Taylor Austin Dye is an up-and-coming country singer/songwriter based in Nashville, originally from Eastern Kentucky. Her original music puts a new spin on country and brings the old-school southern vibe to her rowdy country roots.
Though cheating songs are a staple in country music, both past, and present, Dye offers a new perspective on the subject and a different look on a typical “love triangle” scenario. Vocally, she sounds as good as ever, and if 2021 was any indication, Dye is about to have herself a major breakthrough year in 2022. Her latest single, “Like You Do,” became her third consecutive top 30 single on the iTunes country charts.
A native of the small southeast Kentucky town of Booneville, you gravitated toward music from an early age; performing at the weekly “Barn Dance” held at Renfro Valley, for the first time at the age of 5. With a family that didn’t play or sing music of any kind, what about music brought you the most joy, and continues to each day?
Taylor Austin Dye (TAD): “I have always loved music ever since I was born. According to my mom, I would start swinging my feet and babbling in my car seat whenever she would turn Hank Jr. or AC/DC on in the car. When I started school just before I turned 5, I had severe anxiety and I hated school. I would cry every day, nonstop, until it was time to go home. This went on for months, but one day I saw a man with a guitar in the hallway, and I was fascinated. I went home and told my mom about him and she immediately signed me up for lessons. Since I was only 5, Mr. Wilson decided to start me out on the fiddle. He pulled me out of my kindergarten classroom for 30 minutes a day and I quickly started learning old fiddle tunes such as ‘Camptown Races,’ ‘Boil Them Cabbage Down,’ and ‘Yankee Doodle.’ After I started taking lessons, I looked forward to going to school and it gave me something to look forward to each day. Now, I think music holds that same value to me as an adult. I know that no matter how stressful the day is, I can always rely on music to ground me.”
As time went on, you went to college and majored in Vocal Performance, later working in radio for about a year and a half. Then, came the decision of wanting to be your own artist. Making the move to Nashville in 2018, with a dream to pursue music full-time, how has the Nashville music scene challenged and/or benefited you artistically and individually? What small-town notions do you keep close to your heart when looking to build on your career in what can be more of a competitive, yet flourishing, setting?
TAD: “Moving to Nashville was easily the best decision I have ever made for myself. I knew from an early age that I wanted to call this city home. Each time we would visit, I would beg to move and go to school here. Everything about it was captivating to me; the bars on Broadway, the talented people, and most of all the abundance of live music in every nook and cranny of this place. I have been blessed to play music full-time for the last four years. A lot of that time was spent playing 4-hour shifts downtown several times a week. I didn’t mind it, though, because that meant I was getting to do something I love, keeping my chops up, and not having to work a 9-5 at a desk somewhere! All those shows really helped me sharpen my stage presence, my ‘people skills,’ and made me overall a more well-rounded musician. Although I am mostly traveling now, I am so thankful for my time spent on Broadway. While I’m building my career, I strive to stay true to my roots and truly appreciate the authenticity of being raised “country” in rural Eastern Kentucky.”
Social media presence has become increasingly important when trying to get one’s music to reach as many ears as possible. Having now amassed a TikTok audience of 250,000+, tell us your personal experience with using the platform to aid in growing as a country artist?
TAD: “TikTok has definitely been an incredible tool to reach a bigger audience and advance my career. I started TikTok in 2020 while I was desperate to keep sharing my music, although we were still in the midst of lockdown. The first cover I ever posted got 300K views right away, and I immediately started posting more. From there, my song ‘Good Time Girl’ quickly blew up, and when I released it at the beginning of 2021, charted in the top 30 on the iTunes country charts! As did my next 2 singles after that! I have no question that the success of these singles is due to TikTok. I even have a very loyal fan base that comes out to shows and is supportive beyond measure. They call themselves the ‘Ride or Dyes’ and it has become an incredible community of country music lovers and just great people in general. It is so fun to watch their relationships from my comment section transition into real-life friends when they meet at the venue. I am blessed to have over 250K Ride or Dyes in my corner cheering me on all the way!”
Narrative by nature, country music lives to tell stories often absent among songs of other genres. Explain the importance you place on evoking deep emotion through the music you create.
TAD: “I do love all genres of music, but country music has always held a special place in my heart because of its storytelling nature. There is something so personal and deeply connecting about listening to a song that you can relate to and feeling every breath and phrase that comes across. When I am writing a song, I really try to dig into the nitty-gritty, and approach song topics that others might deem scandalous. Although I do love to write a good and fun drinking song, I try to balance my releases with more sensitive subjects like you might hear in ‘Good Time Girl,’ and ‘Like You Do.’ It’s important to me to connect with my listeners’ experiences and be their voice.”
With that being said, your latest single “Like You Do,” offers an interesting perspective on a woman’s love for another man. Tell us about the inspiration behind the song.
TAD: “While I was writing ‘Like You Do,’ I knew I wanted to offer up a different perspective on a cheating song. Too often in country music, you hear women singing about getting cheated on, but you hardly hear any songs from the flip side of that so I made it my goal to write this story. In LYD, the woman is in a seemingly fine relationship, but in her heart, she is torn between her husband and another man. Although this is a touchy subject, I have had so many women reach out to me and tell me that this explained their situation and they are so thankful that I put their feelings into words. That’s what makes me fall in love with songwriting again and again.”
As a songwriter, how have you found writing a song such as this, has allowed you to be even more emotionally connected with your audience? As if you’re speaking directly to one’s heart; a “she gets me” moment.
TAD: “Like I touched on earlier, there is just something so personal and almost rewarding about being able to connect with your listeners in a vulnerable place. I won’t go too far into detail, but I had a Ride or Dye confide in me that LYD spiraled a chain of events that ultimately led to her divorce, and she is much happier and in a better place now. It is so crazy to think that a song can change the course of someone’s life, but I have now experienced that first hand. I have also had Ride or Dye’s tell me that ‘Water Me Down’ has given them so much confidence to be who they really are. Instances like this are what make it all worth it to me, and I’d be nothing without the amazing people who believe in my songs.”
What’s next for Taylor Austin Dye?
TAD: “2021 was an incredible year for me. I released 3 singles and traveled to over 10 states, meeting some awesome folks along the way. This year, my goals are to start writing toward a full-length album while still putting out singles, continue creating content on TikTok, play even more cities, and meet even more Ride or Dyes! I can’t wait to see what this year holds.”
If you’d like to follow along and become a “Ride or Dye,” you can find Taylor here: