© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Tal Wilkenfeld On 'Love Remains'


She was just 20 years old, and she had already played bass with jazz giants Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. And here she is that same year playing a solo in 2007 on stage with guitar megastar Jeff Beck.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Australian-born electric bass player Tal Wilkenfeld has been in demand ever since, playing with Prince, Toto, Ryan Adams, Keith Urban and many, many more. This spring, Wilkenfeld released "Love Remains," her debut album as a vocalist.


TAL WILKENFELD: (Singing) I ride down the back streets of my mind, a tangled up passenger in disguise.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Tal Wilkenfeld is now on tour, and she joins us from our New York bureau.

Welcome to the program.

WILKENFELD: Thanks for having me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So tell me about the album itself. Where were you when you were writing these songs?

WILKENFELD: Well, I love that "Love Remains" can mean two very different things - the remnants of love - of a love that has failed - or love remains, like love still exists. You know, we're all still here, and we keep going.


WILKENFELD: (Singing) It's hard to hide, but I don't want to want you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You also play guitar and sing on this album. You started playing guitar when you were about 14 years old...


GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...And living in Sydney. I saw that you said that the first time you picked up a guitar, you felt this immediate connection to the instrument.

WILKENFELD: Yeah. I don't even know how to explain it. It was a really natural process. I picked up the guitar, and I - tears started rolling down my face. It wasn't even, like, really an emotional thing. It was more like a knowing, I guess. Like, I knew that I wanted to do music forever.


WILKENFELD: (Singing) You say you love me. You say that you care, can't live without me. Desert me, you wouldn't dare.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Do you prefer singing? Or is it all part of the same sort of emotional musical experience, you know, when you play guitar, when you sing?

WILKENFELD: I suppose when I started writing songs with lyrics, it felt like it wouldn't be authentic if I asked somebody else to sing my songs for me. So it was more that I just had songs with words, and they needed to be sung. That's sort of how that ended up happening. Like, I could find expression through any kind of art. Like, if I paint, or if I sing, or - you know, I'll sort of find the art in even, like, walking my dog.


WILKENFELD: It all feels sort of, like, similar if that makes sense.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What song do you want us to play from the album? What's your favorite track?

WILKENFELD: You know, I really enjoy playing "Haunted Love" because I get to play bass and sing. It's sort of like a - basically, a solo piece for the vocals and bass.


WILKENFELD: (Singing) Love, help me sleep tonight.

And I got to record it with an orchestra. That was the first time I'd ever recorded with orchestra.


WILKENFELD: (Singing) Love, help me breathe tonight. Love, will you stay by my side in this love, this haunted love?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Where do you want to go next with your music? I mean, you have been doing this for so long, even though you are so young.

WILKENFELD: (Laughter). I want to travel the world and actually see it because I've seen a lot of stages. And I've seen a lot of hotel rooms, but I really haven't seen the world. Like, I want to be in the culture. I'm really looking forward to that and also continuing to play with my band because really, like, my first show with my band since the album has come out was just a few days ago. But for the first time, I was, like, looking into the audience and watching people sing along to the lyrics. And that was just the most amazing feeling. To watch someone sing your words back to you - wow, that's cool.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Tal Wilkenfeld is now on tour, playing Boston and Washington later this week. And her new album is "Love Remains." Thank you so much.

WILKENFELD: Thank you.


WILKENFELD: (Singing) Love, don't rescue me. I've got nowhere better I want to be. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.