Teenage singer- songwriter Taylor D told David Hennessy about her new single about being betrayed by someone she thought was a friend, playing with the late Christy Dignam and winning the First Choice Radio UK Artist of the year.
17- year- old singer- songwriter Taylor D (real name Taylor Dowling) from Clondalkin may not take her Leaving Cert for another year but that hasn’t stopped her getting the endorsement of established bands such as Wild Youth and winning UK radio awards.
Writing since the age of 13, Taylor D has just released the dark and personal Liar.
Liar follows Fan Girl which amassed over 100k streams on Spotify alone.
Hot Press said of it, ‘Taylor D has released the most anthemic single of 2023’.
Taylor shows a different side to her songwriting in Liar. Contrasting the upbeat Fan Girl, Liar is a more brooding number that was inspired by a friend’s betrayal.
Both tracks come from Taylor’s forthcoming EP.
Taylor D told The Irish World of the reaction to Liar: “It’s been an overwhelming reaction because it’s my first track that’s heading into this darker genre, most of my songs would be more pop.
“But Liar has gone down really well.
As raw as it sounds, it is no surprise to hear that Liar has a personal meaning behind it.
“A lot of my songs are very personal to me.
“But this one in particular was about a friend who I thought I could really, really trust but the truth was unveiled.
“So Liar was born.
“It’s a very dark song lyrically for me to write.”
Is it therapeutic to write in that way? “Yeah, it’s definitely really, really therapeutic because I can just pour my emotions into a song and not necessarily have to speak to anybody about it.
“And then I’m getting both the new song and I’m getting my emotions out so it’s kind of a win-win.”
So what happened with this friend? “It was just a friend that just really used me for the fame.
“There’s a lot of people in the music industry in Ireland who would latch on to you if they see that you’re doing slightly better than them and they’d eventually slip up that they’re actually just being friends with you because you’re having the little bit of success that you get.”
Do you think the person knows the song is about them? “I hope not!”
Still only 17, Taylor found music early on.
It was where you found your niche as a young person, wasn’t it? “Yeah, it really was.
“When I was a kid, I did everything you could ever imagine from football, to sports, to swimming, to Irish dance, to ballet- I did everything that you can possibly imagine that a child could do.
“And it was only when I was watching School of Rock one day at home that I decided, ‘Right, I want to try the guitar’.
“My parents had bought me drums and that didn’t work out at all.
“So when I said guitar, they were like, ‘Alright, we’ll go to a fiver group lesson in the local community centre’.
“So they sent me there and within six weeks, I was up to the next level because I just took to it really, really easily and I really enjoyed it. I loved it.
“I was spending five, six hours practicing every day.
“Then my teacher at the time introduced me to a program called the Irish Youth Music Awards which encourages young people to write their own music.
“So with joining that at 13, I was encouraged to write my first ever song.
“I got to perform at Croke Park through that programme.
“2019 I recorded my first ever Christmas song called Here’s to a Merry Christmas and that got its first ever radio airplay at a local radio station here.
“That really encouraged me to keep going with writing more and recording as much as possible.”
It must have been great to play Croke Park at such a young age…
“Playing Croke park would have been one of my very first few performances so I hadn’t got much performance experience but it was absolutely amazing.
“I just thought to myself, ‘This is what I want to do. I want to perform. I want people to hear my music’.
“That really encouraged me to keep going.”
The Irish World found a video of Taylor D playing with the late Christy Dignam on YouTube. But we do want to make it clear that this interview took place before the news of his passing. In fact, we were chatting on the very day that Christy sadly passed away and that’s why Christy is spoken about in the present tense here.
What was it like to play with Christy? “Oh, that was absolutely amazing.
“That only happened by fluke.
“I was at a launch party for a friend of ours and Christy was the special guest.
“The rumour was Christy wanted to sing a song but no one had a guitar.
“Now, I was at a gig the night before and happened to leave my guitar in the car.
“Any other day I would have been killed for doing this but my parents were delighted.
“They were like, ‘Go grab your guitar’.
“We went up and we told Christy, ‘Look, she has her guitar’.
“And he says, ‘Brilliant, do you want to back me?’
“I just barely knew the song (Crazy World), I had to play by ear most of it.
“That was an absolutely amazing experience to do it, at such a young age as well. I was only 14 or 15 at that stage, so it was really an accomplishment in my career very early on.”
Was Christy encouraging? Is he a nice guy? “He really is.
“That time I spoke to him for a good half an hour/ 40 minutes afterwards.
“He was giving me tips on how to go about the music industry and told me to keep in touch.
“I went to one of their gigs then a year later on, we got chatting again and he was telling the other lads in Aslan that I played with him.
“That was really encouraging from someone that’s so far along in their career, that there is a possibility to go out and do what you want to do.
“He really encouraged me with giving me tips about performing on stage, how to deal with the nerves, how to warm up your voice and stuff.
“That was amazing.
“That would definitely be one of my highlights.
“I was so young and it was just a pivotal moment in my career.
“I think that really pushed me on to go as far as I could possibly go after that.”
Taylor D got the idea for her previous track Fan Girl, which garnered her so much attention, when she went to a Vamps concert and saw all the screaming fans.
She says: “I looked around and saw masses of screaming hysterical girls up in front of the stage and thought how a pop/rock star can be the highlight or obsession of these girl’s lives and to that star they are just a face in the crowd.
“We were in the standing pit right up at the front and there was just so many girls screaming about these guys on stage.
“I just said to my friend, ‘God, they don’t even know half these people exist and these people absolutely love them’.”
Were you taken aback by Fan Gir’s success? “Oh, yeah.
“Overnight, it seemed to just be everywhere.
“It’s already over 150,000 streams- Absolutely incredible for an independent artist.”
The song is about screaming fans, do you get carried away yourself with your musical heroes? “Oh definitely, yeah.
“I’m one of the fan girls especially for Ed Sheeran and the Vamps.
“I absolutely love them. I absolutely envy how Ed Sheeran can stand up on a stage in Croke Park in front of 80,000 people and just play with him and a loop pedal.
“I think that’s absolutely amazing.
“I feel like I would be very starstruck meeting him because he’s been a big inspiration for me.”
Taylor attends Coláiste Bríde in Clondalkin and sits her Leaving next year.
What are your plans? Is it to study music? “I have the EP coming out.
“Then I’ll hopefully be working towards my first album, so that’ll be really exciting stuff.
“And definitely after school, I’ll be studying music whether it’s teaching it or going into the music production side,
or full time performing.
“I’m sure it will definitely be a very, very key throughout my whole life.”
Precocious teens like you sometimes encounter some derision if they are still at school. Is that the case, do you have fellow students or even teachers who might think you have ‘notions’? “No, in school I have to say they’re so supportive.
“The school is very much behind me
“Especially when that Artist of the Year came out.
“They were really pushing that to try and get people to vote.
“They’ve been behind me every step of the way.”
As she mentions, Taylor won the First Choice Radio UK Unsigned Artist Of The Year.
“To be even nominated was a complete shock.
“And then when I won, that was an absolute shock.
“I was so delighted and I really just felt the support from friends, family and the local community when they were voting for it and it just really encouraged me more and more to just keep doing what I’m doing.
“I’m obviously doing something right if I’m getting awards like that.”
Liar is out now.
The EP Fangirl is out on 15 September.
For more information, click here.