Interview: Lorelei Rose Taylor’s Debut EP ‘Versailles’

Brooklyn based singer-songwriter Lorelei Rose Taylor released a gift to the world on May 22. Stepping into the studio for the first time to record her music gave light to her debut EP, Versailles, which lyrically navigates her own stream of emotion, intertwined with dreamy baroque-pop sounds. As Taylor explained to NYS Music, she treads on the strong influence of The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, evident in her flawless singing, which also subtly nods to Florence Welch and Lana Del Rey.

Taylor grew up between Texas and Upstate NY and began exploring music on her own at a young age. But it wasn’t until 2017 when her interests returned to music following her college studies. With the help of the friendship of Robbie Grabowski, she began writing her own music and was given the courage to step into the studio in 2019.

Versailles EP

Taylor recently spoke with NYS Music about her experience bringing her music to the world for the first time and some of the inspirations into her songwriting.

Steve Malinski: The Versaille EP is your debut audio portrait to the public. How would you introduce yourself as a musician/songwriter?

Lorelei Rose Taylor: I would introduce myself as someone that’s very consistent in my message and my sound. I think I’m overall pretty melancholy, as much as I try to fight it that’s kind of just what happens.

SM: One thing I noticed about your sound is that it’s very clean and refined – particularly on one the songs, “If You Love Another,” almost right away I can hear the influence Dolores O’Riordan has on your singing. How has she been an influence on you and your songwriting?

LRT: She’s huge. I mean The Cranberries in general…when I think of my past and you know, out of my experiences in childhood that really shaped my direction, she stands out tenfold and it really comes back to growing up. I felt like it wasn’t a glamorous childhood by any means. So I’m in my room and I had this white boombox and I would like to sneak out to the living room. Remember those rotating CD things with the velvet interior that held the CDs? So I’d go in there and grab all the CDs I could find and shove them in the back of my room.

I would just like sit there for hours listening to all the weird stuff, and everything like that. I was kind of obsessive in that way. That was my outlet. No Need To Argue was that album that stayed with me and never left the rotation and I feel that way because I think Dolores sings like there’s a pain in her voice – that’s definitely her style – but she’s also really strong like you’re safe under her wing, in a way. I just I felt very understood by her. 

And then “If You Love Another” was actually inspired by W.B. Yeats who is an Irish poet legend. I love the Irish. But yeah, I feel like it’s twofold, like there were a lot of strengths that I was trying to channel which I found in Dolores.

SM: Now that Versailles been released, what does that milestone – reaching that accomplishment mean to you?

LRT: I feel like I’ve always…this sounds so cliche, but like… dreamed of this moment. And now that it’s here, it feels a little bit like that false beginning, you know, when you’re like watching a show and they tease the beginning, and then they start the bullshit of the intro and the music. And I think it’s like the real show, the real beginning. That’s kind of what it feels like for me. Because I think… I don’t think like I’m doing the Lord’s work here. Like, I love the EP, and I’m so proud of it but I think that there’s so much growth to come and like so much exploratory work that I’d love to do from here. So it’s the beginning, but I don’t think it’s like the big moment for me, but I’m excited to see what happens.

SM: You’ve been exploring music since a young age…so what drew you into eventually writing your own songs?

LRT: So growing up, I spent a lot of it solitary and I feel like when you don’t have an outlet you kind of build your own and I feel like the writing and music that I turn to when I’m alone or whatever I was going through experiencing and it just always stuck with me. I recorded the Robbie Grabowski (from I Can See Mountains, Super American) and he like, kind of pulled the rest out of me.

SM: So the motivation to actually bring your material into the studio was that driven by Robbie?

LRT: Oh, yeah. Before that, I was just fucking around, like I wasn’t really… I mean, I dreamed of recording but I didn’t have that motivation or confidence to do anything with it and then he was like, “put your shoes on, we’re going to the studio today!”

SM: So this being your first recording project, how was the recording experience?

LRT: Oh my god. terrifying. I think it was last August [2019] – was the first time I’ve ever sat down in the studio. I was just right in front of a mic, that’s not my comfort zone. I don’t pretend to be a performer. So it was traumatizing. And I’m really grateful that I recorded with Robbie and Stephen Kellner and Jesse Cannon and Roderick, kind of like this very tight-knit circle which I’m grateful for. So Robbie just became a mentor and he was just like “pick up from the beginning, relax, chill out, it’s gonna be fine,” because I was terrified and it’s really difficult.

And you know, I learned a lot because when you’re singing a cover, for instance, “When You’re Gone,” that came super easy because I was just spinning the musical machine, you know, you have to channel the emotion, the performance, are you on TV?,  the lyrics…there’s so much in one moment that you have to articulate and get right and I was just learning a lot the first time. I think “Casanova,” the first track on the EP, was the first song that Robbie and I wrote together, the first one we took to the studio and it took me probably eight months, nearly a year to like come around with that song and say “okay, we can just push it to the public,” because I just hear fear and I hear trauma because I was so scared in the studio. I guess it adds to the vulnerability a little bit.

SM: So now that you’ve learned a lot from that experience, do you think that might influence how you write your songs going forward? Or do you think you’ll still have the same approach?

LRT: Yeah, I’ve learned so much. And I think like, it really comes down to going back to being alone and just alone with my thoughts and not having to worry about any other element. It’s just me and the music and I feel like, especially during quarantine, recording by myself, there’s a different… It sounds very different when I’m writing alone and recording alone. There’s a different confidence. There’s a different way. I’m excited to share what I’ve done now alone in my own little studio to bring that to studio that’s going to be very different.

SM: You’re very introspective with respect to writing your songs and the emotions flow from what you’re feeling in that moment. So, when you go and you listen back to the songs especially in these current times, do they have a different meaning to you?

LRT: Yeah, I definitely think so. I mean, from like a personal standpoint…My favorite piece of was that our job is not to like our own music. It’s just to like keep making it. And I feel like the biggest thing in quarantine and creating (or trying to), removes that element to it. Hearing back the EP there’s so many moments where I’m like, “oh, I wish I did that differently” or “I wish this was scratched completely” but I think that removing that and just living in the moment more… I mean with COVID there’s just so much that we took for granted and I feel like just so lucky to be in a position to keep making music and I’m eager to get back to it. I feel like I’m more grateful for the music that I’ve made and more proud of it. I hope to make… all I have right now is that fucking record, so I hope to make happier ones because everything is very sad right now.

SM: You’ve also had a full length album in the works too?

LRT: Yeah, that was in the works. I mean, I’ve been writing for so long, but with everything that happened I didn’t have time to go back to the studios. I was like, well, I could either release an EP now or just have radio silence for the next… who knows how long. But yeah there’s a full album which will likely be called After Party. And it’s nearly done. It’s just like, you know, the finishing touches. But to your point now that everything has happened, I suppose there’s gonna be a lot of changes that I want to make to it with so much time to think.

SM: Have you been able to create any new content in this quarantine?

LRT: I’ve written one song from beginning to end. I was sad one day about two months ago and I was like, I’m clocked out, I’ve got nothing. So much of what I write is thriving off other people’s energy and people that I meet and see and right now I’ve only seen one human being for a few months now. It’s just very hard to find that inspiration. But I did write one song, a demo I recorded which was really an interesting experience because I wrote the whole track. I bought a MIDI controller and I produced the whole thing which I…that’s not my element… so I sent it to Robbie and he was just like “okay keep going.” It was kind of like a little pat on the back like, “okay this probably sounds like shit but like, I’m not gonna tell you that.” But yeah, great to bounce ideas off of him. Hopefully I have at least one more on the way in this infinite era.

SM: Once this whole thing blows over and you’re finally able to get the album recorded, what do you think you’re gonna be up to as far as live shows? Do you want to go out and perform these or just share them?

LRT: Yeah, definitely performing is on my roster. Especially around New York. New York has been home to me for eight years so there’s like a bond I have here. I’ll probably get back up to Syracuse. I spent a lot of my time there and all my friends are there, having like that space to have the energy to go off of which is very nice to perform to. Looking forward to that, looking forward to the album. My first music video for Versailles will be out soon, waiting for the final cut and my album will be out sooner than later.

You can stream Lorelei Rose Taylor’s EP Versailles below.

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