Fresh off the stage performing at this year’s SXSW, we spoke with singer-songwriter Taylor Janzen who has one hell of a captivating stage presence. Off-stage, Taylor’s debut album Interpersonal allows you to be even more entranced with her powerful lyrics that are relatable for anyone going through similar life experiences. And isn’t that the best? To know you’re not alone? Taylor gets you.
The Young Folks: Before diving into your music, can you tell us a bit about how you got your start in music? When did you decide this is something you’d actually like to do professionally?
Taylor Janzen: I started out singing in talent shows, church, etc. Wherever I could. I’ve always known that it’s what I’m supposed to do, and I’m so grateful for everything that has made that possible so far.
TYF: When was the moment you realized how powerful lyrics can be?TJ: I’ve always been fascinated by lyrics. My first experience really examining lyrics was when I was around 10 or 11 and I fell in love with Taylor Swift’s songwriting. I would sit in my room with her albums for hours, reading the lyric books and trying to understand what each song was about. I love how wordy her songs are. In that way, I’ve definitely taken after her.
TYF: How has your songwriting evolved from the very beginning to now?
TJ: My songwriting now is a lot more open, musically. I still write all the lyrics by myself, but I love having other people’s input when it comes to the different textures and layers musically. It’s less of a solo experience now.
TYF: What is one song that just will forever hold a special place for you based on its lyrics?
TJ: “Tie Me Up! Untie Me!” by mewithoutYou. I’m obsessed with Aaron Weiss’ songwriting. Reading his lyrics feels like uncovering endless amounts of layers and that song, in particular, has always resonated with me so deeply.
TYF: I watched a video of you performing “Dennis Quaid” and I’m so bummed I’m not able to see you perform live! For when you are on stage, what are your thoughts running through your head to an audience listening to you for the first time?
TJ: When I’m onstage, I try my best to be as present as possible and not let my mind wander too much. When I think when you’re fully engaged with the song itself and it’s meaning, that will spread to whatever audience you’re playing in front of.
TYF: How familiar were you with SXSW before landing a spot?
TJ: I had heard lots of stories about it, but it wasn’t until I was actually there that I understood just how fun and chaotic and wonderful the experience is.
TYF: With SXSW and then Shaky Knees Festival in May, what else are you hoping to accomplish or knock off your list this year?
TJ: I’ve got some other festivals lined up! I’m heading to Cincinnati to play Bunbury in June and I’m playing my hometown festival in July. I’m really excited to visit some new cities this year and play as much music as possible.