Taylor Noelle started off her music writing career with a song about a drunk bee in Germany as a fourth-grader. Now as an adult she’s writing about more complex emotions and getting vulnerable.
Recently, she released a music video for her song “Rely.” Though the song alludes to a broken romantic relationship, Noelle tells BTRtoday it’s actually about losing a close friend—something she finds even more heartbreaking.
“With a romantic relationship, you can break up. Even if it’s messy and awful, it’s still a breakup and it’s still over,” Noelle says. “But with a friendship ending, there’s no real “break up.” You’re just … not friends anymore. It can be difficult to rebalance yourself and find where to place your trust and vulnerability.”
Noelle’s music is passionate and sultry. She combines vintage-y singer-songwriter sounds to a contemporary melody with synth and vocal effects. Her music serves you exactly what Noelle is feeling on a silver platter.
Watch the video for “Rely” below and read the entire interview with Taylor Noelle below.
Taylor Noelle, “Rely”
BTRtoday (BTR): You have a kind of dreamy/retro vibe going on, do you have any specific influences musically?
Taylor Noelle (TN): I do my best to express an energy that is warm and inviting and timeless in my songs and visuals and everything else I create. I want everything I put out in the world to be something that someone can create an emotional connection with. Some artists that I look up to in this regard are Maggie Rogers, HAIM, King Princess, Tame Impala, Childish Gambino, I could go on. But I think my respect for an artist comes from feeling that vulnerability and invitation to emotional connection. So, that’s definitely what I strive for.
In terms of specific influences on my sound, I can definitely point to all the artists above. I love marrying and melting together sounds that are more vintage and retro with really modern pop production. So, I definitely turn to some of my favorite artists from the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s for inspiration in that regard, artists like Fleetwood Mac, the Beach Boys, Carole King and Diana Ross.
BTR: Your newest single “Rely” feels extremely intimate—do you feel like you got vulnerable for it?
TN: Oh wow, yes, absolutely got very vulnerable with it. It was one of those songs that I didn’t really plan on writing—it wasn’t a voice memo snippet or note I wrote down on my phone to go back to later or bring into a co-write. It pretty much all poured out at once. So, it’s very pure and very raw emotion. It was me processing the breakdown of a relationship. Even though I lyrically framed it to be open to it being interpreted as a romantic relationship, it was really about a friendship. Which I think made it harder to find closure. With a romantic relationship, you can break up. Even if it’s messy and awful, it’s still a breakup and it’s still over. But with a friendship ending, there’s no real “break up.” You’re just…not friends anymore. It can be difficult to rebalance yourself and find where to place your trust and vulnerability. So, those were all the emotions that the song was born out of.
BT: I see you went from California to Tennessee. Has that affected you creatively at all?
TN: I loved growing up in L.A., and I’ve had plenty of friends I’ve made in Nashville make the move out there to pursue creative fields. But for me, Nashville is really home now. I love the smalltown feel of it, I love the creative community here, and I love that it really feels like the pop music scene is really starting to take off. It’s exciting and inspiring to see everyone around me really hustling and trying to create something special.
Before I lived in Nashville, I was never a very collaborative artist. I just wrote songs alone holed up in my room. Now, I can’t imagine my day-to-day life without collaboration. I co-write with crazy talented writers and producers in town. I play shows and record my songs with my incredible band (all of whom have their own amazing musical hustles; shoutout Cass Gephart, Connor Ehman, Wes Rodberg, & Boone Wallace). I work on my visuals with amazing directors and photographers and cinematographers—most recently with Joey Brodnax and Drew Bauml on the “Rely” music video. So, Tennessee really opened up my world to collaboration.
BTR: If your music had a life motto, what would it be?
TN: Ooh! I like that question. I’ve actually genuinely had this phrase running through my mind the past few months: “Dance to the sound of being let down.” As an independent artist, you face a lot of hurdles and disappointments. Everyone faces hurdles and disappointments. But I do my best to not let negative things in my life bring me down and deter me. I want the things going wrong in my life to roll off of me and not be able to touch my inner peace. I still want to keep dancing, even when I’m sad. And I think that’s why I love writing upbeat sad songs, like “Rely.” I can lyrically deal with the sadness I feel, and still find some positive energy and light at the end of the tunnel.
BTR: Tell me a little about your musical past, what did the first song you ever wrote sound like?
TN: Oh my god. My first song I ever wrote was called “The Bee in Germany” and it was about a bee that flew to Germany to drink beer. I think it ended with a waitress swatting him off the glass he was drinking out of. I believe I was in fourth grade.
The next song after that was a love song I wrote in fifth grade about a relationship I made up in my head with my crush. I think it was about what I thought I would feel like if we ever dated and then broke up. So definitely jumping several steps ahead. I think that one was a sweet little song, though.
BTR: How do you think you’ve evolved musically?
TN: So. Much. I think the biggest steps I’ve taken as a musician and as an artist is being very intentional about everything I do. Because I used to be very unintentional. I didn’t write songs with a specific production vision in mind. I played acoustic guitar on all of my songs just to show that I could. I didn’t make any kind of distinctive visual choices. Making specific intentional decisions about all of these sorts of things transformed my process and helped me to find my artistic vision. Now, I feel a much greater sense of confidence and joy in my art, which only makes it better.
BTR: Tell me what we should be keeping an eye out for in the future of your music.
TN: A few more songs leading toward a full project in the spring. More videos I’m excited about and more shows. Woo!