2016 Artist Survey: Maria Taylor | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2016 Artist Survey: Maria Taylor

Taylor on 2016's Best Albums, the Election, First Kisses, Scary Movies, and Memorable Fan Encounters

Jan 19, 2017 Artist Surveys 2016 Bookmark and Share

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For Under the Radar‘s 14th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2016. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2016 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers from Maria Taylor. Taylor first caught attention as one half of Azure Ray, with Orenda Fink. In 2016 she released her sixth solo album, In the Next Life, via her own label, Flower Moon Records. Taylor co-produced the album with Nik Freitas and it features the guest vocals of longtime friend and collaborator Conor Oberst.

For our annual Artist Surveys we emailed the same set of questions to musicians about Trump and the election, 2016’s deaths, self-driving cars, Stranger Things, first kisses, scary movies they shouldn’t have seen as a child, which Friends character they are most like, and much more.

Pick up or download Under the Radar’s Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue for Artist Survey interviews with Amber Arcades, Austra, Faris Badwan of Cat’s Eyes and The Horrors, Boxed In, Caveman, The Charlatans, Cursive, Lucy Dacus, The Dears, C Duncan, Sadie Dupuis of Sad13 and Speedy Ortiz, Dutch Uncles, Ezra Furman, Robyn Hitchcock, The Invisible, Justin Lockey of Editors and Minor Victories, Lost Under Heaven (LUH), Lush, Midlake, Phantogram, The Range, Springtime Carnivore, Sunflower Bean, Surfer Blood, TEEN, The Thermals, Nick Valensi of CRX and The Strokes, Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak, and Yuck.

Top 3 Albums of 2016

I don’t even know of 10 records that came out in 2016 but here are three that I love:

Nik Freitas: New to Here

Conor Oberst: Ruminations

Rig 1: Tasting the Mothership


The Good Life: Everybody’s Coming Down


Orenda Fink: Blue Dream

2016 was regarded by many as a fairly tough and negative year. Was it also a hard year for you personally? If so, how? And also what were the high points for you?

No, for me personally it was a great year. I’m loving living back on the west coast and I spent the year writing and recording my new record! As far as our country and our livelihood, 2016 has been fucking devastating, embarrassing, and saddening.

What are your thoughts on how the U.S. presidential election played out?

It literally hurts my stomach that the majority of the people voted for Hillary and this ass clown, bigoted, backwards, unqualified man won.

Let’s discuss Donald Trump. What does the rise of Trump tell you about America in 2016? What concerns you most about a Trump presidency? How do you think his presidency might personally change your life? What message do you have for those who voted for Trump? What actions will you take over the course of the next four years to either protest a Trump presidency or support it?

It tells me that we have a whole lot of racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist people in this country. I have kids so every decision he makes will impact them. I have friends that couldn’t get insurance until Obamacare was around. As a woman, our rights to our own bodies are at stake. The hatred for other races that people are already now proudly wearing on their sleeves makes me want to throw up. I want to protect my kids from this. I don’t want them to even know people could ever feel this way. It’s pure evil.

What reality TV star would you have rather been elected president?

There is currently not one and never has been a reality TV star qualified to be president.

If you were president, what would you try to accomplish in your first 100 days in office?

Dear god. I have no idea. I would legalize marijuana to increase funding for education. I would eliminate all restrictions on woman’s rights. I would ban guns, repeal the second amendment. I would extend and ensure complete equality towards the LGBTQ.

What are your thoughts on Brexit and the future of the European Union? To what extent do you think the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump were motivated by the same factors?

They both come from the same source of xenophobia and both imply that culturally we are moving towards fear.

We lost three highly influential music icons in 2016. What are your thoughts on the passing of David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen? And what are your favorite albums by each artist

All things must pass, but super sad. David Bowie: Hunky Dory, Prince: 1999, Leonard Cohen: The Best of Leonard Cohen.

What do you think Prince and Bowie’s afterlife project sounds like?

OMG… sexy as hell.

Which Friends character are you most like?

I’d probably say Monica but I guarantee my sister would say, “Aw, hell no, you are Phoebe!”

What scary movie did you see way too young as a child, how’d you end up seeing it, and does it still scare you now?

The Exorcist. I made my mom let me watch it. She covered her eyes the whole time. I love horror movies. I love being scared!

Are you ready for self-driving cars and a more automated future?

NO WAY. I’m a control freak. I have to drive. I’d fly the damn plane if they’d let me!!

Tell us about the most memorable fan encounter you had this year.

In the parking lot at my gynecologist someone stopped me to tell me how much they loved my music!

Tell us about your first kiss.

It was terrible. I had a HUGE crush on this dude, Caleb. He did me a favor and kissed me but then he told everyone that he could tell I was “inexperienced.” UgH!!

Under the Radar has been around for 15 years now, since December 2001. How do you feel the music industry has most changed in that time, both for the better and the worst?

Well, no one buys music anymore and if they do, they feel really great about paying 10 bucks a month for an infinite amount of music. No one wants to hear anyone bitching anymore, but it sure does make me mad still. Haha.

Which Stranger Things character do you most relate with? Why?

Winona. Because she’s a mom.

What advice do you have to the leaders of the Democratic Party in terms of how to rebound from this election?


What is the worst trend in music journalism these past few years? What about the best?

That anyone thinks they are a journalist. That anyone thinks they are a journalist.

What band would you least like to see reform and why?

Haha. I don’t know. Ummm… The Go-Go’s. I think their youth is a huge part of the appeal.

What celebrity, musician, or historical figure, living or dead, would you most want to be stuck in an elevator with?

Carole King.

What rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle cliché is truest?

(From my outside observations) money and fame can not find you happiness.

In which ways are you most like your parents and in which ways are you least like them?

I get my love for music from my dad and I get my work ethic from my mom, but I have a sense of adventure that sets me apart from them.

If you could travel back in time, which historical or personal event would you most like to change and why?

I would Lock Trump in a closet for the years of 2015 and 2016.

What’s your favorite year for music and what were your favorite albums from that year?

I don’t know, probably sometime in the late ‘60s when the Beatles were killing it.

What song would you like to be performed at your funeral and who would you like to sing it?

“What a Wonderful World.” Conor [Oberst].



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January 23rd 2017

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