video is a fun take on the pressure and inevitable vanity that comes with being a woman in LA. We all know that LA women have essentially impossible standards to live up to physically and this video/song sheds a refreshing and hilarious new light on the issue as a whole.
First off, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. We love your voice and the soulful sound and aura of your music. The video for “Prettiest girl in L.A” is beautifully shot and filled with a fun take on such a sore subject.
Iesha – Coming from Nashville and moving to L.A. you’ve lived in two musical legendary cities. In which ways did growing up in Nashville mold your musical career?
Talia – Growing up in Nashville is like learning songwriting through osmosis. I’ve seen so many shows that are just the songwriter and their guitar up there. It’s always been clear to me that if you can’t sell a song with just you and your guitar, you’re not the real deal.
Iesha – With Country music always being steeped in tradition, women have usually struggled to hit the airwaves as much as their male counterparts. What are some of the old customs of Country music are you trying to break?
Talia – Sure, women have historically had a hard time getting popular radio play in country music, but I don’t really subscribe to the notion that there is an accessibility issue with hearing women in Country music. You just have to know where to look, and it’s not going to be popular radio or, like, the CMAs. So if that’s where you’re getting your country, change the dial! Country music gets a bad rap. Regarding what traditions I’m trying to break– none. Country, traditionally, is not all beers and jean shorts and tractors. I’m not reinventing the wheel here. I just want to write good songs.
Iesha – listening to this lovely song, “Prettiest girl in L.A”, and I can’t call it a country song. What genre exactly would this track fall under? Or do you care about being labeled as an artist?
Talia – You’re right, the production doesn’t scream country. I guess I’d call it songwriter-Liz-Phair-sun-drenched-y2k-realness? This might be categorically incorrect but if I write a song on my acoustic guitar, I call it country.
Iesha – The video for “Prettiest girl in L.A” touches on such a hot button topic as the impossible physical standards we as women face. This seems to be a topic you love to write about. What were some of the challenges you have faced in the music industry with pressure to look or act a certain way? And how did you handle the situation?
Talia – Yeah, I write a lot about my experience in my physical body. The friction I’ve experienced in this realm has come more from dating than from the music industry, but perhaps I’m too new to music to get that kind of pushback. I will say, though, that the way I look is seldom an accident. I think the video touches on this. I know exactly how to rise to the standard that society expects of me. Double-edged sword.
Iesha – The video is directed by Sundance award-winning director, Giselle Bonilla What was it like working with her? And what was the process for creating the concept of the video?
Talia – I met Giselle years ago because we both had films at the LA Short Film Fest. Hers was the only good one. We listened to the song together a bunch of times, I threw out the word “lobotomy”, which we liked. Then I went off the rails. At one point, I was trying to get us to stream a live (fake) lobotomy on OnlyFans, then use the income generated from that event to fund post-production. Props to Giselle for walking that road with me before gently turning us back on course. She is hardcore, the real deal. She really wanted to roll the wheelchair off of a cliff in Malibu, which left us ducking and rolling to hide from Malibu park rangers. Oh, also, we ended at a sex doll brother at one point for “research”. Very scary stuff. I feel so lucky to have gotten in on the ground floor with Giselle. We are not worthy.
Iesha – The Awesome nurse for the video was a terrific choice. How fun was it filming those scenes?
Talia – The nurse was played by my good friend Conor McGrath! It was his first time in full drag, can you believe it? A true natural. We had so much fun although we were sweating our asses off. My heels were impossible to walk in so Conor was rolling me around the streets of Los Feliz in that wheelchair.
Iesha – We really loved the video and hope people gravitate toward this beautiful song. What exactly do you want listeners to take from this track and the visual concepts of the video?
Talia – I hope viewers just feel a shred of recognition with the video. Of course, it’s ludicrous and funny, and that’s Giselle’s magic touch. I once talked to a man in New York about the women he knows in LA, and how he finds them to be more shallow than women elsewhere. I remember thinking, sure, if you think having lip injections precludes you from having depth, I guess that makes sense? It’s a lazy take. I hope this video effectively satirizes that notion.
Iesha – Good luck to you and your future endeavors. Thank you again for speaking with us.
We really appreciated speaking with Talia. She is definitely a future star in country music. The music video is amazing and we cannot wait for the full release. We’re now huge fans of Talia and will keep an eye on her career, we suggest you do the same. Her music talent is remarkable, the ability to write, play music and she has an undeniably beautiful voice. Here is a link to her Spotify,
Take a listen to the track “Prettiest Girl In LA” here – (Not the video)