Booneville, Kentucky native and Nashville living singer/songwriter Taylor Austin Dye has spent the past decade on stage and honing in on her artistic identity. With a handful of releases under her belt, she feels that she has found her lane with the release of her newest single “Mean” in December of 2019.
Sonically, Dye set out to make “Mean” a mixture of the 90s country and southern rock she drew influence from, and does just that, with the booming song landing somewhere between the style of Miranda Lambert and Gretchen Wilson, and fills a lane that is often under-appreciated in the wide array of country music stylings.
Read along as Dye discusses her musical roots, real inspiration behind “Mean,” what she has learned over her decade-plus career, her plans for a big 2020 and more!
Pro Country: Who are some of your biggest musical influences that have shaped your sound?
Taylor Austin Dye: I am a lover of all types of music. I am constantly influenced by all the music I listen to and have listened to over the years. Some of my biggest influences are Susan Tedeschi, Miranda Lambert, Hank Jr., Jo Dee Messina, and more recently, Kacey Musgraves and Ashley McBryde.
PC: When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
TAD: I have been playing and singing since I was 5 years old. I always knew I wanted to be an artist and have been pursuing it in some way or another ever since.
PC: You released your single “Bad Habits” last year, which features traces of many different genres throughout the song. Was it at all important for you to showcase that versatility in your sound with that song?
TAD: I released “Bad Habits” in 2018 shortly after I moved to Nashville. This song was a learning experience for me, and I really took the chance to explore myself as an artist. I am really glad I chose to do that, because it was so different than anything I had done in the past, and it challenged me to get out of my comfort zone.
PC: In February, you released a music video for your single “White Oak,” and it has since gone on to receive over 30,000 views. What do you think it is about that song that has allowed in to connect with people the way it has?
TAD: When I wrote the song “White Oak” in 2016, I no intention of releasing it. I was losing my grandma, and I spent a lot of time thinking about my childhood at my grandparents’ home place on White Oak, and as a songwriter, a song came out of it. I was recording my first album at the time, and I took my guitar in the studio and sang it for the producer, and he told me to get in the booth and record it. After one take, we decided to throw it on the project as an acoustic bonus track, and the rest was history. A lot of people can connect with this song because everyone has a place that brings so many good memories and nostalgia. For me, that place was White Oak. The music video was shot on our farm there, and it is so special to me!
PC: Your newest single “Mean” showcases a more rocking, Gretchen Wilson-esque sound than “Bad Habits.” Can you talk about recording “Mean” and the vibe you were hoping to capture?
TAD: “Mean” has been my favorite song to perform live for quite some time now, and I knew I wanted to eventually release it. Writing this song was a turning point for me as an artist stylistically, and I am very proud of how it came together in the studio. When we went into the studio to track this song, I told the guys to put it somewhere between 90s country and southern rock, and somehow they translated what was in my head into the world perfectly. When I heard the mix the first time, it was so clear to me that this was the kind of music I wanted to put out and continue to put out.
PC: “Mean” talks about a different side of your personality/alter ego that Jim Beam brings out of you. How true do the song’s lyrics ring to your true life?
TAD: A lot of people think this song is about me, but I actually wrote this song about my mom! We all know the people that can’t handle their liquor because they get mean, and that is definitely her. Don’t tell her I told y’all that [laughs]. Being from Kentucky, I am an avid bourbon drinker, but I am very much a lover through and through. 🙂
PC: You have over a decade of performing experience, and continue to perform regularly around Nashville. What is the biggest thing you’ve learned in that decade of performing?
TAD: I think the biggest thing I’ve learned over the years is that you have to make a genuine connection with your audience and the people around you during the performance. The energy in the room is so important to me not only to have a good show, but to ensure everyone out front is enjoying it as much as I am!
PC: What are your plans for 2020?
TAD: I am planning to release 2 more singles in the upcoming months! The first one being “Salt on the Wound,” followed by “Like You Do.” Hopefully y’all will follow along with me and have a chance to listen to those soon!
*Images courtesy of Taylor Austin Dye*