Talita Jolene

March 2019

Big personality. Big voice. Big dreams.

That perfectly describes emerging Thunder Bay singer songwriter, Talita Jolene. I’ve known Talita for many years, as she’s been involved in several local businesses, but when I began to hear whispers of a remarkable vocal talent coming out of the Urban Abbey, I wasn’t surprised to find out that it was her. We sat down under the Abbey’s stairs one day to chat about life, music, and the deep waters of dreaming too big.

“I grew up in Manitoba with a Mennonite background,” says Talita, “And a community greatly influenced by that heritage. As I look back on my young years, I can see there was an intensity to my emotional and thought life which was difficult to understand in light of that conservative Christian context. I seemed to possess a certain depth that left me feeling like a fish out of water. Things began to change when we moved from the prairies to Thunder Bay. Here, there was this huge body of water that was bigger than any I’d ever seen. It was scary but somehow, it resonated with me. It was the beginning of me accepting who I am, and owning my artistic identity.”

I’ve interviewed many people who are well established in their careers as singers, artists and musicians, but I think Talita may be the first emergent artist I’ve featured. It’s a fascinating process to witness.

“I often see myself as a seed,” she says. “Or a tree that is growing strong. My time with the Abbey is a chance to dig my roots down deep so I can grow into what I’m meant to be.”
And what is that, exactly, I ask? Talita grabs the question and runs with it.

“My life is built on that conviction that there is an artist behind all of this,” she says. “And my aim is to connect with that artist. I’m a sort of ‘sacramental theologian’. I see the world in layers of imagery and meaning. To me, the act of being a singer/songwriter is the imagery of inhaling and exhaling. Creating a song is a picture of heaven and earth coming together, spirit or breath coming together with dust. When I’m writing a song, I tend to back up and look for the layers coming together at the same time. Sometimes, songs are just personal, just me making sense of my own scenario and writing from human experience, but I love to have a million layers at one time, like a pattern being repeated. Not everyone can see all the levels but maybe they don’t need to yet.”

Singer, songwriter, administrator, extrovert and dreamer of big dreams, Talita is also not afraid to do things she has never done before. This January, she pulled together “Full Circle”, a collaborative concert featuring several local musicians whose schedules just happened to coincide. The concert
was a remarkable work of original and covered works from many musical genres.

“So that was pretty indicative of me as an artist,” she says with a grin. “I really appreciate the idea of collaborating with other artists, of knowing who they are, learning their skill sets and desires and creating something together. It meant something to all of us and I loved working with all of them. That’s where I want to be.”

I asked how folks can get a taste of her music, her vocals and her inspiration.

“There are a few tracks on my website, and there is a CD that was recorded live at the ‘Full Circle’ concert”.

To get a glimpse of some of Talita’s big dreams, check out her website at www.talitajolene.com

Heather L. Dickson is a photoshop guru, zoologist and author of 6 novels.

Visit her website at www.hleightondickson.com

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