Taylor Rae Bio
Powered by insightful, poetic and deeply personal lyrics, Taylor Rae’s music is propelled by a voice that, while wholly unique, could best be described as a sizzling folk, jazz and blues hybrid of Norah Jones and Grace Potter. The singer calls her musical style soul and roll: “It's not really soul music; it’s not really rock ‘n’ roll. It's a blend of all the roots genres that come from the earliest days of American music,” she explains.
Born in Santa Cruz and raised in nearby Ben Lomond, Taylor Rae Vencill’s eclectic musical journey took her first from California’s Central Coast to Los Angeles. Then, in 2018, she relocated to Austin, which, like her birthplace, offered the space and freedom to be true to herself both as an artist and an individual. Throughout her career she has remained nomadic, traveling countless miles to grace a plethora of stages from iconic Santa Cruz venues Moe’s Alley, Kuumbwa Jazz and the Catalyst, to Hollywood’s prestigious Hotel Cafe and the second stage at legendary Austin nightspot Stubb’s. Taylor has shared the stage with a variety of artists including Brandy Clark, The Stone Foxes, Kristian Bush and Reggae musician Mike Love. In 2017, Taylor won Santa Cruz NEXTies Award for Musician of the Year.
The natural surroundings of her youth have provided limitless inspiration for Taylor’s craft, as have myriad musical influences ranging from Bonnie Raitt and Carole King, to Simon & Garfunkel and Steely Dan, among others. Taylor wrote her first song at age 8, taught herself guitar at 12, and played her first paid gig by age 15.
With her debut album, Mad Twenties, Taylor delivers 12 original tracks exhibiting a sophistication and maturity beyond her years. Helmed by producer William Gawley, the musical styles run the gamut from acoustic folk to Led Zeppelin-tinged rock and roadhouse blues, while also incorporating jazz and psychedelic influences. A largely chronological concept album, Taylor’s incisive lyrics similarly cover a broad emotional landscape, with a blossoming – then withering – romance charted from start to finish in stunning confessional detail. The gently rolling opening cut, “Window,” inspired by a psychedelic experience, affords the first inviting glance into the real-life relationship on which the majority of songs are based, while the sweetly romantic first single, “Fixer Upper,” offers an optimistic view forward. The paths of touring musician and romantic partner converge in the grease-streaked blues of “Home on the Road.” Taylor’s vocal prowess for searing blues-rock is demonstrated in the electrifying “Forgiveness,” as well as in the raw, edgy and politically charged “Never Gonna Do.” Both represent a brief but compelling detour from the album’s autobiographical approach. “Taking Space,” a darkly bittersweet epilogue to the love story, closes out the collection.
“Recording the album was very cathartic; it reflects my own personal journey of self-actualization, awareness and growth,” admits Taylor, “now I look back on this experience with gratitude.”