On the heels of the release of ‘DOWN 2 EARTH,’ R&B’s rising star offers a playlist centering the beauty of the not-quite-finished

In 2021, Talia Goddess hit the scene with Poster Girl, a self-produced EP on the border of R&B and soul, marked by silky-smooth vocals and easy drum and guitar. A little goes a long way for this rising star—currently just 21—as she leverages prodigious skill as a producer, a multi-instrumentalist, a DJ, a singer, and now, something of an arts entrepreneur, releasing records via her own label, Trance.

Friday marked the release of DOWN 2 EARTH, meshing dancehall and pop to paint a picture of “young love in a fast-paced world.” The artist’s sophomore EP follows a move to London (Goddess is Guyanese and British, but was brought up in New York), and that shift can be felt in her sound—it’s harder-hitting and experimental, sometimes synthy or psychedelic or energized. At what’s clearly the start of a long career, Goddess settles in as a creative leader of the next generation—versatile, self-assured, able to distill the cultural, spiritual, and sonic down to captivating, sub-three-minute tracks.

To celebrate the release of DOWN 2 EARTH, Goddess shares the songs that move her, centering the beauty of the unfinished, and sound that transcends language.

“Silly Games” by Janet Kay
“I love how nostalgic and bittersweet this song feels, of long-lost love. At the chorus, the shift in chord progression gets me every time—such a potent change in mood. It makes me feel so heartbroken without actually going through the pain.”

“Aaj Shanibar” by Rupa
“I love the composition and arrangement of this song; it’s one of those that transcends language. The feeling I get is a mix of triumph and determination, while still journeying somewhere far and long. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s almost 10 minutes long [laughs].”

“troublin” by Ragz Originale
“This song is sooooo good! I love the fusion of R&B and dancehall—it’s so smooth and sultry. It kinda reminds me of early Drake in a weird way, and I love Ragz’s drum cadences and production choices.”

“I WANT U” by Talia Goddess
“I love this song, not just because it’s mine, but also because of all the subtleties in the music production and arrangement. The bass and the vocals are having their own conversation—a bit of call-and-response—and the drums are busy and consistent while still having space. This song was really fun to make, and leans into my exploration of musicality in a more sonic context, instead of [centering] super structured and formulaic traditions.”

“Troupeau bleu” by Cortex
“This song is a classic for me. I love the sections and the clarity of the band instruments. Everyone has their own space and fits in perfectly. I have no idea what they’re saying, but that’s the beauty in it.”

“Speed” by Kali Uchis
“This song is one of my first introductions to Kali Uchis and Tyler, the Creator, two artists who have greatly inspired and shaped my creative identity. My first girlfriend put me on to this song, and I remember feeling like the wool had been removed from my eyes—or ears, rather. So alternative, so eclectic, and just pushing boundaries on ‘Black’ music. It was truly life-changing. This song always makes me feel like I’m falling apart. It’s definitely on my life soundtrack.”

“Sweet November” by SZA
“It’s only right to include this one, since it’s November. I MISS OLD SZA! I love how raw she is in this song, and how moody it is. I love the production. I love the airiness of her voice. It’s true R&B for me.”

“Platinum Cookies” by Babyfather
“When I first moved to London, Babyfather—who I recently learned is also Dean Blunt—was heavy in rotation. I Shazam-ed this song while hanging in Shoreditch. I love how sporadic and chopped his music is—not quite finished, but perfect. The beauty of sketch ideas, just saying and doing whatever. He takes many liberties in being a music producer, and thus he’s in full control of what he creates.”

“Don’t You Wait” by Solange
“My spirit instrument is the drums, and I love the conversation between the drums and the guitars in this song. Solange is a big inspiration in terms of the evolution of R&B and neo-soul, and creates sonic landscapes that feel fully encompassing without not doing too much.”

“BEBE” by Len featuring Odunsi (The Engine)
“I love the drum cadence in this song, and generally the new sound of hip-hop emerging in the UK. It’s fun, it’s nuanced, with Afro-diasporic rhythms and lingo. It really encapsulates new first- and second-generation African-Caribbean Black music, which is closely connected to me and my experience.”