Thea Taylor, or as fans know her, carolesdaughter is the newest cab off the ranks to launch her music career from social media platform, TikTok, a feat only many of us can dream of. At just eighteen, she’s experienced life’s trials and tribulations more than the average teenager like navigating multiple high schools before dropping out and spiralling down a rabbit hole. To pick herself back up, Taylor is drawing from those experiences and singing about it through music. Writing and recording her hit single ‘Violent’ one night in her bedroom on her iPhone has certainly paid off, and since then has garnered over 20 million views on TikTok alone.
‘Violent’ is an acoustic-synth jam and acts as an anthem for raging quietly and stems from carolesdaughter’s personal experience. Her style is inspired by the gothic, punk and alternative lifestyle and strikes a chord musically by listening to bands like Black Flag, My Chemical Romance and Bring Me The Horizon. We caught up with the Southern Californian native to get to know a little more about her, how she’s seemingly nailed social media and when we can hear more new music. Subtle hint: you can hear a sneak peek at the end of this interview…
Congrats on your latest single ‘Violent’, which has kinda blown up for you. It’s a pretty cool song too— the more I listen to it, the more I enjoy it. Has the song’s success ever felt overwhelming for you?
Yes. Obviously it’s a good thing to be able to make a song that so many people can relate to, they really just feel it and that’s the best feeling in the world. But yeah, there’s been times where it’s been overwhelming and I think just getting any type of attention like that can just be weird. Of course, with all the good messages there’s going to be bad ones too.
Yeah, especially with your huge following on social media platforms like TikTok. You’ve kinda done what only most of us dream of, with nailing the TikTok algorithm. What’s your secret?
Oh my God, I think I’m like a freak of nature because I didn’t do anything. It kind of just happened. I love TikTok because it’s actually really cool. I’ve never seen so many people that have an amazing style like that. It’s a whole new world of alternative people connecting and finding new music. It’s kind of like how YouTube was back in the day, when artists like Justin Bieber would just blow up overnight on YouTube and now that’s the new TikTok thing.
That’s it, and I guess having these new different social media platforms to engage with your fans makes it a little harder to keep things private. Have you learnt how to keep your personal and public life separate yet?
Well, I’m pretty open with what I struggle with my listeners. I talk about mental illness, addiction and all that stuff. But in regards to my personal life, yeah of course. I won’t post everything that goes on in my life.
You’ve had an interesting upbringing and adolescent experience, moreso than most teenagers and you’re the youngest in a family of 10. Are you close with all your siblings?
It’s kind of hard to be close to somebody that you’ve never lived with or you know. It’s just a different sibling relationship because they’re all married and have kids. I love all my siblings, but I don’t see them that often. I’m the baby, I’m like an only child. I would say, I’m my mom’s favourite, but don’t tell anybody else that!
You listen to a lot of alternative rock music and even some emo and heavy metal, like Black Dahlia Murder, Motionless In White, My Chemical Romance and Bring Me The Horizon. But the band that kind of inspired you to create your own music was Black Flag. What Black Flag song inspired you to take the musical path?
I don’t know if they inspired me specifically to start making my own music. I just really love that band. They unlocked the world of punk music and hardcore for me because they were the first band that I really discovered like that. One of my favourite songs by them is ‘Nervous Breakdown’ because I think it perfectly emulates the emotion of someone who’s just had enough. Listening to that song feels like a total release and I just love that emotion.
So what’s your biggest challenge when it comes to writing and creating your own music?
Creativity comes in waves for me and so sometimes if I’m not feeling as creative I’d like, I’m kinda beating myself up for it. But really it’s just that you have to have something to write about. It has to have substance to it. It has to mean something to me for it to mean anything to anybody else.
Do you have any particular strategies to help you get into that creative mindset?
Usually I kinda just know when I feel like writing a song. One thing that helps me and that I like to do for inspiration after I’ve already gotten in that mindset is reading Gothic poetry and novels and any type of good writing, because a book is just like a very long piece of art, you know? There’s certain books that have really beautiful imagery and it just gives me feelings that I want to recreate in a song for people.
And what’s the book you’re into at the moment?
Well, I just bought the original Grimms fairytales, so I’ve been reading that before bed because it just makes me feel really nostalgic. I just love those stories.
What can we expect from your forthcoming debut album?
Well, ‘Violent’ was a really good introduction for me. But I really want to open up and give fans a really good idea of who I am as a person and also prove that I’m here to stay for the long haul and that I’m going to keep putting out records.
So when can we hear new music from you?
I have a song coming out in March called ‘Trailer Trash’.
Well, it was great getting to know you a little more Thea. We’ll keep an eye out for your new single, ‘Trailer Trash’. Stay tuned…
Interview by Tamara May (@citylightstam)
Stream ‘Violent’ here