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A chat with emerging country-pop songstress, Brooke Taylor

Before her upcoming show at Memo Music Hall.

When did you first start making music and what led you there?
 
Just towards the end of High School. I’d always written poetry (or songs with no instrumentation) even as a kid, but it wasn’t until I’d started playing guitar at around 17 that it became a ‘thing’.
 
I’d actually only started playing guitar cause my sister had one. Well, she got a steel stringed one then I inherited the nylon string one and took it and ran with it … almost literally.
 
Tell us about your new single ‘Your Side of Our Bed’. What is the story behind it? What inspired it?
 
Honestly, ‘Your Side’ is (I’m pretty sure) the only song I’ve written previously that’s not autobiographical.
 
I wrote it house-sitting for mates of mine that were at the tail-end of their relationship. I was in their lounge room and the energy of the place was off. But I thought ‘what if they had an honest conversation with one another, admitted their faults, had an airing of the grievances and came good. That’d be nice’. So that’s what the song’s about.
 
Your husky voice adds real charm to your music. How would you describe your unique pop sound and how did you come to it?
 
My ‘sound’ is a product of listening to a lot of ‘50s and ‘60s pop tracks growing up (legends like Dion and the Belmonts, Sam Cooke and The Everly Brothers) and finally allowing myself to go ‘full country’ in my vocal tone and expression, which, I’d kind of been holding back from for many years now cause of the stigma. I suppose every genre’s got a stigma; you’ve just got to go with what you connect with and what works for you.
 
As an adolescent I was into pop artists like Michelle Branch, KT Tunstall and Missy Higgins, then moved on to more of The White Stripes and The Black Keys, so more your rock and blues vibe. Nowadays there’s a lot more bluegrass and honky-tonk.
 
Since releasing ‘Love One’ you’ve had a few busy years playing tours and festival slots all over Australia. What has touring taught you and how has your music developed over this time?
 
I think touring just teaches you camaraderie and connection – with crew, bandmates and crowds; and strangers for that matter. Learning to contribute and have fun and play the game.
 
Bruce Springsteen said ‘people don’t go to gigs to learn something, they go to be reminded of something’, and I always try and remember that before hitting the stage (of any size) to make sure I’m connecting to what I’m doing, in the hope that people get something out of it.
 
To that end, musically now I just try and write with integrity, not that I didn’t before, but I realise that now it’s of paramount importance. Tell it like it is with an open mind and an open heart and be honest. Catchy hooks and chords progressions are also key. 
 
What can we expect from your single launch at the Memo Music Hall?
 
Firstly, the super talented Jess Parker & The Troubled Waters are supporting – brilliant sound, brilliant songs and such a presence on stage. If you’ve not seen them yet you’re in for a treat.
 
For me, I’m just so excited to play with a full band – a five-piece all up. We had rehearsal last week and I literally jumped up and down on the spot and cried I was so happy. To have my music (particularly new music) come to life like that, I’m very excited to play and for people to hear it. There’s a couple of guest singers and instrumentalists too. Should be a very happy Thursday indeed.
 
Is there any other news or any releases that fans should keep an eye out for?
 
Craig (Delsinki) and I are dabbling with some new tracks, but my main focus for the next six months or so is to play more band shows; I’ve got the taste for it now.
 
I’ve also been writing a lot more since coming back from the US. It was such an eye and ear-opening experience taking in the sounds of Tennesee, Texas and surrounds; such an education.
 
Beyond that, I’m looking forward to doing some more shows interstate next year as well – heading along the east coast and back to Perth. 

Brooke Taylor will launch her new single ‘Your Side of Our Bed’ at Memo Music Hall on Thursday November 15 alongside Jess Parker & The Troubled Waters. Tickets via the venue website.