“Show love to everyone you meet, because you don’t know what they’re going through or where they’ve come from.”
This is the guiding principle for TALK’s life. The singer-songwriter is a mass of positive energy, colour and enthusiasm, bringing a smile to the face of everyone he connects with. Born Nicholas Durocher and raised in Stittsville, TALK is a multi-instrumental wizard, trained in piano, guitar, drums, bass, banjo, harmonica and even the mandolin. Growing up with a director and cameraman for a father and a brother on Broadway, Durocher was built for the spotlight. In an era where many artists use mystery as a marketing tactic, TALK is in your face.
He’s eccentric, flashy and colourful. He’d rather make his own gold sequin cape than wear a designer outfit. As Durocher explains, “TALK is me saying ‘I don’t care what anyone thinks, I’m going to be bright, beautiful and, most importantly, myself.’”TALK launched himself on a rocket with his debut single “Run Away to Mars”. Originally written at 3am when TALK was feeling isolated and lonely, the song has connected with listeners all over the world: earning tens of millions of streams, hundreds of thousands of social followers, and rising to #1 on the Spotify Global Viral 50.
He followed the single with the TALK To Me EP, which earned praise from American Songwriter, People, Complex and more, and a cover of “How To Save a Life” featured in the 400th episode of Grey’s Anatomy. He’s sold out shows across his home country and performed on the main stage at Festival d’Ete du Quebec in front of 75,000+ people. Recently, TALK has been on the road supporting Young the Giant with Milky Chance, performed Lollapalooza, Calgary Stampede, K Days in Edmonton, Festival D’été to a crowd of over 100k as well as supporting Imagine Dragons on dates through the summer and fall. This September, he will headline his own European tour, before returning to Canada to support Shania Twain as a special guest at three of her shows: Toronto, Montreal and Quebec.
We caught up with the rising star to discuss his rise to fame, his local roots, and his September tour.
You grew up in Stittsville. What was your childhood like?
It was great. My parents moved to Stittsville when I was really small. Back then it was just a new community, a growing community and I have tons of great memories. I had a really stable, great childhood which I’m really thankful for, I was very lucky. I had great friends and I played sports and went to school and had a great time.
Oh, and Willy’s Pizza is the best pizza in Stittsville, and also in Ottawa.
Tell me about your family. What role did they play in influencing your career decisions and your interests in music?
According to my mom, the reason for my musical talents is because she wore headphones when she was pregnant. I’m not sure if I can give her all the credit. My brother is a Broadway actor, singer and dancer and lives in New York. He kind of started the trend in my family and then I followed and went and did my own thing. My family has always been very encouraging, and always brought me to my piano or drum or guitar lessons… whatever kind of lesson I was taking that year.
When do you think you really found your identity and style as an artist, as this non-apologetic rockstar?
I think it’s been an evolution and I’m kind of fully there now. I’d say over the last 3 years I have become more confident in myself and who I am. Before that there was a lot of experimenting, trying to figure out who I was and learning to be more true to myself.
I think a lot of people struggle with that, and I still do at times, but I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure that out. Before that, I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t… I was trying to be quieter and change myself. I eventually realized that it took a lot more effort to pretend to be someone that I wasn’t, and I’m lazy, so it works perfectly.
What are some tips for others who are on this journey?
I started writing songs to help me process my thoughts and feelings. It was a form of therapy for me. Through that, I found who I was and what I love doing, and I also found the people that I love to be around. I think that helps a lot when you have people around you that you trust and that are honest with you and that you can be honest with.
This September you are traveling to a ton of UK/European cities on your headlining tour. What are you most excited about?
The last time I played a headline show was probably in Ottawa at Club Saw on April 14, 2022. It’s been basically a year since I played a headline show. So I’m looking forward to getting back to that vibe.
In October, you have 3 shows as Shania Twain’s Special guest in Ottawa’s neighbouring ‘bigger cities’.
I’m very much looking forward to it. I have no idea what to expect… it’s my first real arena show. The other day, my dad texted me a photo of my original Shania Twain CD, and it was actually the first CD I ever got when I was 5 or 6. I’m going to try to get her to sign it. It’s a really cool full-circle moment.
When you’re back in Ottawa what are some of your favourite spots to hit up?
Willy’s Pizza, any location, but specifically Stittsville is the best. I have it every time I come home. It’s something you can’t get anywhere else in the world, it’s crazy. It has that Lebanese flair, so it’s like a thick pizza. I try pizza all over the place when I’m touring, and there’s nowhere that’s ever tasted like Ottawa Pizza, ever. It’s completely different. I think pizza people are missing out.
Blue Cactus $10 triples on a Friday or Saturday night, that’s one place to go with your friends. I used to do that every weekend, that was my spot. It’s like a house party every weekend.
Another spot is Shorty’s Sandwich Shop. They’re in the Hunt Club area, and I have a sandwich there named after me that’s available on Tuesdays. It’s called Talkwhich Tuesdays. They’re an amazing local small business.
I was talking about this the other day, that I also miss the golden age of AMC24 in Kanata. They had the Blue Icees there, that’s one thing I could go for… I don’t know where you can get a Blue Icee these days.
Or Pizza Pizza slices at Sens games, for some reason they taste better at the Sens game than they do at regular Pizza Pizza’s. You heard it here maybe second, maybe first, but it is a fact that Pizza Pizza slices taste 10x better at Sens game. It’s been confirmed by many people.
If you could go back in time to three years ago, and talk to the person you were in your parent’s basement, during COVID, creating Runaway to Mars, what would you say to yourself?
Slow down, step one. Step two, trust your instincts. Don’t let others influence you. Follow your vision, because if you do, things will go well. And you’re not a hack. You don’t suck… you write good songs.