by Isabella Soares
Winnipeg raised singer/songwriter Taylor Janzen has come a long way in the course of two years. Having released two ground-breaking EPs (Interpersonal and Shouting Matches) that quickly received praises from The New York Times and Billboard, as well as recently signing with Glassnote (same record label to sign bands like Mumford and Sons and Phoenix). While she was preparing for her North American tour with Half Moon Run, Stylus had the chance to speak to her about the liberating power of music to express ones feelings, the urge to create genre-defying work, and what she has learned being on the road.
Even though, Janzen was used to listening to strong female artists, such as Tegan and Sara and Brandi Carlile, who spoke without constraints about their personal struggles, little did she know that she could take refuge in music in the same manner. When asked if it was easy to express her feelings in a song, she replied: “Music is the most natural way to express emotions, and what I am going through. I’d say the hardest part would be to put it out for everyone to listen to.”
This is primarily due to the fact that Taylor considers her work as autobiographical, and at times a bit of a “downer” since they capture moments of distress over topics such as faith and mental health. “These topics are present in several parts of me growing up, in both positive and negative ways, and song writing has been my way of searching through how I feel about them. No matter how much I think about them, there is always something new to say.”
Although she has grasped listeners’ attention towards her candid and deeply relatable lyrics, Taylor Janzen is also highly appreciated by her “genre-less” music. Her latest single “What I do” takes over a pop sound that breaks away from her acoustic first EP, or even her indie/folk second one. These are only the building blocks for next work she will release.
“I am working on my first full length album, and there is a lot of new sounds and genres happening in it. I have songs that are folk and call back to my first EP, I have songs that are similar to my second EP, and then there are songs that are entirely new like “What I do”… I feel in my music that I am exploring so much and I don’t want to box myself in.”
This past year, Taylor has also had the experience of supporting Lucy Dacus and on tour in the US. She said that the sense of community on the road and excitement of playing to different audiences every night is a “feeling that never gets old”. So much so that she really anticipates this year’s tour, and having the chance to perform in various cities in both the U.S. and Canada.
Despite gaining international acclaim and now being able to work with musicians that she admired growing up, Janzen loves to come back to her hometown and remains passionate about its local music.
“I love Winnipeg a lot, there is a reason I haven’t moved which is that I am a very big nerd about this city. I think Winnipeg has one of the most underrated music landscapes in Canada. There are so many amazing bands, and I am a very big fan of the music in here.”
It is safe to say that Taylor Janzen will continue to impress listeners with her mesmerizing vocal range, the raw emotions she displays with each of her songs, and her fearlessness in trying new styles and genres that only complement the depth of her sound.