01 taali photo credit janette beckman a8fa5

Taali’s Haunting new single is an Ode to Healing and Trauma

by Laurie Henzel

In March of 2020 Grammy nominated singer, songwriter, producer and record label president Taali contracted COVID-19 in NYC. Following a fever of 51 days she began working on the music that later became her self-titled album taali (now out on Rainbow Blonde Records in 2023). In 2021 while serving as artist in residence in Amsterdam she met rising star emerging filmmaker Lyon Pol. Together with long time collaborator Joseph DiGiovanna (known for his film work and 30 year timelapse of NYC) they crafted a visual narrative to match the music of her song “Is It Right?” The video was filmed both in Giverny (the European homebase of legendary impressionists Claude Monet and Mary Cassatt) and on the shore of the Hudson overlooking Manhattan’s skyline. Shot entirely on film, the video offers a beautiful, sometimes haunting and introspective glimpse into the experience of an artist grappling with uncertainty. Below is Taali’s ode to healing and trauma.

Is It Right?
2020 Manhattan.
The sirens are omnipresent. Every five minutes, sometimes less.
Is It Right?
Our neighbors wheeled out to the ambulances, some of them not even making it and dying in the street.
Is It Right?
And us, stuck in the apartment.
The virus takes us, swarms us, shifts the very foundations I thought I knew best.
The fever lasts 51 days.
The trauma longer.
Is It Right?
When the thermometer finally reads 98.6 the world is still shut down. There is abject panic, a kind I have never known before and hope to never know again. There are also life saving grants, a vision of a new life in Europe, a kernel of hope.
(All of those things can be true together, after all)
Is It Right?
It shifts us, shapes us, changes us.
Makes us into an ever changing mosaic, a composite of the pieces we keep putting back together.
Is It Right?
2021 Amsterdam.
We live here now, healing one beautiful bike ride at a time.
I continue a song I started in Manhattan, based on a simple question.
Is It Right?
The song comes quickly. I lean into the question, grow with the acknowledgment of uncertainty.
Is It Right?
2021 Giverny.
2022 Manhattan.
With the song’s music video I try to honor the disorienting, isolating and ultimately empowering experience of it all.
Is It Right?
The gauzy safety I found in Europe.
The gorgeous shocking clarity of my beloved New York City’s skyline.
The dizzying disorientation of those two together.
Is It Right?
For this I bring in Dutch director Lyon Pol and one of my oldest friends, Joseph DiGiovanna, a brilliant artist who among many other things deals with long COVID to this day.
Is It Right?
2023 Los Angeles.
May rings in Mental Health Awareness Month.
Do I have any answers?
Is It Right?
(What is right, after all?)
I am grateful to be alive and still considering.
Is It Right?
I shift, grow, expand.
Center my own mental health without seeking an arbitrary finish line.
Is It Right?
I know better than to rely on rigid concepts like “right” or “wrong” now.
Know better than to look for answers.
I treasure, instead, the ability to question.

Photo by Janette Beckman

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