Now officially signed to Common Ground Records, talker (whose real name is Celeste Taucher) is on the cusp of a new EP. Over the course of our interview, the alternative artist discusses her journey in music to date, including the process of breaking into the industry and signing with a record label. She’s extremely excited about her new music, which is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music (“Keep Me Safe” has just dropped!) and you can keep up with additional talker information on her social media profiles (Facebook) and (Twitter).
You just released a brand new track with Dan Sadin and The Guest and the Host called “The End of the Line.” Tell us a little bit about the track and how the collaboration came together.
Yeah! This was a really fun project to be a part of. Andrew (The Guest and the Host) has been putting together a compilation playlist of George Harrison covers and asked us to be a part of it. There are so many amazing songs that Harrison wrote and it’s such a cool project, shining a light on those songs. Dan and Andrew are both some of my closest collaborators and friends so it was really just us messing around in the studio and having fun for the sake of being creative, which was such a refreshing change of pace from always having to make something that fits your specific sound! This is one of those songs where we just kind of did it for fun and it turned out really well.
Your five-track EP released earlier this year, Horror Films, has racked up over 100,000 streams on Spotify. The tracks “Collateral Damage” and “Intimidated” are on the EP and were both released in 2018. They subsequently have the most streams on the EP. What do you think makes these tracks stand out from the others?
I think that those two songs give listeners more to hold onto, in their own ways. “Collateral Damage” is also one of my favorite songs, because it’s more of a straight-up loud rock song that you can sing along to and just blast in your car. At least that’s why I love it. “Intimidated” is a really special one for me. I wrote it by myself while I was just feeling overwhelmed and insecure, and I think that honesty and vulnerability shows in the song. Everyone feels that way at times, and you can really tell when a song was written honestly and just captures a moment and an emotion. Those are always my favorite songs from other artists, too, so I totally get why people gravitate toward it.
You have two new tracks dropping soon — “Keep Me Safe” is due in October and “Learning the Feeling” will be released in November. Can you spill some details about the songs to us?
Yes! I’m so ready. I put out the EP in February, but it honestly feels like longer because I’ve grown and changed so much since then, both musically and personally. It’s funny because I actually wrote “Keep Me Safe” almost two years ago. It was another one that I wrote on my own in my room in an emotional moment — but it didn’t really feel like it fit on Horror Films, so I never did anything with it. But I loved it, so we started playing it live and it really took on a life of its own. Now feels like the perfect time to unveil it with everything else that’s coming up. This song’s a story about anxiety and being so afraid for what’s about to come, but there’s also growth and redemption that comes with that, which you’ll hear in the next songs.
“Learning the Feeling” is the next song in that chapter and tells the story of finally owning your emotions and finding a voice after being afraid or anxious about it for so long — of course, there are a million challenges that come with that, so this song navigates those ups and downs.
Recently, you were signed to Common Ground Records, who are producing your next EP. Previously you were recording and releasing music on your own, so being signed is huge! Do you have any advice for up-and-coming artists who are trying to get signed and can you share a bit about your experience going from independent artist to signed artist? What was the process like getting signed?
Yeah, they’re so great and have been immensely supportive and helpful throughout the process! Honestly, there’s no art to getting signed. Even now as a signed artist, the landscape of the music industry has changed so much that you really still have to do a ton of stuff on your own or as partners with your team. I’m lucky in that my label is a really small unit of people who are just hustling and getting their artists heard, so it feels like a partnership and a family in a lot of ways.
But even with that, there was no specific path I took to getting signed — I just started putting music out, and they heard it through some mutual friends. They liked it enough to start coming to my shows and really let me know they wanted to work on it. There’s no specific time or specific label that’s going to be some magical end-all be-all. But if you just start working with your friends and people who believe in you, eventually that may end up with you signing a record deal, or touring, or whatever that looks like for you!
Your stage name talker is a play on your real last name, Taucher, which gets mispronounced a lot. How long did it take you to come up with the stage name and do you feel that releasing music under a moniker like that is more empowering?
The name talker had actually been floating around in my head for a while, but I thought it was too obvious. I wanted to think of some weird, edgy thing that would probably have ended up being just as much of a pain to remember as my actual name! But yes — I think ultimately releasing music under a name that feels like you is what’s important. If that ends up being your real name then great, but I think talker is simple and easy to remember, and a great embodiment of the music — and I still get to feel like it’s an homage to my real name and my background. Of course, I still ended up creating somewhat of a challenge because I decided to make it all lowercase… couldn’t make it too easy on myself.
When you’re not on stage or in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? Do you have any quirky hobbies?
I feel like that’s so rare! But I love it, so that’s a good thing. I love being outside and hiking, traveling, etc. My roommate and I got a trashy above-ground pool this summer so any chance we get, we’re out there together. I feel like when you spend so much time in a dark studio or at different venues you really start to crave being outside.
If you want something quirky, I dance for my friend’s electro-pop project Chanel and the Circus. It’s pretty much the opposite of my melodramatic emo-ness but I grew up dancing and it’s so fun — we wear glitter and costumes and you will never see me post about it on talker, but it’s great, so if you’re in LA you can come see me do that. LOL.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be in the music industry? Were you surrounded by a musical family growing up? Did you love to sing from an early age? We’d love to know!
Wanting to be in the music industry is definitely a loose term for what I do — I want to make music and perform it and connect with tons of people through it. I wish I could avoid the chaos of the industry sometimes. But I do feel super lucky to have come this far, and don’t plan to stop anytime soon. But I’ve always known I wanted to make music for a living. I feel lucky that despite how INSANE this career path is, I have always known what I wanted, or at least had a good idea of it. My parents are both musical and really encouraged me to pursue music, which not everyone experiences. My dad was the one who actually started teaching me piano at a young age, and my mom is a singer — plus they’re both huge music fans, so I was always surrounded by music. I feel super grateful for that!
When you’re writing a song, do you usually create a melody first or do you write the lyrics first? Do you find it easier to write a song by yourself or with other people?
It really depends on the song! Sometimes I’ll have a lyric idea or I’ll think of a cool concept, and sometimes a melody line will come to me while I’m playing guitar. But it’s always different. I find that if I’m really feeling something, I prefer to write alone just to kind of blurt out my feelings, but writing with others is really helpful when I’m stuck on something — plus it’s just fun to make music with my friends. But I can confidently say that none of the songs were created in exactly the same way, which I think makes them all really authentic and honest.
Do you have any upcoming shows that fans can keep an eye out for?
Yes! I’ll be playing a single release show in Los Angeles at the Hi Hat on Wednesday, November 13. It’s free so anyone in the area (21+) can come cry with me.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that we might not have touched on?
I’m just really, really, really excited to put out all this new music and really delve into this next era of myself and my music. I’m prouder of this work than anything I’ve ever done.
Featured Image: Shabnam Ferdowski