Now in its 16th year, the Independent Music Awards (IMAs) honor self-released and/or independent artists who, as the organization says, made the “most exceptional and artistically daring” music of the year — without the support of a label.
Nominated for two IMAs (Song of the Year for “Miami” featuring Spencer Kane and Album of the Year for Space Case), Taylor Grey is also performing at this year’s ceremony on March 31 at Lincoln Center in New York City. Notably, both “Miami” and Grey’s first single from Space Case, “Never Woulda Letcha” have earned over a million views on YouTube.
Earning recognition for your work as an artist is a huge deal, but as an independent artist being singled out for success without a label push, it means that much more. Ahead of the IMAs, we caught up with Grey, who releases her music via AWAL, to discuss her career, goals, and IMA nominations.
How did your journey first begin as an artist?
I started singing when I was young. I grew up writing little songs and melodies about the kids I had crushes on or my homework. Gradually, through the constant musical theater productions and choir classes, I realized that music was a true passion, not just a hobby, and I always wanted it to be part of my life.
Where are you now in your artist journey?
Even though I’ve been at this for a while, I think I’m just at the beginning. I’m finally starting to piece together who I am as an artist and what message I want to convey with my music. That vision gets stronger everyday.
What were some of the hardest obstacles you had to overcome to get to where you are today?
The hardest obstacle has been balancing my music career with my academic career at Stanford. My plate fills up really quickly. But music and education are two passions, and I can’t give up either one.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?
The most rewarding thing is hearing people say that my songs mean something to them and they can relate. My newest song “Poison” has, perhaps, been the most relatable in terms of audience response. It’s so surreal hearing people reflect, “Woah, that’s exactly like my life.” I feel like I made something valuable not only to myself but to others.
How does it feel to be nominated at this year’s independent music awards for Album of the Year with Space Case and Song of the Year with “Miami”?
It’s a little surreal. It’s really humbling to be recognized amongst really talented musicians and songwriters. It’s really validating knowing that what you’re doing is being well received.
How are you feeling about performing at this year’s independent music awards?
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I’m not sure what to expect, I’ve never played at an awards show before. It’ll be a once in a lifetime experience, and I’m really lucky that I get to be a part of it.
What are your ultimate goals as an artist?
I want to connect with people. Writing music helps me better understand myself and my life, and when you put that work out into the world, and people come back saying, “I relate” or, “This is so me,” I swear there is no better feeling.
AWAL Insights™ Into Taylor Grey’s Journey
- The ladies are loving Taylor Grey’s music — a whopping 72% of her streaming listeners on Spotify and Apple Music are women.
- Since its release last November, Grey’s single “Poison” has earned more than 55,000 streams from over 13,000 listeners.
- Spotify and Apple Music users love starting their weeks with Grey’s music — her most popular day across both platforms is Monday.
How has your experience with AWAL been so far?
You guys are the best!! It’s so lovely to see big platforms supporting independent artists; it really is major in evening the playing field.
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