Taylor Austin Dye is Fearless in Music

Taylor Austin Dye is an artist on the rise in 2023. Dye’s success has been fueled by releasing songs like “Rest in Peace” and “Bible Belt.” Originally a small town in Eastern Kentucky, Dye moved to Nashville in 2018. However, Taylor was a seasoned performer before coming to Music City. Dye’s music is fun, relatable, and authentic to her experiences. Please keep reading to learn more about Taylor and her music.

Taylor Austin Dye Grew Up On Stage

When you see Taylor Austin Dye perform, you can tell she is comfortable on stage. She can easily engage with her audience but has had years of practice. Dye said, “I started playing when I was five years old. I was on this show called Young Country once a week, where I would sing, clog, and play the fiddle. Then, I began playing at festivals, fairs, and any bars that let me play.”

Taylor Austin Dye was not content with playing stages near her hometown and would soon set her sights on Music City. The Kentucky native said, “I always knew I wanted to move to Nashville, and I begged my parents to let me come here. 2018, I moved to Nashville after landing a full-time gig playing at Margaritaville. While that’s an interesting place to start on Broadway, I headed down when I learned I could make a living playing downtown.” An artist’s first year in town usually doesn’t start with playing music full-time. But Taylor said, “I am fortunate that I never had to get a “real job” and could do music full-time. I know many people hate on Broadway, but it helped me get my chops up. My stage presence improved, and I became more engaging with the crowd.”

New in Nashville

Taylor Austin Dye did not have your typical first-year in Nashville experience since she played music full-time. Many artists are just finding their way and beginning to network during that first year. Taylor describes her struggles. She said, “When I first got to town, it was difficult because I didn’t know anyone. But, I would play Broadway for 4 to 8 hours, then go home exhausted. It’s emotionally exhausting and tiring on your voice. I didn’t want to network, and I regret that. But eventually, I began to play more songwriter nights and meet other songwriters. So, when I first got to town, I was all about the music and less about the people. Now, I am the opposite. But I am glad everything happened for me in the time it has because I wasn’t ready when I first moved to town.  

Photo credit: Kaylee Steffel

A Small-Town Girl in a Big City

Moving to Nashville is a huge change coming from a small town. Growing up in a small town in West Tennessee, I relate somewhat to Taylor’s experience. But Taylor Austin Dye grew up in Booneville, Kentucky, population 111. The singer/songwriter said, “I always joke about the nearest Walmart was over an hour away. We have a mom-and-pop grocery store and a dollar store. We don’t have any restaurants, and it was an hour and a half drive if I wanted to go to the mall. Now that I am in Nashville, I can be at a Taco Bell in thirty seconds. If you grow up with that type of convenience, you can take it for granted. But it seems unbelievable my grandparents lived their entire lives without cell phones or WiFi.”

For those of you who live in a small town, I am sure you can relate to Dye’s experience. From my experience, anyone who goes against the grain becomes the talk of the town. So, I asked Taylor if that was true in her case. She said, “I was the talk of the town in good and bad ways. But recently, many of my hometown folks have been at my shows. Of course, growing up, I heard I would never make it, and everyone has their own ideas of what that means. But I’ve made it if I can tour, create music, and make a little money.

Taylor Austin Dye Has Momentum

Taylor Austin Dye is undoubtedly on an upward trajectory. While gaining that momentum is challenging, maintaining relevance in Nashville is equally as challenging, especially for an independent artist. The singer/songwriter said, “The trajectory has been unreal. My following on Facebook alone has gone from about 9,000 followers to almost 350,000. I have had some viral videos. It’s hard to believe, but the growth is so organic.

One would wonder how Taylor Austin Dye plans to maintain her momentum and stay relevant in a town that can forget you quickly. Dye said, “Relevance in Nashville comes and goes, and it’s hard to keep people’s attention, especially with TikTok and as short as people’s attention spans have become. You must stay in front of people, so I post on social media daily. Because if you aren’t going to promote yourself, nobody else will. Promoting myself is something I had to learn because I am naturally reserved.” 

The industry is undoubtedly taking notice of Taylor Austin Dye. Dye signed a deal with United Talent Agency, a booking agent, earlier this year. The agreement with UTA is opening doors for Taylor for bigger shows. The singer/songwriter said, “Being an opener on a tour is great, but for people to come just to see you is on another level. My husband Ben and I toured in a Kia Soul for the last couple of years, and it eventually died on the road. We recently bought a van, which we named Lieutenant Van, to travel with a five-piece band.

Taylor Austin Dye, the Songwriter

If you ask most songwriters if they wrote good songs when they started, they would say no. The biggest reason is the more you write, the better you become. The Kentucky native said, “I started writing songs when I was twelve, and I even put an album out when I was nineteen or twenty. But that album has been wiped from the internet. It was bluegrass-driven, but it’s not me anymore. A lot of people don’t know that I was in a bluegrass band when I was in middle school. I played mandolin and was the lead singer.”  Will we see Taylor with a mandolin on stage sometime? 

Sometimes, it takes a while for an artist to find their sound; as a songwriter, you will write many songs to get there. Dye said, “When I first moved to town, I knew who I wanted to be but didn’t know how to get there. So you have to write through it. When I started writing, I was not my authentic self in my songs. But to write a song that people connect with, you must break down that wall and be more vulnerable. That was my goal going into this year.”

Taylor Austin Dye Releases “Out of These Hills”

Taylor Austin Dye released her album “Out of These Hills” on September 22, 2023. The album released followed three singles, “Damage Control,” “Rest in Peace,” and “Bible Belt.” As you can imagine, Taylor is incredibly proud of this collection of songs. The singer/songwriter said, “This album has everything. “Bible Belt” was inspired by a hooker, and “Rest in Peace” is about domestic abuse. The album has everything from partying, death, grief, cheating, and loss.”

There are no filler songs on this album. Each track is tremendous. Bible Belt, written by Dye, Nicole Croteau, Chris Utley, and Rob Pennington, is my favorite song on the album because I can relate to the small-town struggle. Dye said, “Bible Belt was my favorite song on the album because it resonated with many people. I pitched the idea in many writing sessions, but many passed on it because they didn’t think it would make the radio. Even Nicole and Chris initially passed on it, but finally, I said we were writing this song. “Better Goodbye” is my favorite song from the album that wasn’t a single because it’s so fun to play live.”

“Rest in Peace” has been the biggest song for Taylor Austin Dye so far, with over 3 million streams on Spotify alone. The singer/songwriter said, “Rest in Peace” solidified my sound and this project’s direction. Fortunately, it went viral several times over on TikTok. I started writing for the album last year. “Damage Control” was the first song I wrote for the album, and it helped me find my camp. Nicole Croteau, Chris Utley, and I call ourselves Damage Inc. because “Damage Control” was the first song we wrote together. I wrote through some experiences. “Bible Belt is personal. While it didn’t happen to me, it’s about my hometown. My dad passed away in April, and I wrote “Green Truck” after he passed. I am proud of everything on this album.”

For Taylor’s Fans and Those New to Her Music

Taylor Austin Dye is so thankful for her fans, the Ride or Dyes. For those new to Dye’s music, she said, “If you knew me, I am plain. I grew up in the holler on a baccer (tobacco) farm. I hope people continue to resonate with my music. Everyone is going through something, and I will continue writing songs so people don’t feel alone. I write the nitty gritty stuff people don’t want to talk about.” Indeed, “Bible Belt” falls into that category. It shines a light on the not-so-glorious parts of small-town America, but it’s real.

What has been Dye’s most rewarding experience on the journey as Taylor Austin Dye’s popularity continues to rise? Taylor said, “My album release party in Lexington, Kentucky, is the most rewarding experience. It’s my favorite show I’ve played to date. So many people came to support us. It was amazing to hear everyone singing along, chanting my name, and asking for an encore. People had tattooed autographs of my name. People were freaking out when they met me, which seemed crazy because I am just me.”

My Thoughts

Taylor Austin Dye has experienced tremendous success in 2023, but she is just getting started. She is already planning her next project, and I can’t wait to see how she follows this album. One thing is sure: her music should be on the radio. Taylor’s authenticity and willingness to tackle taboo subjects in her songs is refreshing. So, if you love her music as much as I do, help spread the word. 

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