October 22nd, 2021
Like Mother Like Daughter
Carolesdaughter on the tattoo that changed her life, "Violent" and her debut EP.
As tattooed people, we seldom consider how our body art will impact the people around us. But, it only takes a stranger seeing one tattoo, one time, to change their entire world view. “When I was young, I wasn’t really allowed to listen to different types of music,” shares singer-songwriter Thea Taylor, known to the world as Carolesdaughter. “But then I saw a Black Flag tattoo at SeaWorld. I remember going on Reddit, seeing that symbol as I discovered punk music, and making the connection. That kind of unlocked everything else for me.”
Taylor grew up as the youngest of 10 kids in a strict Mormon household. Not only was she forbidden to listen to hardcore music, but tattoos and piercings were also a serious taboo. Despite the restrictions, or perhaps because of them, Taylor was a rebel from a young age. “I gave myself my first tattoo when I was 12 or 13,” she says. “I have a bunch of random stick-and-pokes that I’ve done on myself over my teenage years. My first one was a wave that goes into a sun on the inside of my middle finger. It’s actually stayed really well, so I must have stabbed that one in.”
Before she was able to ornament her body with a single tattoo, Taylor was a songwriter. It was her experience going through hard times that gave her the clarity to write some of her best music. “I wrote a ton of music while I was in rehab, and that’s where a lot of my songs are from,” Taylor says. “There’s a difference in writing when you think nobody is going to hear [the songs]. I was completely candid with what I was experiencing at the time without thinking about how people would react.”
One of the main things they teach you in rehab is the importance of having a plan. When Taylor walked out the door she had two plans—the one she was taught to help her maintain her sobriety and a scheme to become the artist she’d always dreamed of being. With hundreds of songs at the ready, Taylor began finding beats, collaborating with friends she’d met online and publishing her music to SoundCloud. “I put out maybe seven or eight songs, then I released ‘Violent,’” she says. “That song was always my best song, it did maybe 20K in the first couple of weeks. Then I put it on TikTok and that’s when it really blew up. It got, like, a million streams on its own and the rest is pretty much history.”
“Violent” hit home with fans because it came from a real and vulnerable place. While going through one of the most difficult times of her life, Taylor wrote incredibly raw music, and her authenticity rang true with her fans. “If that music didn’t come out of a super hard time, people wouldn’t be able to relate to it,” Taylor says. “I don’t care what anybody says, nobody wants to listen to a happy song. Even if the melody sounds happy, people have to relate to it and the truth of the matter is that most people are not happy. The best art comes from pain and with my music, I feel like I actually have something to say.”
After the success of “Violent,” nobody would have faulted Taylor if she stuck with the Lil Peep-style sound that launched her rise to fame. And while she could have stayed comfortably in that lane, this genre-bending musician used the opportunity to show the world her versatility. “I wanted to surprise people with ‘Trailer Trash,’ which is this folky weird song.” she says. “I have another song off my project called ‘Please Put Me in a Medically Induced Coma,’ it’s pop-punk and very headbanger. It’s super fun to be able to make the music I’ve always wanted to make but never had the resources for.”
The project she is referring to will be her debut EP, a collection of her varied life experiences woven together by her proficiency as a guitarist. It will include songs Taylor wrote while in rehab, as well as new material that shows her evolution as an artist.
“One of the songs I wrote recently is called ‘Audrey’ and it’s about a stripper that I met and fell in love with the first time I went to a strip club,” Taylor shares. “Another song is called ‘Target Practice,’ which is from the point of view of a misfit kid and people treating you like you’re target practice. Even though those are my newer songs, the songs I wrote in rehab are just as relevant to me now. Maybe the lyrics aren’t exactly the same, like the one where I say, ‘my clothes don’t fit and I can feel my spine.’ Now, my clothes don’t fit but it’s for the opposite reason. So it’s definitely still relatable, but things change.”
With an EP coming soon and a tour opening for Machine Gun Kelly underway, Taylor is being propelled toward what will undoubtedly be a successful career. However, while she’s rebelled from her upbringing through her choice of music, her personal style and, of course, her affinity for tattoos, her brand as an artist will always be an homage to family. “[Carolesdaughter] will never be an alter ego because I’m Carole’s daughter and I love being connected to my mom,” Taylor says. “A lot of people think you can’t have a good relationship with your family if they’re religious and you’re all tatted up. That may be true for some people, but my mom and I have grown past that and they’re really proud of me. So I just love to show that I love her through my name.”
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