Once you get to know her a little bit, you find that Taylor Grey is so much more than just your average singer-songwriter. At only 22 years of age, she has accomplished much more than most people many years her senior, including amassing over 300,000 streams of her songs and a degree from the prestigious Stanford University. After the pandemic shut things down for so long, Grey made a successful comeback last year with the single releases “Ever Knew Me” and “Idiot” via Kobalt Music Group. (Find her music here.)
The aforementioned singles were Grey’s first new music in about two years. Her debut studio record Space Case was released in 2017 and included a collaboration with The Vamps’ Brad Simpson. The self-titled GREY EP was issued the following year, and it was around this time, she began to receive a lot of recognition for her talents as a songwriter and performer. She toured internationally with Why Don’t We in late 2019 and has played shows alongside Walk the Moon, Fall Out Boy, Sabrina Carpenter, The Vamps, Flo Rida, and Jake Miller.
Joining us today for another Stereo Six is Grey herself, who runs down six of her favourite, most influential albums and songs that have profoundly affected her.
1. Taylor Swift – Self-Titled (2006, Big Machine)
“This record may be the most influential because it was the catalyst for me wanting to start writing songs. I remember being in 4th or 5th grade when I heard ‘Our Song’ for the first time and singing it with friends on the walk to and from lunch. ‘Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)’ in particular made me fall in love with how music can paint a picture in your mind. I tried to emulate that song in one of my first ever songs I recorded when I was 14 or 15.
“But in all of her work, Taylor Swift will always be one of the most influential writers for me. The love of her music has been the building blocks of some of my friendships that I still have to this day. The strength and depth of her reach is pretty crazy and amazing.”
2. Lauren Aquilina – Fools (2012, Self-Released)
“This EP was released in 2012 when I was at a very early stage of my songwriting. I used to write the lyrics to the song ‘Lilo’ on my hands and legs in class in high school as like my nervous habit. I also was definitely hoping the guy I had a crush on would notice and ask me about it (he never did, obviously).
“Lauren is a beautiful lyricist, and hearing these songs bring me back to emotions that I felt back then, and I would still classify some of the songs as favourites to this day. Since she was incredibly young writing these songs, it just encapsulated my experience with adolescence so perfectly, especially the angst and the feelings of being unworthy and not good enough. Lauren is still one of my favourite writers to this day.”
3. Sixpence None The Richer – “Kiss Me” (1997, Squint Entertainment)
“This is truly just one of the best songs ever. I don’t think I can remember when I heard this song for the first time, but it was just ever-present in my music collection growing up. That organic and authentic instrumentation was a big inspiration for some of the records on my upcoming project. It’s one of those songs that I’d hear on the radio as a kid and immediately look out the window and pretend to be in a movie montage.”
4. Avril Lavigne – Let Go (2002, Arista Records)
“Let Go was one of those era-defining records, and it’s one of the first that made me fall in love with music. I wasn’t even in grade school when it came out, so it feels like I grew up with these songs. Belting out ‘Sk8er Boi’ with friends in the car or crying to ‘I’m With You’ are some of my first memories really connecting to music. She was one of, if not, the very first artist I found and held onto from the radio and is a huge part of why I became so fascinated with music in the first place.
“This record was also a huge inspiration for my song ‘Idiot.’ I didn’t have set references going into writing ‘Idiot,’ but when it was done my producer Mark Siegel and I just kind of looked at each other and acknowledged this was my ‘Avril song.’ It was the song I had always hoped to write as a kid.”
5. Blondie – “One Way or Another” (1979, Chrysalis)
“I didn’t grow up in a particularly musical household or anything, so I wasn’t one of those kids who grew up with the classics playing in the house. The first time I really sought that out beyond a few songs here or there was high school, and then I became really obsessed with ’70s bands.
“Since then, I’ve always really loved Blondie, and this record definitely inspired me over the pandemic when writing some of the tracks in my upcoming project. For one of the songs, I remember drums reminded me of this record, and so I decided to try to channel my lyrics to match stylistically, the kind of lyrics that are deceptively deeper than you pick up on from the first listen.”
6. Eagles – “Hotel California” (1979, Chrysalis)
“I would take my dad’s nano (like the iPod nanos back in the day) and listen to this song on repeat under my covers so I wouldn’t get caught. The imagery, the steely knives and beast, scared yet intrigued me. I would either fast forward past that part or fast forward to that part specifically. It was one of the first times where music had this haunting impact on me, and I couldn’t get it out of head. Since then, the Eagles became one of my all-time favorite bands. Their Greatest Hits was the first record I got on vinyl.”