TAKING that leap and moving from somewhere quite romantic and idyllic…
to a different, polemic part of a country has been much-documented in films and literature. In terms of music, the emigration from Los Angeles to Nashville is not as rare as one would imagine – becoming more popular with hopeful, ambitious artists. The sense of community and opportunity Nashville offers is attracting so many musicians. Taylor Noelle is one such musician who has been seduced by the lure and familial vibe of the Tennessee city. Inspired by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, HAIM and Michel Jackson; I ask her about her idols and growing up; the benefits of a Nashville lifestyle and the thoughts and impressions about her forthcoming E.P., Out of My System.
Hi Taylor. How are you? How has your week been?
Hello! I’m doing great. I’m so excited to share my music with the world soon. My week has been busy and fantastic! Thank you for asking.
For those new to your music: can you introduce yourself, please?
Hey! My name is Taylor. I write music to deal with what my brain and my heart - can’t really keep a hold of by themselves. Sonically, I think I fall in the realm of organic-sounding Pop.
I’m really inspired by the sounds of artists like Fleetwood Mac, Adele; Tori Kelly, Sara Bareilles; HAIM and Alabama Shakes.
I also love to dance to Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson.
There are a lot of young, hopeful musicians coming through at the moment. How would you say you differentiate from the rest of the crowd?
That’s the question, isn’t it? I think I write very honest lyrics. They’re extremely personal, but I think that they are related to emotions and experiences that everyone goes through. So, my aim is that my songs can connect to people very deeply and sincerely. I want someone to hear a song of mine and think: ‘How does she know what’s in my head right now? How does this song describe what I’m feeling?’ Because that’s the feeling I get about my favorite music.
You were born and raised in L.A. What is it like in the city for an inspiring musician?
Well, I was raised in the San Fernando Valley which is more in the suburbs. And yes, that is ‘the valley’, so I suppose you could say that I’m a ‘valley girl’. But, honestly, I didn’t do much to actively pursue a career while I lived there. I was just growing up. But I did develop my love of music there.
My dad taught me chords on piano when I was in elementary school and I was a part of choir in middle school. I started truly writing my own music when I was around fourteen or fifteen.
I would perform in school talent shows and the like. But I never pursued anything professionally. And I’m very happy to have had a normal childhood there.
Now you have moved to Nashville. What are the differences you have noticed and which area do you prefer – which provides most opportunities?
I absolutely love Nashville. It’s a really amazing place to grow as a musician. I think the biggest difference that I immediately recognised was how strong the community is here. It’s very tightly knit. Everyone knows someone who knows someone - and so on. So, finding a network of very talented and creative people happened very quickly - especially once I started attending Belmont University. The concentration of talent in this little town is really unbelievable. On top of that, there’s so much collaboration and support going on that to a certain extent it really feels like everyone is rooting for each other to be their absolute best. It’s awesome. Being here, I’ve gotten to write and play and record with some of the best musicians I’ve ever met. I would love to go back to Los Angeles one day, but right now, Nashville is the place for me.
It seems like you have naturally bonded with Nashville. Can you distill what it is that makes it so special in terms of music? What are your favourite places to place in Nashville?
As I said before, I really think the community here is what makes Nashville so special.
Musical collaboration can be so amazing and wonderful. Here in Nashville, I’ve had the chance to play at some really awesome venues – Café Coco, The Country; 3rd and Lindsley; The High Watt, The Listening Room…but the most special was probably the world-famous Bluebird Café. It’s such an intimate, beautiful little space with so much history. I actually spent most of last summer working there waitressing which gave me the opportunity to get to listen to so much incredible music while working. So, playing there was very special for me because I really understood the level of talent that plays there on a normal basis. In the future, my absolute dream would be to headline a show at The Ryman. It’s right in the centre of downtown Nashville and again is imbued with such a history of talent that every show there feels utterly magical.
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Out of My System is out on 25th. Are you excited about the release and how long have you been ruminating/recording the material?
I AM SO EXCITED! WOW! So, I started officially working on recording the E.P. in late-September after connecting with my incredible producer Andrew Conner - who I cannot say enough nice things about. He is truly the best. The songs were written very separately – one as recent as this past summer, a couple over the course of last year and one almost four years ago. The recording process was so much fun. It was so incredible to get to hear my songs brought to life by some of the best musicians I know.
I believe the E.P.’s title refers to a need to get the songs out – those that have been building for a while. Can you tell us about the songs’ themes and what we can expect?
Yes! I’ve had these songs – some for a very long time – that I’ve been able to play out for people with just me on my guitar but have never been able to give their full due. They’re all very special to me in their own ways and I hope and think that there are people out there that will be able to relate to things that I have felt or have gone through.
I think a range of emotions is represented on the E.P. The songs range from self-confident and sassy to desperate and longing; to warm and content and in love.
No one is ever stagnantly living in one emotion: everyone goes through different experiences and has different reactions to those experiences. I think that the E.P. really explores that truth. I may not be in a sad or angry place anymore but the songs carrying those emotions preserve how I processed those emotions in that moment. And I think that’s valuable! So, yes, I am extremely happy to get these songs ‘out of my system’.
After you showcase the E.P. in Nashville (4th December) you have plans to come to London. Will this be your first time in the city?
First off, I am SO excited for my release show! It’s going to be a great time. And, actually, the last time I was in London I was just a tiny little toddler! So, I guess you could say that I’m excited to be back in the country with full cognitive development! But, seriously, I’m so thrilled to be able to come live in London for the spring.
Have you got any plans to do more dates in the U.K. and stay here longer?
I don’t have any specific plans right now but I would love the chance to get to play for some new audiences!
I suppose we’ll just see what happens.
Tell me about your childhood and musical influences. Which artists were playing on your parents’ stereo and caught your ear?
I remember that when I was very young, my parents gave me this compilation C.D. called Ultimate Divas. It was 100% total girl power: Diana Ross and the Supremes, Whitney Houston; Mariah Carey, Gladys Knight and so on. So, I was walking around the house yelling power ballads throughout elementary school. I also grew up on classics like The Beach Boys and The Beatles - and other amazing songwriters like Carole King and Ben Folds. I also really loved Classic musicals. I really didn’t listen to much Top 40 (music) until I was around fourteen or so.
Are there any musicians, locally or nationally, you think we should check out?
YES! One of my really close friends is an artist called estef (yes, that’s all lowercase). She is unlike any other artist I know right now. Her songs are so utterly soulful. We also wrote Too Good off of the E.P. together! Another awesome artist is my friend Ashley Leone. She’s a fantastic Pop artist who writes some of the catchiest hooks I’ve heard. We also wrote Covers Me off the E.P. together!
PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Wilson
2016 has been a busy one for you but 2017 is not far away. What plans have you got for the year ahead?
As I said, I am so excited to come spend the spring in London and hopefully do a fair bit of traveling around Europe during my time there!
Music-wise, I want to do my best to share my E.P. with as many listeners and I can as well as continue writing! I would love to possibly collaborate with writers and musicians in London while I’m there. Other than that, I am very happy to just let life happen and do my very best at everything I do along the way.
Music can be a challenging and exhausting career. How do you like to spend your downtime or does music tend to consume most of your time?
Well, I am a full-time student at Belmont University in Nashville right now. So, I take classes and everything that comes along with being a student. But, really, I am so thankful to be here. Majoring in Music Business, I have learned so much about the music industry and I feel very prepared to face a career. I’ve also met so many wonderful and talented and kind people here and made some of my very best friends. Outside of school and music, I love going on hikes (my favourite around here is Radnor Lake), I love watching The Office (the American one, sorry…); I adore thrift shopping and I have the best time going to concerts around town. The most recent concert I went to was LANY at Mercy Lounge. They were unreal.
Is there any advice you’d like to offer any upcoming musicians looking to follow in your footsteps?
Well, first off, I would be completely honoured if anyone thought that I was worth following.
I suppose the biggest piece of advice I would give is to always, always be authentic - people can smell insincerity from a mile away.
The best songs come from moments of utter truth and honesty.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song you like (not yours as I’ll include that) and I’ll play it here.
Any time is a great time for some Stevie Nicks. Let’s listen to Dreams by Fleetwood Mac.
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