Career of N.Va. Songstress Hits High Note in Los Angeles

Taleen Kalbian, who graduated from Oakton High School, hopes for a recording contract.
Taleen Kalbian, who graduated from Oakton High School, hopes for a recording contract. (Courtesy Of Jc Olivera)
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By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 10, 2008

She's not a teen anymore, but she's still knocking at fame's door, and now she has actor-singer Jamie Foxx on her side.

Taleen Kalbian, who attended Flint Hill Preparatory School and then graduated from Oakton High School, has been singing opera since childhood and has performed for the pope, the president and various huge audiences. She is now 20 and living in Los Angeles and still goes by her first name, Taleen, as a performing artist.

Last month, she signed a music publishing deal with Foxx King Entertainment and its music arm, Sly as a Foxx Music, which will help place her songs in film and television soundtracks and commercials.

Last year, Foxx King added the influence of Bug Music, a music industry publisher that represents artists such as Los Lobos, Ryan Adams and Wilco, as well as the musical estates of Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

"You gain a lot of credibility from this, and people take you a lot more seriously," Kalbian said during a recent East Coast visit to her parents' home near Centreville. "It's not just a record deal."

Kalbian is still shooting for a deal with a recording label, but as the industry contracts in the era of downloading and plummeting CD sales, labels are no longer the only option. Songs can suddenly skyrocket after an artist appears on a hit TV show or in a popular video on YouTube.

"You just never know what's going to happen," she said.

Kalbian said she has a catalog of about 80 songs that Foxx King can market, and she is working with producers on demos for "new songs that I'm saving for myself." She also takes dance classes, attends community college and occasionally blogs on her Web site, http://www.taleen.com.

Although she has been writing songs since her early teen years in Northern Virginia, Kalbian said she "really started taking my writing seriously when I moved" to Los Angeles in 2006. "There's such a creative vibe there, it drags it out of you."

Kalbian said she tries to write positive songs about women, relationships and "how we need change in the world, not just politically but everything. I like to write things that people in my age group can relate to."


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