[INTERVIEW] Taylor Noelle: Words
Honesty will always be the best policy. Whether in song or in life, getting to the point will always work better than beating around the bush. I recently sat down with Taylor Noelle as she returns with a new release, a turn from her singer-songwriter past to a much more vibrant, passionate fusion of sounds with her latest release titled “Words”. The song gets straight to the point and Taylor minces no words about honesty and communication, and I wanted to learn more about how she’s been feeling recently and what inspired this new direction.
'Words' feels like a very focused, specific song. How were you feeling when you wrote the lyrics?
I was feeling pretty broken, to be quite honest. I framed the song to sound like it’s about a romantic relationship, but in reality it was inspired by an encounter in my professional life. Essentially, I was left wondering whether someone had charmed me and won me over with outright lies or if they just truly didn’t weigh the value of the things that they said and how they might affect someone. So I was pretty crushed. I wrote the song originally as a slow, sad ballad.
As a songwriter, do you have a moment when you know an idea is special? Did you remember that feeling for Words?
I remember feeling like it was something special as I was first writing it. I had just gotten home after hearing the bad news that sparked the inspiration for the song. I slowly played the chords and just started singing what I was feeling. The first verse came out almost immediately. Within about an hour or so, the rest came pretty naturally as well. In that particular moment, the chorus felt to me like a chant. Words mean something. It was comforting to me in that moment.
I think I was absolutely sure about the song once I started working on it with the song’s producers, Wes Rodberg & Boone Wallace. Even though I brought them this pretty sad, contemplative song, it suddenly started having more life and fire in it. When Wes laid down drums I suddenly felt like the song — and my own feelings — had shifted from sadness and weakness to empowerment and strength. Now the chorus feels more like a kiss-off. Words MEAN something.
What does the perfect Taylor Noelle sound like? What goes into it?
An ideal Taylor Noelle song is deeply confessional and open and raw...over a sound that makes you move. I like my songs to have layers. I hope that people can listen to this song and dance and groove to it, and also stop to listen closer and feel identified with.
Your songs in the past leant more Singer/Songwriter and at times Americana, what made you want to change your direction?
I started to realize in the months after I put out my first project that the music I listened to on a normal basis sounded nothing at all like the music I had just put out into the world. I had been listening to artists like Haim, SZA, Childish Gambino, NAO, Frank Ocean, Rex Orange County, Phoenix...all pretty far out of a folksy, acoustic range. So I started trying to consciously be aware of that in both the songwriting and production process. The resulting sound feels much more honest.
What's next for Taylor Noelle?
Writing more songs! Living more life! I’m very proud of the music I’ve been working on lately. Every part of me wants it all out in the world right this second, but I also love being able to take my time with things and put in the real nitty gritty work for the songs. I’m in a really great community of creative people here in Nashville, and I’m just excited to continue making and sharing things I love with them.
What's the last thing you listened to today?
I’ve been obsessed with the Tierra Whack album. She is infuriatingly clever and has such a strong vision throughout the whole project. I watched the whole short film of videos last night before I went to bed.
I also recently just stumbled upon half•alive and their video for their song “still feel”. I had never heard of them before, and it literally came up as a suggested song on YouTube. Now it’s probably one of my favorite videos of all time.