WGYH Featured Artist: "I Am" Yoson Tala
At dusk, in the middle of the Mojave Desert, a man—who dedicated every part of himself to pursue and manifest his dreams as an artist—spits a testament to his life.
“I’m all I can be—I am that I am…”
On April 7, rapper & actor Yoson Tala (@yoson_tala007) released his latest single “I Am” with an accompanying music video filmed & directed by Komputer Luv (@komputer_luv). Throughout the Malcolm Flex (@xxmalcolmflexx) produced track, the close affiliate of T.A.L.A. (To All Loyal Affiliates) and GODN with Rap-A-Lot Records reminisces on his upbringing and celebrates his elevation as a musician, and as a man. The new visual features the solo artist performing the recent track on the desert outskirts overseeing the city of Las Vegas. The video shoot takes place far from his hometown of Gary, IN—& much further from where Tala’s music career began nearly a decade ago.
Like every young artist, Tala was a dreamer. In his early years of high school, Tala was a son of the streets and promising basketball recruit. It was around that time he was introduced to the music business by peers signed to his cousin’s record label, S.G.P. Records. Toward the end of his final year, Tala was left to deal with the difficult reality of not being able to play college ball. After falling back into the dilemma between street life and music, he eventually dug ten toes deep and told himself:
“‘F*ck it—I’m going to just do music. My heart’s in it, my passion’s in it, I know the business and I can still do music,’ and I just fell deeper and deeper into that,” Tala said.
Tala was a witness. After dealing with the damage of street violence in Gary firsthand, Tala desperately needed an escape. So, he decided to take a 6-month hiatus from the States and live in East London in order to focus his creative energies on music. Tala made this decision with certainty. He was introduced to tour life traveling with his music mentor, Big Zeus. Before currently serving a 14-year sentence, the “brother/father-like” figure took the young gun under his wing to teach him about the music business, touring and how to survive in the world.
“I was a witness to the things [Zeus] was doing, how he was moving through the world, traveling and then the faith he had with it...the spirit he had with it,” Tala said. “He was in control. He wasn't scared of sh*t. The things I picked up from him stuck with me, so I always pay homage to him.”
Tala is a risk-taker. Drawing inspiration from his mentor’s moves, Tala found a new passion for seeing the world. It was during his time overseas where he made crucial developments that progressed his career. He ended up making a valuable connection who helped Tala tour at music festivals, bridge a connection to fans worldwide, & opened up shows with 100K+ people for multiple A-list artists like Wiz Khalifa & Taylor Gang.
“[I had] experiences I never would have experienced in the states. Only things I was praying for. But, I knew I had to do some risky sh*t...move around...really just put myself out there and challenge myself,” Tala said.
Tala is open-minded. As a touring artist, Tala has been to 32 U.S. states and many countries overseas. Despite his many travels, Tala remembers living in London as one of the most pivotal periods that “changed [his] life forever” in many more ways than one. Not only did this open more opportunities to advance his career, but he also realized the variation of energies between other areas of the world.
“[I realized that] just by relocating where [you] live, things can move a lot smoother for [you]. You feel a lot of different energies in these different areas we live in...A lot of things are holding us back from being as great as we can be—even something as simple as where you live.”
Tala became more invested in foreign literature in his travels, which led him to discover his West African spirituality. Stepping into the light also brought more clarity to his path and purpose. Within his music, Tala aims to reflect the influence of those pearls of wisdom in his music for all to listen to.
“I like [artists] that rap about money and the things that they want to have, even if they don't have them, as opposed to every song drilling and killing, robbing and stealing. That’s not really uplifting or motivating. It just gives you dark energy,” Tala said. “I do know the power of words...They are so powerful you speak on certain things, they exist right then and there. And just about everybody hears somebody talk about something, and then it might cross their mind later after they heard you.”
Tala doesn’t settle. He has since expanded on his professional career in music and got his foot in the door as an actor in the entertainment industry, modeling & volunteering.
Taking it from someone who has given hip hop his all, Tala shares some enlightening words of advice for artists new to the game.
“Stay consistent, stay creative. You ain’t gotta aim for nobody else. If you truly yearn for it in your spirit, if you want to be that man and be that creative, be that. Whatever you’re doing, do that,” Tala said. “We all got destinies, you feel me? And once you recognize yours, stick with that sh*t. If it makes you happy, then you’re on the right path.”
For more Yoson Tala information & content—updates, music catalog, merchandise—check out www.yosontala.com for more. Go like Yoson Tala on Facebook & follow @yoson_tala007 on Instagram & Twitter.