January 7 is a very special day for two reasons. First, it's the birthday of my amazing nanny (we're not allowed to call her granny; she hates that). She's 79 years young! Second, one year ago, I acted very impulsively -- almost irrationally in hindsight. But it was an act that changed my world.
We were on holiday in Hawaii with my folks and grandparents to celebrate my Papa's (my grandfather) 80th birthday. But he took ill with a tummy bug so we had to change our flights and hotel on the last two days of our holiday. In our hotel, my dad had seen Sir Elton John in the lift, and despite loitering in the hotel lobby like a stalker for 24 hours, I hadn't seen him!
The next morning I spotted his partner David Furnish sitting across the restaurant, with some friends having breakfast. This was it, I thought. I'll never forget what my mum said when I asked what she thought of my approaching him with a CD and letter to pass on to Sir Elton. "Well, if you don't ask you don't get, Tallia, but this is his private space and as long as you're prepared for a possible brush off, and you can handle it, then why not."
His reaction was amazing and he was so nice. He asked all about my music, what style I sang, where I was from and he promised to pass it on. Done -- that was it. I could do no more.
We left the hotel and flew home via San Francisco. We were going through security and my phone rang. It was like a comedy of errors. To summarize, I lost reception, battery died and eventually we spoke. It was the call that changed my world. Sir Elton John invited me to open for him in concert in Scotland on June 10, 2012 and told me he thought I had one of the best soul voices he had heard in years!
I think I had palpitations until we reached cruising altitude - wondering if this was all a dream.
It's fair to say that it quite literally changed my world. I opened for him in front of a 17,000-person crowd in June and it was the most surreal and amazing experience of my life. When I walked onto that stage, for some bizarre reason, I wasn't nervous at all. I just looked at all those people and thought that I couldn't let Sir Elton down. What if I sucked? He had never heard me sing live -- only my demos -- but I gave it my all. I had rehearsed for this day since January.
As I look back at 2012, I still can't really believe what happened in that year. I got to sing at the Scottish Fashion Awards and wore the most amazing dress from Corrie Nielson (think Mary Queen of Scots with a Tallia twist). Next thing you know, I flew to Los Angeles to sing at the Teen Choice Awards After-Party. We can't forget the 'bow,' can we?
I then went to New York and did rounds of media. We visited Teen Vogue, Seventeen Magazine and CNN HLN. I remember walking past the Pierce Morgan studio thinking wow... I wondered if he was in the building? I tweeted him but he didn't reply!
My sister Tessie became my personal stylist. We'd sit and scour through magazines looking for cool looks to copy. She'd prepare mood boards, cutting and pasting, and my room became a pinboard. But every day that dawned my priority was and still is singing. I sing before school, after school and every chance I get, doing my scales, practicing my songs and singing the tracks from my idols.
The autumn brought several trips to London where I went to the Look Magazine show. Tessie and I got to sit on the front row.
I met Professor Green and his girlfriend, UK reality TV personality Millie Mackintosh, at a party and she asked me to sing at her launch party for a new beauty product, but I couldn't as it was on a school night -- darn!
My crazy hair and wacky style has been featured in magazines and online sites around the world from China, Vietnam, South America and Eastern Europe and beyond. Sure, I was doing not bad in my home country of Scotland but the chance encounter with David Furnish on January 7 changed all that and I will be forever grateful to him and Sir Elton.
I won't deny it's been a whirlwind year, but along with all the glamour and excitement, I am under no illusion. I know that a lifetime career in this game requires endless hard work and perseverance, and I am even more determined now than ever. My parents watch my grades like hawks, but I believe in the value of education and I love studying. There's nothing better than watching Discovery Channel and reading a good book. I don't go out much at home because if it's not singing-related, then I'm not interested.
The list of people I have to thank is endless, especially my grandparents who I adore and my own family, whose love and support has allowed me to get this far.
So there you have it. January 7 is a day of blessings; it's my New Year, my nanny's birthday and the day my world changed. I know where I want to be and I'm not stopping now. What will 2013 bring for me? Stay tuned and we'll see!