FIVE FIRSTS: Talia Denis

Talia Denis
Talia Denis

NAME: Talia Denis
INSTRUMENT: Vocals/Piano

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … The first album I ever bought was Paramore’s Brand New Eyes. Although I grew up listening to several albums – mainly by Peter Gabriel, Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos – Paramore was the first band I connected with on my own. Not only were they closer to my generation, but as a young female singer, Hayley Williams became and remains one of my biggest role models. I have so many fond memories associated with Brand New Eyes, and still to this day it is one of my absolute favorites.

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … My first concert that I went to was James Taylor at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. I don’t remember much because I was so little, but I do remember us going to see him live a second time at Tanglewood when I was a year older. That show was very memorable for me because I was blowing James Taylor kisses while I was on my dad’s shoulders for the entire show. And to my surprise, in the middle of a song, James Taylor stopped playing his guitar, blew me a kiss and then went back into the song! Although it wasn’t my very first concert, it was definitely my first memorable one.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … The first musical instrument I ever owned was an 88-key keyboard. Before I became a Kawai Pianos artist in 2013, I had a Korg M50, and when I was very little my family had an upright piano.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … The first song that I ever performed in public was “World on Fire” by Sarah McLachlan. At four years old I was attending a holiday party and art show at one of the companies that my father owned. He had hired an acoustic act to perform as the entertainment. When they took a break, I asked my father if I could go up and sing a song. He tells the story like this: “When she asked if she could go up and sing I said yes, but I never thought she was actually going to do it. The next thing you know Talia walks up, grabs the mic and starts singing a Sarah McLachlan song. Everyone at the party focused their attention on Talia, and she just hammed it up and sang her heart out.” That was my first public performance and the beginning of my parents helping me to pursue my passion. I actually have a photo of me singing on that evening. A small karaoke system appeared as a Christmas gift just a week or so later. So much has happened since then…

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … was my own! In 2011, when I was 10 years old, I had my very first band made up of talented teens in high school. The first year of playing together, we performed in the Upstate New York area, and in 2012 we went on our first tour. When it came time for them to graduate high school, they went off to college to do great things. (In fact, my first guitarist, James Johnson, is currently in a great local band named Good Fiction.) I’ve had a few different variations of my band, and while I truly loved all of them, I EXTRA love my current band made up of Jake Konisky, Greg Hemmes and Tyler Knapp. They have great work ethic, we are all within a couple years of age, and especially because we have a blast together. However, without my very first band back in 2011, I don’t know if I would have developed my love and respect for the art of live performances the same way.

Talia Denis and her band play the Under the Radar show at Colony in Woodstock on Friday (January 5). Sharing the bill will be Sweet Marie and Julie Raleigh. Doors open at 7pm; showtime 8pm. Tickets are $15 in advance; $20 at the door.

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