Taylor Kelly is a musical force hailing from the vibrant Philadelphia music scene and has carved out a niche that's as distinct as it is captivating. Born and raised in Rochester, NY, she has honed her introspective take on jazz, soul, and funk, infusing it with a dynamic blend of genres that's uniquely her own.
Kelly's artistry shines through in her latest release, 'Let You Go,' a track inspired by the pop/R&B sounds of influential songstresses like Mahalia, Amber Mark, and Lauryn Hill. From the first notes of the hooky piano lead to the powerful vocals that carry the melody, this song is an earworm that's impossible to shake. With the addition of deeply groovy guitar work and a blazing horn section, "Let You Go" may very well be Kelly's catchiest and most infectious release to date.
We sat down with Taylor to learn more about 'Let You Go', her approach to her unique brand of sonics and much more, exclusively for FLEX!
Who are your biggest influences as an artist?
This definitely changes regularly but the artists that have influenced me since I first began to explore my artistry and songwriting are Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Emily King and Hiatus Kaiyote. All of them have such striking and iconic sounds and have really pushed me to become the best artist I can be.
Your favourite song right now?
I haven't been able to stop listening to Emily King's new album and the closing track "Closer to the Morning" is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. The lyrics are incredibly poignant and make me feel really warm and fuzzy inside. Who doesn't love that feeling?
Tell us about your new single ‘Let You Go’, what inspired it? We love it!
Thanks! Well, I was having trouble letting go of somebody that I knew wasn't very good for me. Even after we went our separate ways, I just felt like they were all I could think about. I was listening to a whole lot of Mahalia and Amber Mark at the time and this bop kind of just poured out of me. It felt really nice to be able to make something so heavy feel and sound so light and was actually quite healing!
What was your songwriting process like for ‘Let You Go’?
I wrote this song quite a few years ago (I think back in 2018?) so I don't remember the process vividly but I do remember it being one of those songs that just kind of wrote itself. (If I can't write a song in one sitting, I normally don't ever finish it.)
Favourite moment in the track?
I mean, I really love the bridge and how it takes you somewhere else but I also really love the end (the last minute) because it just explodes and completely takes over you. (We really went crazy with the horns and background vocals.) I don't know, I'm torn!
You definitely lean into the modernised pop and R&B sound which has seen such a rise over the past couple of years, how did this genre of music find its way to you?
I really think my style is not something I've ever sought out. I'm grateful to be in a city (Philly) that is oozing r&b and soul which inspires me daily. I also feel like everything I listen to subconsciously comes out when I'm writing and singing, and I listen to a LOT of modern pop and r&b and really have my entire life. I'm sure I'd sound a hell of a lot different if I exclusively listened to rock & roll and country.
And lastly, what do you want listeners to take away from ‘Let You Go’?
I really had fun with this one and I hope for most people, it's a song they can listen to and just get a pep in their step. For those that really listen to the lyrics, I hope that they can relate to being hung up on someone and feel like they're not alone in that. I was eventually able to let go of this person entirely and now am in a very happy and healthy relationship (and have been for almost 4 years) so let this be a beacon of hope that you CAN and WILL walk away from that person that isn't giving you what you need and will be so much better for it!
Stream 'Let You Go' here: