Taylor Dee has lived a lot of life so far, and makes that perfectly clear on her debut album The Buzz.
Through the album’s 10 track journey, Dee delves into fun drinking songs, songs about the hardships of love, abuse and more, all the while featuring a diverse sound that mirrors the diversity of her influences.
Dee’s booming voice on songs like “Laying Down the Law” and “Sawtooth” is a force to be reckoned with and shows that she has the vocal chops to hang with anyone, and her tenderness on songs like “Pretty Ugly” and “I Hope You’re Happy Now” gives the album a strong balance.
Read along as Dee discusses her musical family and the moment she knew she wanted to pursue music as a career, what she hopes listeners take away from The Buzz, supporting other women in music, her plans for 2020 and more!
Pro Country: Who are some of your biggest musical influences that have shaped your sound?
Taylor Dee: Some of my biggest musical influences would have to be Pam Tillis, Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin, The Judds, Christina Aguilera, Jewel, Shania Twain, Gretchen Wilson, Chris Stapleton, Tyler Childers, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and even some gangster rap like Lil Wayne, Eminem, 2Pac, Bone Thugs, and Boyz II Men! I have a wide range of genres that speak to me; if the song moves me, it doesn’t really matter what genre it is. If it’s good, it’s good, and if it speaks to me or I can relate to it, then it’s on my playlist & on repeat.
PC: You started performing professionally at a very young age. What was it about music that connected with you so early in your life?
TD: My great grandma Carroll was a singer and keyboard player in the church, and she would always give me keyboard lessons and tell me to sit up straight and sing from your diaphragm. All of her sons were involved in music. My grandpa was a touring musician bass player, and he played for several famous bands throughout his career like the Isley brothers, Davis Frizzell and The Ventures. My dad was a bass player as well, and so was my uncle Kenny. My uncle Archie was a drummer in Oregon. Several of my aunts and cousins are vocalists, and one of my cousins when I was growing up had the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard, and at Christmas one year, she sang a song called “Strawberry Wine,” and in that moment, I thought that was definitely something that I might want to try because I knew I could sing (but no one else did at that time). I was seven years-old, and I remember being in the backseat of my mom’s car and she had Pam Tillis on the radio. She was jamming out to it and I was in the backseat singing along to “Maybe It Was Memphis.” My mom stopped the car, I continued to sing and she turned around in disbelief that I was belting those notes. From there on out, my parents put me in every contest & audition they could find.
PC: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue music as a career?
TD: I realized I wanted to pursue a career in music when I was in middle school. I sang at the mayor’s Christmas party in Dallas, Texas. I was involved in the All State Regional Choir; that’s when I started realizing this might be something I want to do for the rest of my life, because performing in front of that many people and hearing their reactions did something to me. I never wanted to get off of the stage.
PC: Why did you decide to name the album “The Buzz” and release that song as the lead single?
TD: Because it captured my fun side. It’s a fun, upbeat, catchy single. I thought it would be a great song to come out with first to radio. I thought a lot of people would be able to relate to it, because I know I can!
PC: “Pretty Ugly” is one of the standout tracks on The Buzz and tells a very detailed story. Can you talk about the inspiration behind that song?
TD: “Pretty Ugly” is one of my favorite tracks on the record. This song explains everything that I’ve been through in every relationship of my life, including some of the relationships that I watched my mom go through. Even at 12 years-old, I soon figured out how hard love and life could be. My mom got divorced after her husband of seven years cheated on her and moved us to a little house in a city where money was very important. I had no idea how I was going to make friends; money was tight and we (me, my mom and my brother) were all very stressed out.
My mom started dating guys to try to move on, and nothing really ever panned out the way she wanted or hoped. I watched her love so hard and pour her heart into relationships just to be mentally, verbally and physically abused. She was and is a great mom and did everything she could as a single mom to provide for my brother and I. She worked two jobs and went to college and didn’t deserve what she went through. Nobody ever deserves to be treated that way. It really affected me and my brother as we were growing up, but it also taught us a lot about life; as beautiful as life and love can be, sometimes it can get pretty ugly. One thing my parents taught me is to be a fighter. We are a family of fighters and we never give up.
PC: “Laying Down the Law” is our favorite song on the album, and features huge instrumentation and even bigger vocals throughout. Can you talk about the sonic inspiration you were drawing on as you were recording that song?
TD: When I was recording that song, all I was thinking about is situations that I have been in and relationships that turned abusive in my own life.
PC: “I Hope You’re Happy Now” is another great ballad on the album that seems like it tells a personal story. What is it about yourself that allows you to tell those kinds of stories and embrace the vulnerability that comes with it?
TD: Because I have lived it. Losing people around me has definitely made a major impact on my life. This song touched my heart, and I knew I had to sing this song for them. My two exes who passed away the last few years really impacted me in my life and my music. Real life spills over sometimes into the music, it just happens.
PC: On The Buzz album, you feature a blend of classic country and southern rocking sounds. Was it at all important for you to showcase that artistic versatility on the album?
TD: It was very important! Because I love so many different types of music, it was important to incorporate all of those types of styles. My dear friend and songwriter Chad Roland tells me I could sing the phone book if I wanted [laughs].
PC: What do you hope listeners take away from listening to The Buzz album all the way through?
TD: I want them to have some hope, a smile, maybe a laugh and some tears. Going on this journey has not been easy, and I want people to dance and enjoy life when they hear this album. I want people to feel empowered when they hear “Laying Down the Law,” and laugh when they hear “The Buzz” and toast with their friends around a camp fire..
PC: You are an ambassador for the Global Country Music Association which supports women in country music. How important is it for you to have your voice heard and to show that support for other female artists?
TD: I think that all women should be heard. Not only my voice, but things need to change. Club owners have told me over and over again that they don’t want us because I’m a female and they haven’t even heard us play or listened to the music. There is definitely some discrimination going on, and I think it’s total BS. Talent is genderless. The fact is there are a lot of great female artists out there that don’t ever even get a real shot, I just happen to be one of them and want to support other women in getting heard.
PC: You’re nominated for Rising Star (Female Vocalist) at the Josie Music Awards. What does it mean to you to be recognized in that way?
TD: It validated the work we have been doing. I was and am beyond grateful anytime I am nominated for an award. Josie and her mom are dolls, and I look forward to attending the awards again this year!
PC: What are your plans for 2020?
TD: Every day there are new opportunities, new music and more chances to spread our music. One of my agents and dear friends, Shai Berry, recently told me that Chad Roland and I are angels sent here to spread a message, so we are here to do our best and serve the man upstairs the best we know how! As far as new projects go though, we are gearing up to record a new album very soon! I am super excited to see what the new year brings us! Last year was just the beginning!
PC: Is there anything you’d like to add?
TD: Thank you for having me do this interview, it’s been a pleasure! I encourage people to check out my album, and again thank you for all of your love and support! And to the my fan family, thank you all from the bottom of my heart! We wouldn’t be doing any of this without y’all, I love y’all so much!
*Images courtesy of Taylor Dee*