Interview with Taylor Simpson
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I got into music because it was an outlet for me to escape all the pain and trauma I was dealing with when I was a child. I would just lock myself away and play guitar for hours and try to write my feelings down into lyrics and sing out all the stuff I was dealing with at the time. My uncle’s were such a huge influence on me in terms of growing up and listening and sharing their music taste with me. They also bought me my first guitar and really drove me to learn more and continue my passion.
If I wasn’t doing music today, I’d probably be playing hockey in some capacity or I would’ve gone to school to become a psychologist. Both things I’m still very much interested in, they just both left the train station so to speak. Music has been my everything for the last 5-10 years now.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love hanging out with my friends, going for a nice dinner, seeing a movie, going to an arcade bar, to the beach, etc. But honestly so much of my life revolves around music, that there isn’t a lot of time that I’m not surrounded by it. My favourite thing to do outside of my own music, is to see other people play music haha. I love going to concerts, it’s my number 1 thing I love to do. Whether it’s my friends playing a local show or a bigger band coming into town. I think just keeping myself engaged and active in the music scene helps me find creativity. I learn things from everyone I see in concert.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been making my own music since I was 16. I started playing guitar around 13, but mostly just covers and trying to learn how to play. I didn’t start writing my own songs until the end of middle school/beginning of high school. Then I didn't start performing until around 18. I had terrible stage fright.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based out of Toronto, Etobicoke more specifically. But I grew up in Peterborough, a small city just north of Toronto. I think growing up in a smaller city allows me to tap into the more folk driven side of myself, whereas now living in Toronto, I feel more connected to the rock side. I guess indirectly the places I’ve lived have affected my sound in one way or another.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
I’ve had the fortune of playing quite a few shows in my life already, which I try not to take for granted. I would say I have 3 that stand out the most; 1, my old band The Common Chase put on a charity show for the charity Music Counts and raised over $800. 2, Another Common Chase show, our album release at The Horseshoe which we sold out. Finally, a solo act show just recently this year that I played. It was my debut album release show. I had all my friends come out and support me, it was such a lovely evening that I’ll never forget.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I don’t really know if I have a favourite place to play at. If I had to choose, I guess I would say Supermarket in Kensington market, Toronto. I’m just grateful to play anywhere these days.
I would love to play The Danforth Music Hall one day, that’s been one of my fave venues for a while now!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Wow, what a question! It would have to be City and Colour, Phoebe Bridgers and Current Swell. I would lose my mind if I ever got to play a show with any of them!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Make sure you love it.. it takes a lot of work. Have a lot of patience with yourself and realize it’s going to take time. Be in it for the right reasons too. There’s really no glam or fame in this unless you make it big, which 90% of us won’t. You have to love it and not want to do anything else more and be doing it purely for that reason. That’s just my opinion obviously, this is a hard industry to be in. But I love writing songs and performing them, it’s a feeling I can’t get anywhere else in my life.
As for my younger self.. learn more music theory haha.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Hmm.. this is like asking to pick a favourite child or something haha. That’s so difficult because every song I write plays a different role in my life. They all come from some place I was in where I needed to get something off my chest. It’s constantly changing which one I’m relating to more. I guess as of right now, it’s one of my new songs called Bitter Apology. It’s about a break up I had recently, with someone I still care about and wish them all the best, it just didn’t work out. Those ones are always tougher to get over in my mind.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
My favourite songs to play live right now are a reimagined version of my song ‘Follow My Heart’ and my other song ‘Learn to Live’ (which is usually my closer). I love playing those songs live, because they’re very high energy, a lot of fun riffs, plus it gets the crowd moving and dancing, which is what I love!
I’m still too new to be getting requests, but I’ve had a lot of friends really enjoying my new song I released in August called ‘Long Time Coming’.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
My process is usually me sitting down noodling away at my guitar, until I find a cool chord progression I like. Then I hum some melodies, figure out the delivery of the words. Then I’ll sit with the music part for a while and let it speak to me, like what is this song trying to say and how do I feel. I’ll take my dog for a walk, usually along the lakeshore path by my house, or in the woods. I’ll start coming up with words and phrases that fit that feeling or emotion I’m trying to capture. I’ll wrap it all up in a demo I make in my bedroom studio. Then I send it off to my producer/best friend Adriano Loparco of Stone Roof Studios for his input.
A lot of what I write about is personal experiences. I don’t shy away from sensitive subject matter. I wear my heart on my sleeves if you will. I’ve been battling with depression, anxiety and OCD since I was 13. My parents died when I was really young. I’ve attempted suicide on multiple occasions. I’ve had a drug addiction. I’ve been battling with alcoholism. So on and so forth. So a lot of my songs derive from that. My indirect goal from writing songs so personal like this, is hopefully others will listen to my songs and not feel alone if they’re going through similar things. They can find the drive and determination to see it through to the next day.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
Like I stated above, I write very personal songs, about a lot of sensitive and vulnerable things. I guess I would like to spread hope, love and belongingness. I want to make people feel safe and comforted. I want them to know that they are not alone in their battles with their demons.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
My plans now are to release my second album, coming out November 18th! Then play as many festivals and shows as I possibly can for the remainder of this year and all next year! Hopefully do an Ontario tour and then who knows maybe a cross Canada tour!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Thank you so much for this interview first and foremost! I really appreciate you giving me the time and space to answer these questions for your audience!
Yes, if anyone wants to keep up with me, I’m on literally every social media platform as @taylorsimpsonmusic , I’m most active on Instagram and Tik Tok. You can stream my songs on Spotify, Apple Music etc - Taylor Simpson is what it’ll be under! Along with my Youtube channel for all my music videos! Thanks again so much for the support, it really does mean so much to me!