Having moved back to New Zealand from the UK some two years ago, Tali is enjoying the beauty of its North Shore. Of course during this time, things have continued to move at the speed of light for the first lady of drum and bass – but there is much more to this well-oiled machine than just beats. Now Tali is doing many different things, including producing music with a decidedly simpler, chilled out vibe. RK talks to the woman who still owns the microphone ahead of her gig at Villa, Saturday, May 31.

“I have still been enjoying the opportunity to produce my own music over the last couple of years,” she explains. “And this year will see the release of my fifth studio album and my first completely solo effort.” As well as that, Tali has been involved with plenty of collaborations with producers in New Zealand also – and has been hitting up mics up and down the country at all the major festivals, as well as playing gigs in Australia, the UK, Russia, Japan and America since her return home.

The lass has also scored a radio show on George FM (the biggest electronic music station in the country) and started Sheppard Artist Development, a kind of mentoring business that helps create links between independent artists and the music industry. “This involves everything from advice and guidance, to helping write songs, vocal produce and develop the artist’s brand,” she chimes. “I love the idea of being able to give something back to our industry. It is also hopefully setting myself up for a position in music for the future – and one that doesn’t just involve being an artist!”

Musically, Tali professes she has a new album coming out that is a fusion of what she refers to as an ‘electro soul meets gangsta jazz’ as it melds together all of her biggest inspirations. The LP is to be called Wolves and is the first project where she has produced all the beats and written and recorded everything herself.

And indeed, being a woman in a male dominated world hasn’t always been easy, but the MC has afforded herself the protection required to stand the test of time. “I allow myself to be more feminine and gentle these days,” she reflects, “but when I was around a lot of boys either DJing or MCing in the past, I felt like I had to have a bit of a front and be staunch in order to protect myself. Nowadays I couldn’t care less about that. I’ve earned my place in the history books so have nothing to prove – and being back in NZ, I am working around a lot more women in the scene, which is so refreshing.”

Finally, Tali describes how much fun she’s had down under during her travels over the last decade and shares a few words on what her fans can expect: “It has always been good times, good vibes and heaps of energy. I freestyle when I MC so I mostly just sing about whatever I am feeling or getting off of the crowd at that moment. I will always bust out some of my ‘set’ rhymes because its fun for the crowd to rhyme along to, but for the most part I just go with wherever my mind wants to take me. I think I consciously try to lift the crowd and leave them feeling really happy, so I give a lot of positivity and love out when I am MCing through my words.”

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