“I always said if Eric Church and Joss Stone had a baby, that’s what you’re going to hear when you hear me.” This self-description of up-and-coming country singer Christina Taylor couldn’t be more accurate, blending soul and country grit in a way that poises her as one of country music’s potential breakout artists.
Her first breakup coincided with her first trip to Nashville, a set of coincidences that almost seem like an act of fate. It was on this crucial journey she co-wrote one of her breakout songs. “That Girl,” tells the story of how Taylor became just that – someone suddenly racked with anxiety, staying up all night wondering what her boyfriend was doing and who he was with. Once the relationship ended, Taylor knew she needed to put her experience to music.
“I was like ‘wow, I am totally being that crazy girl that everyone talks about, I’m becoming that girl.’ And I said it and everyone just kind of stopped and was like ‘that’s the exactly what the song needs to be about, it needs to be about that girl everybody talks about,’” Taylor explains of the writing process. “I just knew exactly what I wanted to talk about, I knew exactly what I wanted to say and I was sick of being quiet about it and holding it in for such a long time.”
In her young career, Taylor has sung a lot about love – she has a track titled “Love is the Reason,” after all – but admits that before her first major heartbreak, she didn’t understand the true meaning of love. “I would sing about it before, but I didn’t really know what love was really all about until you experience it,” she reveals. “And it made me a lot better songwriter to go through that heartbreak, for sure.” The power-filled song has also become an anthem for other women who’ve been in the same position as the young singer, assuring them that you can become the independent, strong-willed person you are.
One element that Taylor believes makes the song special is the fact that she put herself in a vulnerable position to admit her faults in the relationship; being fearless in admitting that she became someone she never thought she would. “Everyone has a moment like that in a relationship where maybe you do something crazy. I’m just not afraid to admit it and I think that resonates with people,” she said. “I don’t think anyone has really ever said it in a song and been like ‘yeah you know what, you made me crazy, but I’m not going to stay this way.'”
“That Girl” and “Don’t Look Good in Your T-Shirt Anymore” not only show off Taylor’s compelling songwriting skills, but also the engaging grit and power in her voice that make her a standout vocalist. She cites Church as her “favorite country artist of all time,” admiring his way with words, and combines his influence with that of R&B and soul singer Stone, along with Pink, the latter of whom she calls her biggest influence due to her unapologetic honesty.
“I don’t want to be anything but raw and real,” Taylor recalls telling her team when she came to Nashville. “I just want to say everything and be truthful and I don’t want to sugarcoat anything. I just want to be real in my career, because I know I appreciate that so much from artists who are just so straight up and real because I feel like that’s when you can relate the most.”
Through this bold sense of authenticity, Taylor is bound to accomplish her ultimate dream: to touch people with her music. The daughter of parents who both pursued careers in the medical field, her father an ER doctor and mother a nurse, Taylor always thought she would follow in their footsteps. While she may not put on a pair of scrubs when she heads to work, Taylor has realized that she actually did enter a profession of healing.
“I realized as I got older that I was going to be in that field, but it was going to be through music,” Taylor describes. “So I hope that my music can heal people and help them through whatever they’re going through because I know how it feels to be going through a hard time and listen to an artist’s song and be like ‘they just said exactly what I was thinking in my head’ or exactly how I feel. It’s like the best feeling in the world and music can really get you through a lot of things.”
Taylor’s album “That Girl” is available now.