Music

How alt-pop artist Tally Spear is using music to explore all-too-familiar queer confusion

Lily Wakefield June 14, 2021
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Queer alt-pop artist Tally Spear

Queer alt-pop artist Tally Spear. (Jay Rabanal)

Up-and-coming queer alt-pop artist Tally Spear was just five years old when she started writing songs.

Growing up in a very “musical household”, with an actor mother and musician father, Spear told PinkNews that writing songs came naturally to her.

“I’ve got a brother that’s 12 years older than me who had a punk metal band, so when I was a baby, I grew up listening to a lot of heavy music,” she said.

“I started writing when I was very young. I was always obsessed with writing poetry. From the age of five, I wrote stories and poems… then it went onto music.”

She stresses she wasn’t a “writing prodigy” at five years old, laughing as she describes writing about “the dog, the grass, anything”.

Now 25, her writing inspiration has moved on, and she uses her music to express the confusion about her identity that is relatable to so many in their 20s.

“My music is about confusion in various different ways, and I think that my sexuality is something that has been confusing,” she said.

“There’s such pressure label yourself and figure out what you are. Because I’m so, like, in-between, I struggled to find a label.

“I think what comes out in my music is an ambiguous way of dealing with that.”

She added: “I love the word ‘queer‘ because it’s an umbrella term that doesn’t limit anybody at all.”

Spear said the dark and emotional songs on her debut EP Tally, released last year, were all about “dealing with the fact that I find it difficult to know exactly who I am”.

Her song “Can’t Find What I’m Looking For” was written, she said, “around the time where I was struggling to figure out who I wanted to be and, in terms of my sexuality, who I wanted to date”.

She continued: “Another song is called ‘What Do I Want?’ Like, it’s all very much a question mark… Trying to figure out who I am in my sexuality is definitely a big theme in my music, but I like keeping it kind of ambiguous, never outright saying it, because it lets people put their own stamp on what I’m referring to.”

By dealing with queer confusion through her song-writing, and with support from the LGBT+ community around her, Spear said: “It’s been a progressive realisation that actually, I don’t need to know exactly what it is I am. I don’t need to label myself as anything.”

Tally Spear. (Halestorm PR)

Tally Spear wants to use her platform to advocate for veganism

The queer community isn’t the only one that has embraced Tally Spear – passionately plant-based, she has also found fans in the vegan community.

“I was raised as a vegetarian,” she explained.

“My parents have been vegetarian since the 70s, my brother and I have never, ever eaten meat. Within the last six years we’ve all gone vegan.”

As well as playing venues like Ronnie Scott’s and BST Festival in Hyde Park, Spear has also performed at the Vegan Camp Out Festival, supporting rapper Akala.

She continued: “Veganism is such a big part of my life and who I am. It’s not a diet or a fad for me, it’s a way of living.

“Your choices can also be vegan, in terms of the clothing that you buy, the companies you support and buy from, and your interests… I was taught when I was little that animals are like us, and we are animals. We don’t eat our friends.”

“I want to shout out about it as much as possible,” she added, “and have it be very much part of me as an artist.”

Spear’s new single “When Nobody’s Around” is out now.

Related topics: coming out, Queer, veganism

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