She continues: “Whether I’m happy, sad or mad I tend to write exactly what I’m feeling in that moment. Often I’ll journal to say what’s on my mind and then go back and sift through it to pull lines for a song.”
That kind of candid storytelling, buoyed by Taylor-Rae’s inimitable voice, fueled her acclaimed 2019 self-penned debut album Backseat Driver, which reached #6 on the iTunes Country Chart. Two subsequent singles, meanwhile — the plaintive ballad “Nashville” and the propulsive, bad-love anthem “Mistake” — enjoyed robust country radio play nationwide.
“I have always looked up to Shania Twain,” Taylor-Rae says when asked to namecheck artists she sees as kindred spirits. “I love her performance style and the cool edge in her songs. I try to channel that energy in my own shows. I also consider Martina McBride a powerhouse. Her songs definitely set the bar for so many females.”
Not surprisingly, singing has been a way of life for Taylor-Rae. Growing up in Edmonton, her dad encouraged her to sing along with a karaoke set in the family basement. “I didn’t seriously get into performing until the last six or seven years,” she says, “but it was clear from the start that I could sing. And my parents were very supportive, and kept telling me I might have a shot at making a career of this.”
Years later, after moving to Vancouver to study Arts and Entertainment Management at Capilano University, Taylor-Rae picked up the guitar and started writing songs, eventually releasing Backseat Driver and performing multiple marquee gigs in summer 2019 including (but not limited to) opening for blues-rocker Colin James at Parkland Summerfest in Calgary and playing for a record-breaking crowd at BC’s Osoyoos Music In the Park.
Always writing and recording, Taylor-Rae has of late been trying on songs written by some of Nashville’s finest and searching outside her own catalog. In the fall of 2020, Taylor-Rae began working with veteran producer Dan Swinimer (David James, Madeline Merlo) and together they have found the sound that will bring Taylor-Rae’s voice to the forefront, with a style all her own. Her distinct vocal shines through. The first single “Hellbent” brings out the grittier, playful side of Taylor-Rae.
“I heard (the wildly sticky, guitar-boosted scorcher) ‘Hellbent’ and laughed because there’s a line in the chorus that says, ‘I’m a hurricane.’ And for years, whenever I came home to Edmonton, my family would say, ‘Here comes Hurricane Tay!’” she howls. “I knew I had to record that song.”
The new material, she admits, is leaning more towards modern country with that edge that makes it unequivocally Taylor-Rae.
“It’s been a reinvention of sorts, but I feel like my artistry has been amped up to the next level and I am feeling more myself than ever. I am just so excited to get more music out into the world.”