This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Talia Keys has become somewhat of a staple in the local music scene. The 31-year-old multi-instrumentalist/vocalist became known for using music to advance her political activism through funk and soul rock 'n' roll. As part of the jam-bandesque Marinade, Keys provided vocals while showcasing her incredible drumming skills. Relentless playing and networking enabled her to make incredible connections and friendships in Utah and beyond. Openly bisexual, Keys has used music to give a voice to equality and social-justice issues.
In 2014, Keys loaded up her Subaru and, with her girlfriend in tow, did a 30-day tour around the southern U.S. The experience prompted Keys to revisit her career goals. Realizing that she could more easily afford touring as a one-person band, she and Marinade parted ways. She kicked off her solo career with a 70-day tour across the East and West coasts this summer and recently released her first full-length album, "Fool's Gold." (See box for details and upcoming shows.)
Keys, who often reunites with Marinade friends and other musicians for shows, recently talked to The Tribune about making music as a solo artist, what her new goals are and why Salt Lake is a great place to make music.
I wear my heart on my sleeve, but my music is also a way to get things off my chest. The solo focus is getting my name out and traveling. The solo show is live looping – recording everything as you go. I play synthesizer, drum machine, acoustic sometimes, but mostly electric guitar. I use all of these layers to create a band sound. I started to call that Gemini Mind as a looping show. It's truly solo. Marinade and I were in a band for six years together and you build all that and build up that name and keep going for it. At one point I had to be "Talia Keys and Marinade" to try to get my name out. It just became apparent that I should do my own thing. If I put a band together for the night we'll call it Talia Keys and Friends. I don't know exactly what's in the future, but I do have the solid same players going in on these gigs with me, which is pretty cool. It's very Gemini.
Connecting with new audiences as a soloist
It's all about my delivery. If I am available and approachable and talk to the crowd, it's easier for me to connect with people. I become more vulnerable playing solo. For the most part, I get a great response. When I played [Electric Forest Music Festival in] Michigan, that's where I decided I could really pursue this music thing because besides my hometown I was having people really get into it. The crowd was putting their heart into it the way I put my heart into it. That was a really inspiring moment to say I could do this wherever I want to take it.
Love for SLC
With the touring, we played close to 50 shows in different states this summer and I love Salt Lake City. I really think we have something special in this town. There's something brewing. As much as there is negative stuff that's going on, you can see some positive out of it. You see the community [get involved]. I think there's something really cool about Salt Lake City and also some things make me really angry. There's still a fire here in Salt Lake. We're such a young city still, I don't feel like it's come and gone. There is so much potential. If you go to the Arts Festival and you go to Twilight, look what we pull off here. We have the art, we have the culture; we have a very vibrant LGBT scene here. We've got people fighting and changes happening.
The future of Talia Keys
The goals are to get this record out there to keep pushing it and play shows. I love to play live, that's what I live for is the connection. The music means a lot, but it's harder for me to connect with my music if it's just me in a room. If I get to play it for people and they are responding, I can't explain how that feels, but it's what I want to do with my life.
Talia Keys on tour
Here are three shows this month to catch Talia Keys in action, including her Gemini Mind looping project.
Nov. 17 • Gemini Mind at the Urban Lounge as part of the Save Callie Benefit Show; http://www.theurbanloungeslc.com
Nov. 20 • Talia Keys at Lighthouse Lounge in Ogden; http://www.lighthouseloungeogden.com
Nov. 25 • Talia Keys and Friends at The Depot in Salt Lake City as part of Royal Bliss' Pre-Thanksgiving Annual Bash; Smith's Tix
Details • For more information on these shows and more and to listen to "Fool's Gold," visit taliakeys.com .