- Hello Taylor, can you tell us all a little bit about yourself before you became a country singer?
It’s hard to imagine a time when I wasn’t a country singer! Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to sing. I always loved performing, putting on little talent shows at home and singing to my favorite songs at the top of my lungs, but I didn’t start my music career till I was around the age of 18. Before I decided to follow my dreams, I was heavily involved in athletics; volleyball to be exact. I played for several years and had plans on going to college on a scholarship…God had other plans for me though! I suffered from a knee injury my junior year and was never able to fully recover from it which led me back to the music path; I would say it was a blessing in disguise for sure.
I started taking guitar lessons then and my teacher realized I could sing. After about three lessons, he called my parents and told them he wanted to take me to Nashville to sing on a TV comcast called “Nashville Spotlight.” My parents were quite confused; how could I possibly know how to play guitar that quickly, but he explained to them it was my ability to sing that gave him the idea. They had never really heard me sing before; I did choir growing up but nothing that ever would have showcased my talent. After playing my first show in Nashville, I caught the performance bug and knew this was what I was meant to do.
I started singing for the show every few months, started diving into songwriting, and playing open mics in my hometown. Once I was old enough to get into bars and travel on my own, I started playing with a guitarist several days a week, traveling and performing wherever we could, and I loved it! So many great memories, funny and crazy, that had been made. Several years later I made the move to Nashville with my husband to keep pursing my dreams in the country music world. Almost four years in music city; playing, writing, creating new friendships, releasing my own music and now releasing my next single! Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for these gifts and the opportunities I’ve been giving. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.
- What made you want a career in country music?
Like I mentioned before, I’ve always loved to sing and perform. The stage is my home; it is where I feel like my true self and honestly, it makes me feel alive! I grew up listening to country music along with some southern rock and blues which is where I get a lot of my style and influence from. We always had music playing in the house too. I remember waking up on Sunday mornings to the sound of music blaring through the surround sound speakers and the smell of fresh blueberry pancakes in the kitchen. Music was something my family always connected with; my dad had the same taste in music as me and my mom was a professional singer back in the day so I guess you could say it runs in our blood.
What I always loved about the country music we listened to was the story telling aspect of it. Real life situations, good and bad, being told in song and they were stories you could relate to or at least understand when listening to them. I also loved the power and confidence that I heard when jamming to female artists like Reba, Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert (my favorite) and Carrie Underwood. Hearing them belt it out made me want to join in and sing my heart out too. Their songwriting inspired me as well. Honest, feisty, and true to who they are and owning it. I wanted to be just like these strong and talented women.
- How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words?
If I had to describe my music in 3 to 5 words, I guess I would say that it’s edgy, sassy, passionate, gutsy, and honest.
- What is the background story behind your brand-new single “High on Something?’
My new single, “High on Something,” was a fun one to write with my co-writer, Stefanie Joyce. Her and I had written multiple songs together before this but none of them were ever love songs. For us, that just wasn’t a subject we typically wrote about because our styles are a little more sassy and edgy. Love songs have a tendency of turning out cheesy if they’re not done right. We walked into the writing room that day though and decided that it was time to take on this challenge BUT we had to make it our own. If we were going to try a love song, then it had to be done right and it had to be different then other love songs people hear all the time. We wanted to write about a relationship that already had a foundation; one that probably had its fair share of ups and downs but was still strong and still growing each day. We took ideas from things that we both enjoy (bourbon, cowboy boots, etc.), things that don’t last long, and then compared them to the kind of love we have with our husbands and basically tried to write how we feel about them…of course without crossing that cheesy line! By the time we were through writing it, I knew I had to cut it. It might have been a love song, but it still had that “Taylor Hughes” stamp on it. It was also a chance to really showcase my vocals in a way that not only showed power but also a little vulnerability. It’s a song I’m proud to release.
- Who are some of your musical icons?
I get inspiration from multiple artists, but I would say some of my biggest influences are Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde, Gretchen Wilson, and Chris Stapleton. Miranda Lambert has always been my idol. Her songwriting, her ability to tell a story, and her badass attitude are something I’ve always connected with, and I’d say that is why I love Ashley and Gretchen as well. The three of them are a great example of strong, independent and unbelievably talented women. Chris’ style, vocals and storytelling are something I admire as well. I mean, talk about a powerhouse vocalist, I could listen to him all day. His ability to blend blues, country and a little southern rock are something I really connect with as well since my style is very similar. The both of us are also Kentucky artist so there’s a little favoritism there!
- What are a few of your favorite venues to play at?
I have been blessed with a lot of opportunities to travel, meet new people, and play at some pretty awesome venues. If I had to pick, I would say my favorite spot to play in my hometown is at The Elkhorn Tavern. It’s a great bourbon bar in the distillery district and the audience is always an absolute blast! Another spot I really enjoy playing that I’m sure most songwriters love is The Listening Room in Nashville.
- What is your recording process like when making and creating new music?
When I’m making new music, the recording process really depends on the song. When I first started writing, my focus was the melody, lyrics and how to play it on guitar. I didn’t put much though into the whole picture until I started working with more and more people in Nashville. I learned how each piece of the puzzle is equally important and that you need to have an idea of how you want the song to sound before walking into the recording studio… it makes life a whole lot easier. Now when I’m writing, the melody is still a big focus for me since I’m a singer, but I also start imagining where different instrumentation will come in, where will the build up be and where (if needed) does the song need to “breathe.” I also try to imagine what a music video would look like for the song which helps when writing the lyrics. Once the ideas start to come together, I can go into a studio and start focusing on the story telling aspect of it. This is such an important part of what I do as an artist. It’s one thing to sing a song but it’s whole other level to be able to tell a conveying story and to connect with your audience.
- What is one of your favorite quotes?
I recently did a piece in a health and wellness magazine where I talked about juggling a music career and mental health. I referenced a quote in the article that I love and has always stuck with me. “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there is still going to be someone who hates peaches.”- Dita Von Teese. I love this quote and I think it’s one that everyone can take something from, especially in the music industry. Sometimes as an artist, we get caught up in trying to please everyone and we try to make music that everyone will love but the reality of it is, is that it isn’t possible. You can realistically make everyone happy, and you shouldn’t try to. That’s way too much pressure to be putting on yourself! We should make music because we love it, because it’s what we were born to do. Once you start creating art for the right reasons, the right audience will follow and that is who you want to connect with.
- Is there anything else you would like to share?
I am very excited for the world to hear my new single, “High on Something.” Releasing music is always an exciting process but this song showcases another side of me; one that most probably have never heard. It’s a little scary but also exhilarating! I want to show people that I’m not a one trick pony and that though I love to sing a fun party song and have a good time, I’m also capable of being vulnerable. This is also a song that really showcases my powerful vocals, and everyone needs a good ballad, right? I am very proud to be releasing this single and I hope everyone loves it!