New Zealand’s queen of drum’n’bass MC Tali on her biggest inspirations


“I’ve had the same job since the early 00s as a full-time drum’n’bass MC, and I’m still doing it and loving it.”

Tali has worked with some of the biggest names in drum’n’bass including Roni Size, Andy C, Pola & Bryson and Wilkinson, and toured the world several times over as both an MC and with a live band.

She has released seven studio albums, has won three drum’n’bass awards, a New Zealand Music Award, and had a UK top 40 hit with her very first single Lyric On My Lip. Tali’s eighth studio album Future Dwellers is out now on her newly created imprint Reign Recordings.

Tali’s favorite things

TV show

Growing up, it was The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It influenced my fashion choices, my taste in music, the language we used in our social circles and so forth. It was just the epitome of 90s cool. These days I love TV shows that give me a giggle such as Taskmaster or 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, or something more relaxing and gentle such as The Repair Shop.

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I love Cotto on Auckland’s Karangahape Rd. It’s always buzzing and has such a nice atmosphere. The food is so good! I’m a vegetarian and there’s such a great selection for me. I always order their focaccia bread – it’s so flavoursome, and melts in the mouth.


The Elegance Of The Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. I have read this book twice and both times I was so moved I cried. Originally written in French, it is subtle and graceful in its delivery, and clever and thoughtful in content.


“Grace Jones – she is definitely an inspiration in more ways than one!”

Piece of art

My mother Margaret Scott is an artist so I have grown up going to exhibitions, galleries and art auctions, as well as watching her paint and exhibit her own work – and eventually have her own studio and workshops.

It’s hard for me to say I have a favorite piece of art – but I recently went to see the incredible tapestry work of Khadim Ali at the Govett-Brewster Gallery in New Plymouth. I was blown away by the emotion and messages contained within the works, the glorious colors and the sheer scale of the tapestries. I was moved to tears.


I have many favorites but if I have to pick I guess I would say Summertime by Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff, which sets off such a feeling of nostalgia for me every time I hear it, and makes me think of long hot summer days, and warm starry nights. I also love anything by Grace Jones – she is definitely an inspiration in more ways than one!

Item of clothing

A ready Especially one with a faux leather trim. I have four as I love how they can instantly make an outfit, and hide all manner of bad hair day sins!


The History of NZ Drum & Bass. It’s a fantastic podcast with interviews from many of our scene’s legends (including me!), which documents how New Zealand became such a drum’n’bass mecca – from the 90s until now.


I love the original Blade Runner film. The lighting and score are amazing, and as a kid watching it, the idea of ​​a dystopian future where droids were integrated with humans, which wasn’t Star Wars (although I loved that too), was super alluring and exciting to me.


In Aotearoa two of my favorite destinations are the Tutukaka Coast where my friend has a lovely old batch at a fantastic surfing spot that we often spend time at over summer, and Hahei in Coromandel – because it has such a beautiful golden beach and awesome little campground .

Internationally my favorite destinations are Berlin for the music and culture, and Ibiza because I have very special memories of that place – including getting engaged there.

What has been your favorite job?

I’ve had the same job since the early 00s- as a full-time drum’n’bass MC, and I’m still doing it and loving it. Although more recently I have entered into the composing and producing world making music for other people’s projects and composing for film and television and it’s such an exciting and challenging new path. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

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