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Rising Stars: Meet Lady Frequency

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lady Frequency.

Hi Lady, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I don’t really remember my first moment with music deeply. I guess it was a gradual build of discovery into a great lifetime friend I found for myself. I think it was my mother who saw some sort of musical power in me. I remember she volunteered to be a choir director at my elementary school and I (I think reluctantly) was automatically placed in the choir. We performed a few shows though I don’t remember if it was something that I deeply enjoyed. I remember being deathly afraid of the stage and being in front of people. We had a piano in the house and I remember I introduced myself to her around 11 years old, maybe earlier… but not so formally. I started to play piano and make up little melodies and sing with it. Something about piano really drew me in. It was almost an instinctive and exciting feeling to have all the keys laid out in front of you and to have a world of sound possibility right there, wherever you choose to lay your fingers. I had a lot of trouble with school and dealt with bad ADD. School was not something easy for me and I found it very difficult to concentrate on any task or for my brain to follow certain rigid rules on subjects. I think that’s something that brought me to piano, music, and singing. 

There were no rules (in my mind) and I could create something from nothing in just a few minutes that could forever stay with me. My mom was always telling me I should go and try vocal lessons. I was reluctant at first and eventually found a wonderful lady by the name of Soli who changed my life forever. I believe I started going to vocal lessons around the age of 14? I’m very bad with remembering ages… Soli was my second music/human support in my life, aside from my parents. I did not learn things so formally from her, instead she allowed people to be themselves and show their voice and music while also trying to help nurture and elevate. She never wanted to change what I came in with, rather to help carry it. Soli introduced me to Etta James, Amy Winehouse, and other soul singers as weekly projects to work on. “At Last” was the first song I ever sang fully, then it was “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse. She is a woman with so much love and so many special words of wisdom as a woman with an incredible and adventure-filled background in music. She was true and beautiful authenticity to me and I learned from that and I was lifted from that. At one point, she thought that since I wrote and played so much on piano that maybe it was time I start to study piano from her as well. I think we tried for a few weeks and it was not working for me so much. I really had a lot of difficulty studying music with books and rules. I wouldn’t do the practices. We didn’t speak of it again. I saw Soli until I was around 16 years old. 

By then, we were old friends and our brief 30-minute lessons were filled with deep talks and laughter. I wanted to stay forever. But I knew I couldn’t. It was quite hard to stop the lessons though we both knew it was time for me to keep flying on. I remember crying and I know that she did too when she read my goodbye letter. I was deathly shy as a young girl and even as a teenager. I had received some social rejection from this and was always known as the “quiet girl” and because of this I was considered weird to many and was once kicked out of my own group of girlfriends in middle school for this reason. However, it was even more vulnerable to sing in front of others, especially music I was writing. It was hard for me to feel quite safe socially and Soli created that space for me during that time. I opened up to her in ways I never did with anyone before. I played her my songs and she granted me the safety to open up and grow. I have seen her a few times since but not as much as I’d like. For reasons I have yet to discover, I start to cry when I think of her and in my after-visits to her. It is quite emotional for me… Towards the end of high school, I met a guy a few years older than me in which we started to play music together. This was my first introduction to collaborating in music and also collaborating in intimate relationships. Something that was very new and very scary to me. My music up until that point was something very vulnerable and intimate between myself and the piano. I was also writing a bit on guitar at that time. Music was really my therapy. I was discovering it to be a way to translate my thoughts and feelings into a more tangible form. I struggle with words often and how to articulate myself and I found it to be much more natural to create music from my feelings.

So I initially met this person as an introduction from my mother actually to start playing music with other people who were also looking for the same thing. So I met this guy and after some time we started to share our musical works with each other and eventually started to write songs together. He was playing guitar mostly at that time. We started to combine our skills together and write. We also started to open up to each other more and more along the process and found that we were falling and flying into another realm of intimacy. Fast forward, I was with him for four years. During that time, I lived a lot of life and a lot of music. We started a few bands together and performed all around our hometown and LA. I was collaborating with more musicians and meeting so many different people; oftentimes a bit older than I was because of his connections. I made a lot of beautiful connections with a lot of different people and gained knowledge through knowing people from all different ages and backgrounds. That’s when I was also introduced to more eclectic music such as Jazz and old school R&B, Funk, etc… I was learning about a lot of music I had never heard before from other people. My whole artistry changed when I discovered the cross between Jazz and R&B that is now mostly called Neo-Soul. That was my new world along with old-school R&B, Jazz, and Funk. We would put on art shows and music shows as well. I remember I created an event one night that included local bakers, artists, fashion designers, and musicians. I truly experienced so many things and learned from so many different kinds of people of all ages. I grew. But I also struggled a lot with my music and myself. I was finding the combination of working at music together and a romantic relationship to be quite a struggle and a bit suffocating at times. It was challenging for me to write music with another person, sometimes even two other people. I couldn’t think right, sometimes it felt like too much pressure, and it was starting to feel inauthentic to me. I was used to writing my own music and really when I had something to write about. Really when I was crying at the piano and I had no words or didn’t quite know how to organize my thoughts yet. It was then that I could write, truly, from my heart. And that’s all I ever wanted and all I ever want.

As time went on, bands became difficult with different visions and personalities and things fell apart in some ways. I was not making as much music with my partner and we agreed to sort of keeping it that way for a while as I was struggling with our collaboration in that way. Things eventually faded after about four years, amicably. I felt it was time for me to keep flying and that we were growing into different ways. It was quite heartbreaking in other ways. I felt truly dependent on my partner and had learned so much from our experience together but I think I lost my voice a bit in it all as well as my music. I felt pretty weak and helpless. Now having to take everything I had learned and experienced in music and be on my own with it. That was scary. But I continued. And I grew even more and I flew even more than I thought I could. I was finishing my Psychology degree at a university. Something I felt I needed to finish, with added pressure from my parents well. I should add that I started my college career as a Music major and found that I had to change because it was difficult for me to study music so formally. So I ended up with Psychology, after jumping around a bit, I found that Psychology was the one thing that really grabbed my attention, although not so much academically. I wanted to drop out of school a few times but thought what a waste that would be, I was on my 5th year (after switching through a few majors), and I had also started recording my own album. My first recorded music. Something I had always dreamed of. We recorded some stuff with the bands but I really wanted to record my music for the first time. Before this I had tried to find a few producers to help me record my music and experienced some bad situations which really turned me off to working with someone else on the album. I was feeling pretty frustrated and helpless but decided that I would channel that energy into something better. Before this I had tried to find a producer to help me record my album and experienced a pretty bad situation which really turned me off to working with someone else on the album. I decided to take the frustration and motivation from the bitter experience into my own hands and record it by myself.

Along with that, I was still trying to adjust to a life without my old partner and some heartaches in between in realizing that I really did not have my own life after ours. I did not have my own friends and I did not have my own ways. I found that I lost them all in a dependent relationship. So for the next eight months or so I was solely commuting to my classes (being half present in something I didn’t really want to be doing) and then coming home and recording my album. I was not really seeing anyone, as I did not have anyone to really see as well as feeling a bit isolated. This was quite hard although it gave me a lot of room to discipline myself in working hard on something that I never really felt I had experienced before. True discipline and hard work into something you want. I was not that way in school ever. The album taught me. And the space allowed me. I also felt very much determined to accomplish it on my own and it came easy to work on my own. My ideas flowed better and I did not feel a lot of pressure. Although I did need help with mixing/mastering, so I got the help. I made a goal to finish my album by the time I graduated college. I did just that. I self-released it and I felt the glory in finishing something you put your heart and all your energy into. Something that was a dream that came true. I felt more proud of it than walking across my university stage to accept a piece of paper that had also proved some sort of discipline to something, though something I didn’t feel I really put my heart and soul into. I should mention that I was still playing some shows during this time, but very sparingly. I had also started DJing at local clubs/bars and found that to be something very, very fun for me. I was asked to DJ by some friends when they heard my playlists off my phone at some parties we attended. So I researched some things and I was able to find a DJ controller that happened to work with my playlists and actually my phone and I started to DJ at art events, music events, and then got some residencies.

Of course, I did not do it the formal way and found a controller that plugged with into my iPhone and connected with my playlists so all I had to use was my phone and my controller. Sometimes I felt silly DJing in this way but it’s what worked and I got more and more gigs just off the music I was playing alone. I really loved DJing because it allowed me to keep discovering new music. Something I had already loved doing but this pushed me even further to listen to endless amounts of music and form and add to my different- themed playlists. After releasing my album and basking in the accomplished feeling within myself, I also found that it received some valuable feedback as well. Shortly after, popular music platform ‘Bandcamp’ released an article called “Best of Soul Music on Bandcamp 2019” in which my album was featured. I was also contacted by a well-known record label in Tokyo, Japan called “P-Vine Records” about a licensing deal for them to be able to sell my music online as well as in their record store in Japan. Very much honored, I accepted a contract with them. Releasing an album allowed me to keep flying in my music career and I played some shows here and there as well as put on some events for local musicians. During that time, I was also collaborating virtually on other people’s records and for the first time flying to New York to play a show at “Rockwood Music Hall” with a music friend that lived there. Though I was starting to get an itch to travel shortly after graduation and releasing this album in which had pulled a lot of energy out of me. I have never moved and have always lived in the small yet lovely beach town that is Ventura. I think I was feeling a bit bored and that I wanted to keep growing musically and personally. I was very interested in traveling to the east. The only other place I had been outside of the U.S. is Israel.

My father is from Israel and had been the only sibling out of 5 to move away. We had traveled there a few times since I was little with my other siblings. I was trying to research a lot of different music programs or anything music-based in other countries and came across a special international program at a music school in Israel. I nervously thought it over and decided to apply to this program. Knowing studying music was something a bit challenging for me, I thought this would be a special experience regardless. I got into the program after an audition and interview and started to contemplate this very big and very scary decision. Something I had never done before, and to somewhere very far away. I only knew a few words in Hebrew though I knew the program was taught in English. I decided to go and I packed my bags in 2019 for what was about to be the greatest experience of my life. Although I didn’t know. I had many hesitations at that time and was mostly afraid of feeling alone and not being able to make friends? As I was still in a sort of low and not very intimately social place with others and with myself, despite how socially involved my music career at the time. There I went on October 10th, 2019 to Israel. I kept my tears from falling until I reached my terminal and wouldn’t have to look my parents in their sad eyes again. Wondering what I was about to do and feeling so scared yet putting an almost instinctive courage-built vest on (one that I found would stay on with me out there) The music program was supposed to be about eight months long but for some reason, my answer to everyone asking how long I would be going for was “I’m not really sure what will happen”.

So I went and I landed in Israel. I was met by my Aunt and Uncle there along with my cousins. and the rest is just an entire dream to me. Maybe too long to go on for because I’ve already written a novel here, but I had the most deeply enriching time in Israel. I experienced so many new things and a new culture. I met some of the best friends I’ve had yet from all over the world, they taught me what true friendship is supposed to be after feeling that I had been in some one-sided friendships. The music school was something really special. Though I still found the formal studying to be quite difficult for me. I learned a lot that has helped my music grow. Most importantly, Israel was a place for me to grow like I’ve never grown before as a person and really get to know myself in that way, aside from being a musician. Although I was studying in that program, I also felt further away from music than I ever had before. Something that was really quite difficult for me because I did not feel connected to myself than if I did not have music. But I learned how to. And I still played a lot of music, wrote music, and collaborated with other musicians. I also performed at a few venues in Tel Aviv which was really special for me. I fell in love with the culture and with the beauty of the way of life there. After the music program, I knew that I wanted to stay in Israel but I was also struggling because I had not seen my family since I left and by then, the COVID situation had been in full effect. I had to keep pushing my flight ticket back. I ended up going to live on a Kibbutz, which is a small collective community traditionally based on agriculture. They have many of them all around Israel. I went to join a program where I would be living on this Kibbutz being a working volunteer and Hebrew student for five months. I found it the best option to go to during COVID time in Israel. It certainly was the best option and I found so much beauty and light in what I experienced there. After the program ended at the end of December 2020, I had a strong feeling in need of seeing my family and going home.

Besides missing them immensely, I felt that I needed to heal from a few aches in my heart and personal turmoil within myself. Home was the best option then and I flew home December 27th. It was a last-minute decision as I was struggling with whether to stay longer in Israel because I loved it so much or whether to head home because I was also aching greatly. Some of this un-identified ache had seeped into my relationship with music towards the end and I still was feeling disconnected from my music and my relationship with it. I had so much to write about and so many feelings in my body to release yet every time I sat in front of the piano, I could not write a word. I would cry because I couldn’t. It was quite frustrating. So with these things in mind, I went home and healed a bit and think about my next move. My plan for a while now was to work on my second album. So much so that I felt I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep continuing my music career in that way. I am home now and have been writing endlessly. Something about being back home and back in the space where I first wrote and played music is comforting. I am starting to record my second record and also trying not to put pressure on myself like I have for a long while. I have so much my heart wants to write and it’s finding its way onto paper and into song slowly but surely. My goal is to finish my project and release it and eventually move back to Israel and start a music career there like how I have been doing in my hometown. Although there are a lot of unknown answers during this strange time, I am still trying to stay present and open to any other opportunity that will come my way. I want to write only the truest music from my heart and from my feelings into song, the way that I’ve always done. I want to keep sharing my music to the world for pure joy and human connection as I have already so graciously been able to experience so far in my music career. It is not an easy path to take. Music as a career is self-made and an unknown road to travel upon.

I have experienced a lot of turmoil and a lot of discouragement within my small but greatly enriching music career thus far and am slowly but surely learning that I need to hold on tight to my special power and love and keep on making my music the way I always have because I hope that I can make a life out of my music. It is my passion and it is what has been my best friend. I have found a lot of joy and life with music. I am grateful for my parents for being supportive of my music always. Without their help and wisdom a lot of things would not be possible. I am forever grateful for them and also for everyone else that has been mentioned in this story (some not named but if I have experienced you during my life you are here in my heart and memory) forever for you have helped me grow and help me continue to fly and you will always be a part of my soul. This was not easy to write, to be honest I have never written my life out like this before and it was quite therapeutic and reflective to remember everything I have really been through. Sometimes things move so fast it’s easy to forget. I sit here at the end crying but thanking this platform for creating a space so that people can recall and share their stories. I guess that I should also mention amongst things about authenticity. That my real name is Talia Aharon-Ezer.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It most definitely has not and I still have a long way to go through more rocky roads. Though I try to remind myself that I have a strong amount of support and a loving family and I am deeply grateful for this in my life. I’ve struggled with a lack of confidence and fear that has discouraged me from many things including advocating for myself. It is still a challenge for me to really feel worthy sometimes and to feel confident in certain social situations as well as within my music career. It has affected my music career to a great amount but I am learning and growing to be my own best friend and to have no fear and to fly to your dreams. Like the beautiful Nina Simone once said, “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: no fear.”

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a Vocalist, Musician, Songwriter, Producer, and DJ. I make eclectic soul music and like to share it to the world. Of these things, I would consider myself a vocalist above all, though at times I am more drawn to simply playing piano. I am most proud of self-recording and producing my 15-track album without any prior experience. It is my biggest accomplishment so far. I’m not sure what exactly sets me apart from others, rather that I am a human that can’t be cloned… at least not yet.

How do you think about luck?
Hmm, I’m not sure how much luck has been involved in my life but maybe just an open mind and visions/manifestations meeting themselves through work and not giving up. I’m not sure I believe in luck, maybe just mind and heart meeting with time. Not to say I haven’t had any bad luck, but more so just wrong place, time, and energy.

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Image Credits:

Devin Shauger, Akira Dann, Ariella Buzali

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