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SPOTLIGHT ON TAYLAH CARROLL

Taylah Carroll's new single To Please Ya is out now! We chat to the musician about the release and more.

Image: Nick McKinlay


Earlier this month, singer-songwriter Taylah Carroll shares her latest glistening track, To Please Ya. We caught up with the musician to chat about the songs stellar visual, her musical influences, what to expect from a Taylah Carroll live show and so much more!


Produced by Tim Harvey (Jade Imagine, Gena Rose Bruce), the track serves as a tongue in cheek documentation of Carroll's tendency to slip into 'people-pleasing' mode. Set atop a dreamy alt-rock and indie-folk, with the musicians captivating vocals taking centre stage.


The track is accompanied by an official visual, directed by Nick McKinlay. The visual depicts Carroll in a number of settings; a neon-lit lounge room, a typical Australian backyard and the beach, whilst performing the track from her electric piano. The visuals standout moments come with shots of Carroll grooving along to the track, standing on a speed boat drifting through the marina,


Growing up in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, Carroll has been performing since an early age, and whilst she wouldn't describe her family as musically inclined, she is related to Iron Maiden member Steve Harris. Known for her emotive live performances, the musician has supported the likes of Harrison Storm, Gena Rose Bruce, Boydos, Powderfinger's Darren Middleton, Olympia, Freya Josephine Hollick and more.


To Please Ya is out now! Read our interview with Taylah Carroll below.



Tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey...

I have always been singing and performing. I can’t really remember a time that I didn’t or haven’t been. I only really started writing songs ‘seriously’ at the end of High School and then throughout university started performing originals at open-mic nights. Then when I finished university, I decided to give music more undivided attention, and that’s when I started to release recorded music.




Can you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording songs?


It’s normally pretty spontaneous when I write, I don’t often sit down with the intention to create a song. Normally when I’m pottering, or driving, or walking, a melody line will come to mind, or a phrase, and then I sorta get taken away with it. I’ll record a voice memo or write the lyrics down in my phone notes and get to an instrument as quickly as possible. I then try to find the melody or chords I hear, and the song flows out from there. Most of the critically evaluative, or ‘editing’ part of the creative process comes after a song is near completion.




From what we’ve been told you love words, to listen to them, to think about them, to write them. What’s your favourite line from your track To Please Ya and why?


Haha, I do! My favourite line is ‘Two more years and a payment plan, put too much faith in the anchorman, just to please ya…’. I was feeling like I was living really passively at that time… letting life happen to me, or at me, and then putting it down to trying to please people around me, which is also an act of passivity, or at least a way to shift responsibility. Anyway, I guess I like the visual idea of the anchorman, feeling like you are contributing to your own life, but it’s not really being orchestrated by you, or presented by you, but then in other moments, feeling like you are presenting a truth that is a collection of attributions made by others.




To Please Ya is accompanied by a really cool visual, our favourite being the speedboat shots. How involved are you in the development of the visual?


The process of making a clip with Nick is really collaborative and co-creative. The boat idea itself was Nick’s. Normally when we start talking about making something, it starts with an initial idea of what I visualise for the song and then we expand on it together from there.




Can you break down the video for To Please Ya? The selection of locations and outfits within vignettes were quite contrasting.


Yeah, that contrast was an important element of what I wanted to communicate. The song really explores inner conflict and confusion, and the way we can sometimes channel our inner chameleon in order to please the people around us that we love, or be who we think we’re supposed to be in order to be ‘successful’, whatever that is… So yeah, I wanted to juxtapose two characters, it was really fun to be able to get so performative!



If To Please Ya was a piece of visual art, which artwork would it be?


Mark Rothko, White Over Red, 1957




Who or what are your influences when writing new music?


It’s a pretty personal process, and I’m mainly influenced by whatever I’m listening to at the time and whatever I went through emotionally about two months prior haha. I definitely require some distance from the feeling I’m writing about before I’m able to sit down and write about it. Processing needs to have been already done I guess, rather than writing from within the throngs of personal turmoil haha.




Did you encounter any challenges whilst creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic?


Yeah definitely. I think feeling generally uninspired. I was really uncertain about what music looked like to me personally in the future, which made me sad, which in turn, made me avoid music a little bit. I almost totally stopped playing. I am also someone who is more creative when I’m most busy, so I struggled with that as well.




Are you working on any new music? Will there be any new releases in the coming future?


I definitely am. I’ve got a really cohesive and complete chunk of work that will become an album very soon. I’m working on pre-production at the moment with Tim Harvey and have been feeling out all of the tracks with my band. I’ve already started writing songs that are going to exist on album number two, so I’m feeling very ready to get some more work out there.




Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts and why?


Oooh, this is just too hard. I really love Gena Rose Bruce, a captivating performer with pure and timeless lyrics. Elizabeth, I saw her play at the Gasometer last year and found her flawless as a performer. Olympia, love her music, as much as I love her brain more generally! The content she explores through her lyrics is very unique and done so well!




You've just launched the single with a performance at The Old Bar in Melbourne, what can audiences expect from a Taylah Carroll live show?


I’m equal parts terrified and excited for this gig. I’m going to step out from behind the guitar for a couple of songs to just sing and dance. I’m looking forward to moving around, existing in the songs in a different way and getting to channel some different characters.




RAPID FIRE



Biggest influences?

Father John Misty, Phoebe Bridgers, Tori Amos, Sharon Van Etten, Marlon Williams, to name a few… but influences are forever shifting and changing.


Dream collaboration?

Marlon Williams


Album that has had the most impact on you?

Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes or Radiohead’s The Bends


How do you define your musical style in 3 words?

Alt-folk meets alt-rock, with inflections of alt-country


A release you’re most looking forward to in 2021?

My friend Gena Rose Bruce’s new album.


If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?

The next Tarantino. I think that would be wild!


Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?

On likeness, I’d have to go Hannah Montana I guess, but maybe it looks like more fun being Miley. Admittedly, I’ve never seen an episode though, so I’m flying blind there.


Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?

I Love You, Honeybear, Father John Misty or Mutable Set, Blake Mills.


Last concert you went to?

To watch my friend Alana Wilkinson play as part of Brunswick Music Festival.


If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?

I’m obsessed with spicy stuff, so maybe Spicy Spice? Haha!


Guilty music pleasure? Never wanna feel guilty about any music, but... everyone loves to hate Coldplay, and I can’t not love 2000’s Parachutes. Nostalgia!


If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?

Phoebe Bridgers.


An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.

Jen Cloher


What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?

Well that’s a hard one to answer without the enlightenment of my future-self, but if I could project onto my future-self, what my current-self would tell my past-self, then probably just to worry less and enjoy the process.


The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?

­­I can’t remember a time I haven’t.