SJ Talbot is a 23-year-old pop artist from Clontarf, in the capital city of Dublin, Ireland. Her songs feature deep, soulful vocals, intelligently paired with high-calibre pop production. At an early age, Talbot was enrolled in musical theatre school, and went onto study at BIMM Dublin, graduating in 2020. No stranger to the Irish music scene, she has worked as a session singer and keyboardist for various acts over the last four years. In 2017, she began producing her own music, and developing her individual sound. In September 2020, she released her well received indie-pop influenced debut single, “Envy”, followed up in April 2021 by an acclaimed collaboration with Chris Short, ‘Flint & Steel’, and her second solo single, ‘Easy for Me’, in 2022.
All signs show SJ Talbot to be ready to make her own remarkable contribution to the current Irish springtime in contemporary pop.
Some of SJ Talbot’s life-long influences include Duffy, Amy Winehouse and Nina Simone. Her music is inspired by indie-pop, electronic-pop and disco, and is reminiscent of the work of Agnes, GRACEY, CHIC & Nile Rodgers, La Roux, and Dua Lipa.
Florence and the Machine - Howl
One of my favourite bands ever, Florence and the Machine’s song ‘Howl’ has had a huge impact when I began to take myself seriously as a songwriter. I was drawn to the intensity in the arrangement in this song, the power in the pounding drums and the sliding strings that compliment Florence’s angelic vocals so well. The imagery of nature Florence uses in this song is so enchanting and the clever use of dynamics in her voice to portray her storytelling became hugely inspirational to me as I progressed.
London Grammar - Non Believer
London Grammar’s music really taught me the beauty in occupying space in pop songs and how to play around with different phrasing. I’ve always been a massive fan of theirs and ‘Non Believer’ achieves a beautiful balance of electro pop, vocoder moments and stunning layers of Hannah Reid’s naked vocals. They really know how to make beautiful pop music which I aspire to do also!
Amy Winehouse - Tears Dry On Their Own
Amy Winehouse is one of my favourite vocalists of all time. This song especially had a huge impact on my own vocal sound when training, as I’ve always strived to achieve that deep, sultry tone. Her timbre interweaves beautifully with the rest of the arrangement in ‘Tears Dry Of Their Own’. I just love the attitude and character she can achieve so effortlessly that makes her such an incredible storyteller as well as an incredible vocalist.
HAIM - Now I’m In It
I’ve always been a massive fan of HAIM and this song inspired the soundscape for my latest single ‘Millisecond’. I loved the driving element of the percussion and their iconic use of interweaving vocal harmonies as well as the balance of indie pop and electro/ synth pop. The interchanging rhythms and use of countermelodies are so interesting and instantly made me want to try writing a song like it!
Emily King - Remind Me
One of my biggest inspirations in songwriting, ‘Remind Me’ is an incredible, anthemic electronic pop song that encouraged me to delve into the brighter side of pop writing. This song depicts coming out of the ‘darkness’ of heartbreak to find someone that reminded them of what happiness and freedom feels like. The song is instant serotonin and her use of wordplay has impacted my more upbeat, passionate tracks as of late.
GRACEY - If You Loved Me
GRACEY is one of my favourite up and coming pop artists at the moment and ‘If You Loved Me’ is a beautifully written ballad that still makes you want to sway along to it. Her use of vocoders in the chorus has notes of Imogen Heap and Bon Iver whom I take huge inspiration from also. Her candid lyricism and wordplay in this song is so impressive to me and taught me a lot about balancing symbolism and emotion in pop writing.
Dua Lipa - Levitating
Dua’s 'Future Nostalgia’ album definitely had a massive influence on how my songwriting styles began to develop. The fusion of disco, funk and pop in the production is next level. I was so hooked on ‘Levitating’ and how passionate and fun it sounds throughout, and it inspired me to take a more tongue-and-cheek approach towards my lyric writing. The punchiness of the chorus also makes me want to move instantly every time I hear it.
Adele - Hometown Glory
Hometown Glory is one of the first songs I learned how to play on piano and I’ve always been truly gripped by the emotion in this song. Another big vocal inspiration to me growing up, Adele’s depth and use of dynamics in this song is truly magical. This song also touches on adolescence and nostalgia wonderfully, and this has been a reoccurring theme in my own songs over the last few years.
Agnes - Release Me
‘Release Me’ was a big reference track I used when I started delving into my dance-pop songwriting era. I remember dancing to this with my childhood friends while watching MTV and loved the triumphant feel to it. The build from the steady lock and groove in the pre chorus to this sweet, passionate, string-filled disco pop chorus is just impossible not to dance to.
Taylor Swift - Wildest Dreams
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Taylor Swift is on this list! I remember when I first heard ‘Wildest Dreams’ and was instantly entranced by it. I love the cinematic soundscapes in it and heartbeat percussion that drive the entire song. Her lyricism is next level and is the easiest to sing along to. This song taught me a lot about building a story around a passionate hook as well as implementing different pulses and phrasing onsets between song sections.