Growing up in Huntsville, Ontario, Canada, singer/songwriter Alexis Taylor found herself escaping into her music. “Both my parents are songwriters, and are very musical. Music is a part of me — it has always been in my blood,” Taylor shared.
A very important step on the road to Nashville was the support of her high school music teacher, Mr. Tusz. However, it was the first concert she went to see in high school, Mayday Parade, that really influenced her to pursue a career in music.
Taylor originally wrote her debut single, “Blame the Whiskey”, for a college project. Lyrics she’d made up become ones she lived when she was with a man who only called when he was drunk.
“Blame the Whiskey” was my first single that I released, and an assignment from my songwriting professor in college. Though it was completely fictional when I wrote it, it could easily be seen as a prologue to my second single “How Do You Sleep”.
Your new single, “Bend The Truth”, reminded me of Dierks Bentley’s song “Say You Do” — until your line “ … won’t you lead me on and I’ll play the fool like I always do … ” . There’s a lot of resonating depth in your lyrics, especially telling the ex you feel like you’ve been played, yet are reaching out one more time — if you were to write a new version, from the man’s point of view, how would it go?
I take that as a huge compliment so thank you. I love that song, and Dierks’ music! If I were to rewrite the song from a man’s point of view, I feel like it would sound similar to “Say You Do” or even the duet “Lead Me On” by Gloriana. I think it is a topic that can be relatable for both men and women.
It is that depth that drew me to your music. I have an undergraduate degree in psychology. You said if you weren’t writing and performing, you’d have pursued a master’s degree in the field. Music can be healing, can help people through tough times … what songs do you play on repeat through trying times?
Music has an incredible power over people. There is hope and a unique connection that can be found in both lyrics and music of a song, especially when you face tough times in your life. Of course, as a singer/songwriter I have a variety of songs I enjoy listening to depending on my mood. But one song that has always gotten me through difficult times has been “Never Once” by Matt Redman. It is a beautifully written song and has truly helped me see the light in hard situations that I have faced.
From writing to release — saw your shout out to David Browning, Matthew Stevens, and Caleb Stevens for the amazing production, engineering, and mixing — can you step us fans through the process the song goes through, from the one in your head to the one we listen to? And how does an independent artist get a song to radio?
After I finish writing a song and am ready to take it to the studio, I pick a few existing songs that I want my song to sound like and show the producer. Then, I wait in anticipation as each instrument track is recorded, and watch as the song come to life! David, who produced the song, and Matthew and Caleb, who mixed, mastered, and played on the song, each played a huge part in that. It’s one thing to record a song, but to record a song with people that whole heartedly believe in you is completely different. I am lucky to have such a great team in my corner that took “Bend The Truth” to the next level!
As for radio, it is not very easy for an independent artist to get noticed. Radio promotion can cost sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, and most stations will only play bigger artists that are signed to record labels. So although there are lots of obstacles, I try to focus on getting my music heard on stations that will play independent artists, and will be going on a radio tour next month to promote my music!
Congratulations on being nominated for “Female Rising Star of the Year” at this year’s Josie Music Awards. Fans suggest nominees, but the actual nominations are done by industry leaders. What does that mean to be recognized by both fans and those in the music business?
Thank you! I was very surprised when I got the news of my nomination for “Female Rising Star of the Year” at the Josie Music Awards, as I know it is a very well known awards event in Tennessee. Recognition like this is always an encouragement, and really pushes me to work harder in every aspect of my music career. There are a lot of talented people that have been nominated, and it is an honor to be placed in the same category with them!
The Opry is one of your dream venues, so if they call, what two songs will you play in your debut? And your dream Canadian venue is?
If the Opry were to call me, I would probably play “Bend The Truth” along with a song that I have not released yet titled “Red White and Blue” that I wrote with my mother to commemorate my performance at the USO Northwest Gala that I got to sing at last year.
When we chatted last, you mentioned ketchup as one of the five things you ‘can’t live without’. Ok, favorite foods with the condiment? Favorite Nashville restaurants, before or after a show?
Yes! I eat ketchup on everything honestly. My friends always make fun of me for it. I have ketchup on steak, lasagna, Shepard’s pie, mac and cheese… the list goes on and on.
Of course, there are so many great restaurants in Nashville, but one of my favorites that is right downtown is called The Southern. Everything that I have had to eat when I have been there has been nothing short of amazing! Plus, they never judge me when I ask for a side of ketchup!