She’s a little person, but Talia Denis has a big opportunity in the making.
The 10-year-old town girl has a deal with two New York City music producers and is recording her first four-song EP with professional musicians.
“Yesterday she laid down some more vocal tracks,” said her father, Stan Denis. “She probably has one or two more days in the studio.”
It will be ready in April or May.
The brunette is small for her age and sings with the pure voice of a child. Talia is home-schooled along with her 4-year-old brother, Lawton, by their parents, Stan and Kimberly Denis. Part of her early schooling included watching a live concert performance on DVD every week.
“I just exposed her to as much music as possible,” Stan Denis said.
After watching those performances, Talia decided at age 4 that she wanted to perform, too.
“I was inspired by it, and it made me really want to do it,” she said after watching the performances by Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Selena Gomez and Paramore. “They looked like they were really having fun.”
Her parents gave her a karaoke machine, and she started performing informally at a few events.
“She’s been fearless her whole life, amazingly,” Denis said.
Then the family decided to put her talent out there and see what happened.
They recorded a demo of her singing a song written for her by a family friend, Brian Mansell, a Hudson Falls native. Called “This Time,” it is still posted on YouTube, but will go down when her website goes live on March 1, her father said. The web address is www.taliadenis.com, and although it’s still under construction, people can sign up to be on Talia’s fan list.
“We reached out to the music community, basically,” Denis said. “We just put the word out that we were looking for the next step for Talia’s career.”
Producers Zak Soulam and Mike Visceglia contacted the family; they met in New York City in October and struck a production deal. It’s not a record deal, Denis said. Most musicians don’t get their start with a record deal right away, but get producers and shop the recording to record companies or promote it themselves.
“I’m not sure what we’re going to do yet,” he said.
He’s really pleased with the high quality professionals.
“These guys are absolutely straight shooters and just great guys,” Denis said.
So far, he’s working as her manager, but he’s still her dad.
That means she’ll be allowed, at most, to perform two nights a week during the summer. It means he vets her outfits.
“A lot of it is ridiculous for a 10- or 11-year-old,” he said of girls’ performing clothes.
And he picks the songs.
“I immediately threw out any songs that had anything to do with love and relationships, going out, being sassy,” he said. “I know that’s not the norm in the pop world.”
He hopes her songs appeal to preteens and young teenagers.
“The music is pretty rockin’, but the fact that she’s got a little voice limits her demographic a little bit,” Denis said.
Talia had her biggest stage performance Feb. 15 in New York, when she and her dad watched a performance of some of the musicians she had recorded with. They spotted her in the audience and called her on stage, where they played Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” while Talia sang.
She’s able to stay cool in part because of her gymnastics training, which is 16 hours a week at World Class Gymnastics Academy in Latham.
“That’s really helped her music,” Denis said. “She’s got really thick skin.”
Denis also has his foot in the music and performing industries.
He owns a business called Voices for All, a voice-over education company. He’s getting ready next month to start a rock music school for children in Clifton Park, called Modern Day Music’s Rock School.
Located in Clifton Park Center across from Starbuck’s, it will teach youngsters music from a rock and pop perspective rather than a classical one, and they’ll learn to play rock instruments.