L.A.-based emerging indie artist, TAY, embodies the spirit of being self-made. Writing, producing, and even mixing all her own music, she adds a fresh Electronic twist to the Alt-Pop realm. TAY grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, reading music practically by the time she could walk. A classically trained pianist and self-taught guitarist, she started writing songs from her bedroom in high school, but kept private, using it as an outlet to express all her innermost thoughts and feelings. Her music tells stories, and she carried this love of storytelling with her into film school, studying screenwriting and audio engineering at Chapman University. She sound designed countless student and indie films, landing a nomination for a Motion Picture Sound Editors Award in 2017. However, at every turn she kept gravitating back to the world of music. TAY worked as an engineer at a studio in downtown L.A., becoming savvy in running recording sessions, editing, and producing. Combining this skillset with her expressive way with words, her artistry is a reflection of everything she has experienced both sonically and in life itself.
Hi TAY! Let’s start with how did you get your artist name?
It’s my nickname from my full name, Taylor, so I chose it for my artist name!
What city are you from and where are you based now?
I’m from the SF Bay Area and now based in L.A.
At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music? How did you get started?
I’ve been a classically trained pianist for as long as I can remember, taught myself guitar, and started writing songs in high school, but didn’t think much of it at the time. I ended up going to film school for screenwriting, but gravitated towards audio engineering and sound design. The summer after my sophomore year, I called practically every recording studio in L.A. until one took me in as an intern, which led to a lot of hands-on engineering work. It also gave me the foundation for skills in producing and mixing. However, I wanted a taste of the business side of the industry, so after a couple more internships, I landed at a record label full-time. I never stopped developing my creative side, and continued to write and produce music, but once I started releasing music at the end of 2019, I knew that’s what I truly wanted. After I really started to focus on my music during the pandemic, I decided to leave my day job and give it all I got in the middle of this year.
Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?
Definitely. I’m the oldest of 5 sisters, so my relentless and driven approach towards everything I do for sure comes from the high level of responsibility I was given growing up. I was always taught to push myself, step outside my comfort zone, but always needing to be the “strong pillar” of my family made me struggle with opening up emotionally. It kept me in a box. That box is now being let open. A lot of the music that I’m working on, at the moment, is me finding my voice and letting my guard down, fully expressing my real and authentic emotions in my music.
How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?
Electro Alt-Pop / Alt-Pop with a fusion of Electronic sounds.
Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?
I love staying active, going for hikes, spending the day at the beach, snowboarding during the winter, traveling, and baking! Also, I have a 1-year-old Pomeranian, and playing and cuddling with her is definitely a time consuming hobby 🙂
Who are some of your main musical influences?
BANKS, Elohim, Lights
Which artist would be a dream to collaborate with?
What are some of your future music career goals?
As cheesy as it sounds, the sky is the limit. I’d love for my music to reach as far as it possibly can, go on tour, and play big festivals. One of my biggest passions is inspiring more young women to get into producing and engineering – showing that it is 100% a career path option and if you want something badly enough you can make it happen.
Now onto your release, “i’m so sad.” What inspired this song?
I wrote this song after going through a breakup. I had never been that sad for that long before, but I felt like I never allowed myself to acknowledge that it’s okay to let yourself feel that way. There’s always so much pressure to put on a face, show that you’re better off without that person, so I gave the track an anthemic, upbeat spin as a declaration that it’s okay to just be sad and scream it out loud.
What is “i’m so sad” about in your own words?
It is an acceptance of completely normal human emotion.
How did the music video for “i’m so sad” come about? What was your vision for the video?
What are some stereotypical things you do after a breakup? Eat cake and ice cream, and take long showers (who doesn’t love a good shower cry session??). So, I took that concept, but put an angsty twist on it – destroying cake and ice cream in a tub. I wanted it to be one giant mess (which it totally was…the cleanup was a great time). Emotions are messy, and I also wanted to express that anger that comes through during the many stages of heartbreak.
What message do you hope fans take away from your music and from “i’m so sad?”
I hope people can feel like they can express and embrace themselves to the fullest extent from listening to my music. From “i’m so sad,” I want listeners to know that if you’re ever going through a rough time and are feeling sad, it’s okay to feel that way.
What’s one of your proudest moments of your music career so far?
I recently got added to my first Spotify editorial playlist! “Notable’s Created By Women.”
What would you say are the greatest lessons you’ve learned so far?
Stay persistent, keep going after something no matter how hard it gets. I’ve seen so much growth, not only in my music, but personal growth as well just by keeping tunnel vision on my goals and not letting any outside influence or negativity sway me. Being confident in your creative vision is key.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects that we should be on the lookout for?
I have a new single that I almost wasn’t going to release only because a lot of the new music I’ve been working on recently has a different sound. But I made it during a turning point in my life, so I felt like it still needed it’s place out in the world. It’s called, “refresh,” and is dropping on 12/18. A lot of new music is in the works for next year that I’m super excited about, definitely stay tuned!
Where can we follow you on social media?
Before we let you go, let’s ask you something random. What are your favorite pizza toppings?
Pineapple and bacon.