Taylor Greenwood Talks New Music, "All Around Me", Working with Dave Grohl, and More
Wed, 20 Feb 2013 14:18:45
"I want to bring good music back to pop radio," declares Taylor Greenwood.
If anybody can do it, it's the Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter. She elegantly crafts diverse and dynamic pop with a rock edge—provided by none other than Dave Grohl. Right now, Greenwood is in the studio prepping the follow-up to her stunning EP, All Around Me, with Grohl assuming instrument duties. Greenwood's about to become your new favorite artist. Start paying attention now…
In this exclusive interview by ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Taylor Greenwood talks her new music, All Around Me, working with Dave Grohl, and so much more.
Did you approach All Around Me with one vision or vibe in mind?
It happened to be a period in my life where all of the songs meshed together well. Really, it was one guy [Laughs]. I was living in New York at the time. I just moved back to Los Angeles about six months ago. In some ways, I felt like the EP was my last chance to "do it" because I was waiting tables and struggling. I hadn't done anything musically in like a year because I didn't have time. Then, I realized that was bullshit. I bartended until two in the morning, so I'd set my alarm to 9, write all day, and go back and bartend. That was an interesting period.
Is it important for you to tell stories and paint visual pictures with the songs?
Absolutely! I would never write a song that I wouldn't have a conversation with someone about. The lyrics have to mean something to me. I have the "Notes" in my iPhone opened all the time for when something inspires me. Since I've moved to Los Angeles, I've been doing a lot of co-writing, and I've had more time to write constantly. I draw from a ton of different experiences.
What's the story behind "Picture of Us"?
That was about the boy [Laughs]. We had this really wonderful romance in New York, and he was the first person I really liked. Of course, you can probably guess the ending. He just stopped talking to me, calling, and texting after we had spent several months together. I wrote that song in literally twenty minutes. I came home to my apartment in Brooklyn, sat down on the bed, and I was so sad. I just picked up the guitar, and the first line came to me. It was like one of those moments where I didn't think about it. It just came through me. It was pretty cathartic. If you listen to the lyrics, I didn't judge him or blame him. I have this pretty image of us together in my mind.
You tell these powerful and painful stories in a beautiful way.
A lot of the songs on the EP are sad. I like to combine those two things. I'm super honest.
What artists shaped you?
I'd have to say The Beatles and Motown. My father forced me to listen to The Beatles on a road trip when I was eight-years-old [Laughs]. I listened to all of their albums for ten hours and then I was hooked. They definitely shaped me. Then, there was Stevie Wonder, Etta James, and Billie Holiday. I love straight up pop music like Janet Jackson. I'll never deny liking straight-up Top 40 pop music.
If you were to compare All Around Me to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
I'd say a romantic comedy, but maybe an independent one [Laughs]. It's still real! That's an interesting question. Nobody's ever asked me that before. What would you say?
Maybe 500 Days of Summer…
Sure, but I think it's sexier [Laughs]. You could see my music playing in a romantic comedy.
What's the direction of the new material?
It's a little bit different. I think I've grown a lot as a songwriter. I decided that this is it, and I've given myself the past six months to just write and make music. It's the most amazing thing ever. It's interesting working with Dave because I'm writing pop songs, but he's playing all the instruments and coming into the studio to give his advice. I feel like I'm taking the storytelling to the next level.
Have you heard Taylor Greenwood?
See our review of All Around Me here!