Positive break-up anthems may seem like a contradiction. But that’s exactly what Dani Taylor strives to deliver with her brand of country music, which includes her third single, set to release on February 5th.
“My music is all about embracing one’s independence and being positive,” she says. “I write about my personal experiences with being single and making sure to stay focused on the good even when I’m dating questionable creatures. All jokes aside, I want to remind those who get heartbroken that they are WAAAY better off single than with someone that doesn’t care about them.”
Her sound is equally upbeat, setting her message against a backdrop of mandolin, banjo, and steel guitar in a sound Taylor describes as “a good blend of country music with a dash of pop.” Though she counts Kacey Musgraves as her greatest influence, Taylor’s positivity and “never speaking badly about others” in her music set her apart from other artists. She explains that she doesn’t like to use her lyrics to tear people down, even if they hurt her. Though she’ll talk about it in her songs, she instead wants to focus on the good that can come in recovering from a bad situation. While many other artists focus on sadness, wallowing, and cool revenge lyrics (which Taylor admits she loves), she believes in accentuating the positive. “A lot of times I’ve fallen into self-pity and sadness over breakups when in reality, the breakups were blessings,” she says. “It’s a reminder for myself and others that good things come after the storm passes.”
Taylor got her start singing as a child in musical theatre and picked up writing and playing guitar in college. Now she anticipates the release of her new single, “Table for One Drinking for Two.” She wrote the song after a bad dating experience with a guy she met at a bar during a writer’s round a few years ago. “It was the closest thing I ever had to love at first sight. I don’t believe in love at first sight, but meeting him sure felt like it,” she explains. “We ended up staying up until the sun rose, talking all night and bar hopping together. It was a weird whirlwind romance until it wasn’t.” She had come up with the hook after seeing it on Instagram, and when the experience ended in her getting hurt, she wrote the song with that in mind. “I had to remind myself that I am better off without someone I barely knew that literally left me standing on a corner crying at 2 am in a city I visited once. I thought to myself that I could rewrite our history about that night and how I could’ve spent my time having a better time by myself. A lot of times I think about the what-ifs. This song isn’t about what-ifs; it’s about learning to care about your happiness more and being your badass single self.”
That’s an idea she tries to put forth in all of her songs. When asked where the inspiration for her songwriting comes from, she says she draws on personal experience and feelings and has a hard time writing about things she has not dealt with personally. “I like to first get over the heartbreak, so I am in a clearer headspace when writing,” she says of her process. “I like to write my songs in the sense of my future self, giving my younger self advice.” In that, she hopes to convey a positive message to listeners, to let them know that “everything happens for a reason, both good and bad.”
With such a powerful point, it’s no wonder her biggest career highlight comes from singing to audiences. In her favorite experience so far, she rendered an audience completely silent by the end of one of her songs. “That was an amazing experience – no one was talking because they were listening to me,” she says. “It was a magical moment I will never forget.”
She hopes to have more moments like that in the coming year if touring becomes a possibility again. What else is in her 2021 plans? Surprisingly, she admits she’s hoping to have her heart broken again. “It’s been a while,” she says. “And after I come back to reality, I hope to write some more single/independent anthems.”
More of those are certainly welcome in a genre stereotyped by sad breakup songs. Though those songs have helped navigate many a failed relationship, Taylor’s music shows there’s power in being single and independent. And she leaves her listeners with the idea that “the bad things that happen are a part of the journey. Don’t focus on the bad, keep pushing forward. Stay positive. You are a badass, and you are so much more capable than you believe.”