An artist with a clear sense of direction is a powerful artist, and with a new single on the horizon, Taylor Hughes is a powerful artist.
With less than two weeks until the release of her newest single, “High On Something,” due on November 19th, Taylor Hughes is set to close 2021 on a high note and create momentum rolling into 2022. Hughes’ new single follows her last release, “Prayin’ to the Whiskey,” released in February. When we chatted with her for that release, she mentioned wanting to enjoy the artistic process more. Since then, she’s tightened her circle of collaborators, stayed busy both in writing rooms and on the road and has put chasing mainstreams success on the back burner, and the results speak for themselves with “High On Something,” the first love song she has released, which also serves as an expansion of her country rocking sound.
We caught up with Hughes to talk about enjoying her artistry, all about “High On Something,” sonic versatility, her big plans for 2022 and more!
Pro Country: The last time we talked, you mentioned that you wanted to enjoy the artistic process more. Since then, how have you been able to do that and what steps have you taken to do so?
Taylor Hughes: Since the last time we spoke, I have done a ton more writing! Though this year has been very busy with touring and just being on the road a lot more, I’ve still managed to allow myself to be creative in the writing room. When I first moved to Nashville, the thought process was to write with as many people as I can and just to really get my name out there. Over the past few years and since talking with you last, I’ve really been focusing on writing with people I know I work well with; writers/artists that I know I can truly connect with and create something special. It can take some time, but once you find your tribe, you can really write something you’re proud of. I’ve started doing more brainstorming before my sessions with fellow writers so that I’m able to offer good ideas and we have more to work with. I’ve also stopped trying to write for radio and started writing for me. I have allowed myself to dive deeper into my emotions, feelings and beliefs and have really tried to incorporate that more into my music. I’ve realized that if I just put myself into my songs and let myself be a little more vulnerable, my audience will connect with me on a greater level. I also quit my part time job in order to do my music 100% of the time, and let me tell ya, it’s been fantastic! It has removed so much stress and exhaustion; now I’m able to focus and put all my attention into what I truly love: my music.
PC: Your new single, “High On Something,” is set to be your first single release since February’s “Prayin’ to the Whiskey.” How excited have you been as release day has approached to have new music released and to close the year strong?
TH: I am so excited to be releasing more music! “Prayin’ to the Whiskey” was really fun to promote and it has opened a lot of doors for me. My fans have been so supportive and have been itching to hear more music from me, so I’m thrilled to be able to deliver for them. This will be my first release that I’ll be able to have a party/show to promote it; who doesn’t love a party, am I right?! I’ve been working hard this year with being on the road constantly (which I LOVE), writing even more, and just life in general, so to end 2021 with another release is rewarding. It makes me even more excited for what’s to come next year.
PC: Why did you feel that “High On Something” was the right follow up to “Prayin’ to the Whiskey”?
TH: My first two releases, “Good Taste” and “Prayin’ to the Whiskey,” were fun, rockin’, party songs. I think they were a good way to introduce myself as an artist and for people to get a feel for what I do; the edgy and sassy woman that I am. But now that fans have gotten a good taste (no pun intended) of my music, I thought it was time to showcase a different side of me. I’m not a one trick pony, and there’s more to me than meets the eye. This song showcases a more vulnerable part of who I am, and it allows me to really show off my vocal chops. When Stefanie Joyce and I wrote this song, we knew it had to be just right, because love songs tend to be cheesy. I told her, “It has to have that ‘Taylor’ stamp on it.” I wasn’t going to release a love song unless it truly felt like me, and it couldn’t be your typical love song either. I think we were both proud of what we created that day in the writing room.
PC: You co-wrote “High On Something” with Stefanie Joyce. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the song?
TH: “High on Something” was an interesting one to write, but also so much fun. It actually started out as a “challenge” song for my co-writer, Stefanie Joyce, and myself. The both of us never really dove into the love song world before, because our styles were more gutsy, edgy and feisty, and let’s face it, love songs are overdone and can be a little tacky. I knew I needed one in my catalog though, but it had to be different than what listeners are used to hearing. We decide to take the approach of writing it from the view of someone that was in a relationship that already had a foundation; one that had ups and downs, but was growing and still strong. We were inspired by our marriages and past relationships, by things we both enjoy like bourbon and cowboy boots. We mixed these things together along with some Chris Stapleton vibes (he is a big influence on me) and “High on Something” was born!
PC: “High On Something” takes a bit of a different path from your usual country-rocking sound, falling more in line with a country ballad sound. Is it at all important to have a certain level of versatility in your sound and to be able to expand it in certain ways?
TH: I definitely think it’s important as an artist to show some versatility in my music. When people hear or think about my music and my brand, certain things come to mind: edgy, gutsy, sassy, and sometimes a little dark, but I also have a whole other side to me. I’m passionate, I can be vulnerable at times, and I’ve experienced a lot of heartbreak, but also a lot of love thanks to my wonderful husband (a big inspiration for this song). I want to show my fans that I’m not a one trick pony and that I can deliver something meaningful. I actually love writing and singing ballad-style songs, though they’re typically sad songs. Those kinds of songs really allow me to showcase my vocal range and to really put some emotion into the storytelling aspect of my performances. Some of my most popular original songs and covers that people request are ballads. I also like to keep people guessing and to surprise them with something different! I don’t ever want to be considered “predictable.”
PC: Of the things you can control, what are your plans for the rest of the year and going into 2022?
TH: I have so much in the works and a lot of plans for the coming year! “High on Something” isn’t officially released till November 19, and I’m already starting to plan my next project. I have a lot of material that I want to get out there, and my fans have been asking for an album release; I guess we’ll just have to wait and see! I’m also working on a lot of festival gigs and mini tours in Texas and Florida as well. The goal in 2022 is to travel a whole lot and to expand even more. I’ve been designing new merchandise and have created a new logo that I’m really excited about. I’m also teaming up with some fellow artists and friends of mine to co-headline some shows. I know it’ll be a lot of work, but I am ready for it.
PC: Is there anything you’d like to add?
TH: I am so thrilled to be releasing this new single and I hope the fans are excited too. “High on Something” is a special song for me, and I think people are going to really connect with it. I am so thankful for everyone’s support, and to you, Justin, for supporting independent artists like myself. 2022 is going to be a crazy but amazing ride, so y’all better buckle up!