Imagine a pastel-hued place where lines between gender and genre disappear, feelings float freely, and anything becomes possible day or night. Under the neon lights, you can wear what you want to wear and be who you want to be without any expectations, constraints, or rules. This world belongs to Tayla Parx. The three-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated artist, singer, songwriter, and boundary breaker welcomes listeners with a warm heart and open arms to this space. After one visit, you might not want to leave…
“In my fashion and in my music, the philosophy is to defy every rule we’ve placed on ourselves before,” she exclaims. “Let’s redefine genre. Let’s redefine gender. Let’s redefine what feminism is. Let’s redefine what R&B is. Let’s redefine what a true artist is. As a writer, I’ve worked in so many different areas of music that I just want to redefine what popular music is. What I do sounds just like my personality. It’s fun and loud. It’s my colorful world.”
Tayla set about unlocking that world in 2017 with the Tayla Made mixtape. Up to that point, the Dallas native had made her mark from two opposites vantage points—behind-the-scenes in music and on-screen in television, films, and video games. As a songwriter, her discography spans hits for everyone from Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, and Meghan Trainor to Ariana Grande, Janelle Monáe, and Nicki Minaj in addition to multi-platinum smashes such as Fifth Harmony’s “BO$$” and Chris Brown’s “Anyway.” As an actress, she appeared in Hairspray and True Jackson, VP as well as The Walking Dead and Sims video game franchises. Along the way, Vogue, NYLON, Highsnobiety, Billboard, and more shined a spotlight on her. Tayla Made hinted at her potential, but it merely scratched the surface.
“I didn’t know I could be vulnerable yet,” she admits. “I love the mixtape, but it was more aggressive and in my own head. I’m strong enough to be open finally. I’ve always been a big fan of waiting for the right timing. As a songwriter, I’ve been able to see where a lot of artists went right and wrong, because I was a student of my craft, songwriters, and music in general. Once I completely knew what I was as an artist—visually and sonically—I was ready. I looked at myself and said, ‘We need to talk. Let’s do this.’”
That brings us to her major label debut project, the aptly titled WE NEED TO TALK [Tayla Made/Atlantic Records]. She paved the way for its arrival with the ethereal and entrancing “Runaway” [feat. Khalid], which quickly clocked over 9 million Spotify streams within a few months. The follow-up single “Me vs. Us” twirls a colorful sonic kaleidoscope, splashing strains of pop and R&B across a quirky canvas of production. Straight out of the gate, it earned the praise of Complex and Refinery29, to name a few.
“Over this past year, I realized that I have a heart,” she continues. “For the first time, I’m sort of confessing, ‘I think I might be losing my mind over somebody, and I hope I’m not alone in that.’ It’s a conversation you can have with your love or yourself. I’m going from only caring about my career to taking the energy and time to include somebody else in my story.”
At the same time, she delivers a provocative message on We Need To Talk. “Slow Dancing” dives into the search for serenity, while “I Want You” espouses gender fluidity as it asks, “Can you blame me for wanting you and that person too, because you’re just so amazing?” “This a journey of discovery,” elaborates Tayla. “I like things that aren’t straightforward, because I’ve created a lot of straightforward music already. I like things that are left-of-center. I want to start a conversation.”
In the end, Tayla will be the topic of conversation for a long time to come with We Need To Talk. “I think everybody can take away something a little different,” she leaves off. “I want every little girl to understand you can be stronger. I want every little boy to be able to like the color pink if he wants to. I want everyone in the background to step forward. I want every person who doesn’t know who or what they are to just be themselves. This is my world. All are welcome.”