Since releasing her first album Hot Mess in 2012, Pam Taylor has been compared to the likes of Janis Joplin and earned herself growing support from fans and critics alike. Currently on a UK tour in support of her new album Steal Your Heart which is due out next month, Pam took time out of her hectic schedule to chat dream shows, song-writing style and her ultimate ambition.
TITL: Which bands and artists would you say have influenced your sound the most since you started out?
Pam Taylor: I’ve been thinking on this question and it’s hard to pinpoint. My music is probably an amalgam of all the music I’ve ever heard growing up so it’s hard to narrow it down to certain band or artist. Certain genres have definitely influenced my sound, like rock, soul, blues, country…the roots. Roots music is just that…a blend of American music and that is my sound.
TITL: Which band or artist are you most often compared to and do you mind such comparisons?
PT: I’ve heard Janis Joplin the most, but not in the sense that we have the same sound, but the same energy, inflections and mostly, stage presence. I always am honored to be compared to one of the greatest icons of all time. We both had many afflictions that probably gave us more in common than anyone knows. Luckily, I survived.
TITL: How would you say your song-writing and performance style has changed since you released your first album, Hot Mess, in 2012?
PT: My life experience has definitely changed my song-writing since Hot Mess. As an artist and a human in general, I hope to always be evolving. My music has more focus today with a message of healing, overcoming obstacles and self-love and sharing the stories behind the songs is something new since Hot Mess. It all happened by accident. The first time I shared what I was going through when I wrote a particular song, it had such an impact on the audience, I knew it was something that I had to keep doing in my live performances. This has made all the difference.
TITL: You suffered a ruptured disc in 2013 which caused you considerable pain. How did your path back to health impact the music you’ve since gone on to make?
PT: I experienced first-hand the healing powers of energy and positive thinking and I knew that this was something not unique to me. We all have inside us the power to cause disease in our own bodies or healing and so that message is intertwined in my music today for that reason. It’s an important time for people to realize what they have control over and what they don’t. Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. Music heals and has been used for centuries in all cultures for that same reason. It’s just gotten lost in translation. Music is the common thread and I’m here to “spread the thread.”
PT: How would you sum up your new album Steal Your Heart in a few words?
It’s a personal yet universal testament of the path to loving oneself.
TITL: The album is driven by the message and idea of loving and being yourself. Given the recent difficulties around the world particularly with LGBTQ communities and the recent clashes in Charlottesville, that’s quite a bold statement to make, wouldn’t you say, or is that ultimately why you wanted to do it?
PT: Like the statement before… Steal Your Heart is a personal testament. I wrote these songs as a way for me to heal. Writing for me, is cheaper and more effective than therapy. I am not ignorant to the world’s issues but my philosophy is this… what you focus on you bring to you so for me to stay positive I focus my attention on the things that are going good in the world and I tend to bring more of that into my life. I don’t watch the news, I don’t share negative things on social media and I am definitely not political. The law of attraction is a real thing. This is ultimately why I wanted to do it….to give myself something positive to focus on and to share with the world. In my experience, this is the only true way to affect change.
TITL: Do you have a favourite track and if so, which is it and why?
PT: All of my songs have a special place in my heart but I would have to say “Mountain” is my favorite. It has become my anthem. I wrote it to help get me out of depression and I compare my inner struggles with that of a mountain. Under the earth’s surface, there are struggles and harsh environments that we couldn’t survive but it pushes the mountains to rise and this is the message behind this song; to take your struggles, things that would normally break you, and use them to build yourself up, as a foundation to rise above. My frans (friend + fan) really love this one. I’ve had frans paint me pictures of mountains and one even got a tattoo of a mountain. The positive effect it’s had on others is why it’s become one of my favorites.
TITL: You’ve received considerable critical acclaim over the years but which comment/message, either from a critic or a fan have you been most touched by?
PT: To hear that my songs are getting people through tough times is so fulfilling. This is why I wanted to record this record now. I had a fran reach out to ask me if I had a song(s) to share with her daughter about strength and grace because she had gotten bullied at school and the fact that she thought of me and my music made my heart sing. This is why I do what I do.
TITL: You’re currently on a UK tour – how are you finding the audiences? Any highlights so far?
PT: It’s just getting started but so far, the audiences have been very appreciative, enthusiastic and respectful. Before I left to go on this tour, I did a show for my hometown in a small brewery and it was packed, which was awesome, but they were chatting with each other so loudly that I could hardly hear myself sing. I tried not to let it get me down because I still needed to deliver the message to the folks that were trying to hear but it was really hard for me. My first gig in the UK was in a small venue much like the brewery, packed with even more people but you could hear a pin drop while I was telling my stories and singing…that is until the end when they clapped and cheered with great enthusiasm. I feel more appreciated here, that’s for sure. I look forward to experiencing how the rest of the world embraces me. It’s off to a fabulous start.
TITL: You’ve opened for John Primer and Debbie Davies among others, but if you could support any band or artist, living or dead, who would they be and why?
PT: Have you ever heard of the 27 club? Well, if I could share the stage with just half the folks in that club, it would be the gig of a lifetime. I got sober at 25 and didn’t start performing until I was 27. Luckily for me, I got all the struggles with drugs, alcohol and other damaging personal afflictions out of the way before any fame or other by-products of being a well-known musician came into play. I couldn’t imagine doing what I do and having the typical rock-star lifestyle to go along with it. Being under the microscope while dealing with demons….no way!! Janis, Jimi, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse…they were larger than life and had such an impact on the world in just their short 27 years here. To be on a stage with them, or to just warm a crowd up for them would be surreal. Could you imagine that gig!?!! I am working on a song called “27 Survived” and it’s a reflection into that comparison. Overcoming, surviving…carrying the torch.
TITL: To what extent has social media impacted your career and would you agree it’s been and continues to be a more positive than negative tool for those in the industry?
PT: Social media was definitely a gateway for me and I feel it really catapulted my career. I use it to network, investigate venues, and just to put myself out there. It’s an easy way to stay connected to my frans too. I have never had a negative experience with any of it…maybe just trying to navigate all the updates. I always think it’s funny when I see people saying things like, “taking time off Facebook, it’s too much drama” because my philosophy is “wherever you go, there you are.” Social media is like everything else – you get out of it what you put in it.
TITL: What else does this year have in store for you?
PT: I have some great gigs coming up on this world tour including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on Aug 25-26th, ending up in Israel for my CD release party at Mike’s Place in Tel Aviv on September 23rd. I can’t believe I’m kicking it off in the Holy Land. I’m still pinching myself. Who knows what else this year has in store! I do see lots of love, more personal freedom and adventure…that’s for sure.
TITL: Where would you like to see yourself three years from now and what’s your ultimate ambition? What would you have to achieve in order to happily call it a day?
PT: When you make plans, God laughs, is the saying that comes to mind. If you’d have told me this would be my life 3 years ago, I would have never believed you and probably laughed in your face. My ultimate ambition is to share my music with as many people as possible and to continue to grow as a human, and as an artist in general. This world tour has opened my eyes to more possibilities than I ever dreamt of. I don’t have an endgame really; I just want to continue “Spreading the Thread” and let people know how awesome they are. Let’s see where that takes me. Ask me again in 3 three years. Until then…I’ll be the light, give the love, share the music.
Pam Taylor plays Edinburgh Fringe Festival August 25th & 26th, the Cellar Bar (Ruzz’s Guitar Blues Revue) in Devizes on September 1st and Downend Tavern (Bristol Blues Clubhouse) on September 5th. For more information, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Steal Your Heart is out on September 22nd and available for pre-order now. You can check out a promo for the collection below.