Flaunt Premiere | Charlie Taylor: Disappear
Charlie Taylor is an ethereal enigma and her visual for Disappear shows that, despite the title, she can never fade away from the spotlight. With a liberating yet grounding upbringing, Charlie Taylor has an aura that screams stardom and sensuality straight through our computer screens. The video has a classy classic-film feel with a country flare, symbolic for Charlie’s character at her core. Beauty like Charlie’s is simply unparalleled, but the voice she has found through songwriting and creating makes her a dream-girl beyond imaginable. It’s a special honor to premiere the music video for Disappear right here, but be sure to read our interview below to understand the uniqueness that is all things Charlie Taylor.
What was the overall inspiration for Disappear, both as a song and for the music video?
When I wrote Disappear last year, I was in one of the darkest points of my life, but I definitely didn't know it at the time. I had stumbled into a world where I was being paid quite a bit of money to act as a puppet for the very wealthy. I was about to get onto a private jet for a week of work, and with my suitcase in hand, I walked past my piano and played a C chord. The first few lines of the song came tumbling from my mouth. I took a voice memo and rushed out the door. I wrote the rest of the song on the flight.
Sometimes when I write, I realize how I really feel about something only after reading my own lyrics. Perhaps that's a bizarre dissociation, but regardless, it's clear that I was searching for authentic connection at the time, and my take-away from the luxury life-style that I was becoming accustomed to was that I was perpetually unsatisfied.
When I got back home, I showed the song idea to one of my closest and dearest friends, Seth. Seth taught me everything I know about songwriting, and believed in me when no one else did. He and I wrote our first song together eight years ago, and after a six year relationship, we stayed best friends and mutual supporters of each others art. He loved the song idea and asked if he could sing on it and produce the track.
We wanted the video to have all the ethereal vibes that the song does, and we brought on the brilliant director Tess Bourne to help us create the visuals. We all spent the weekend in Joshua Tree, and shot the video on 16mm film. While I was editing, I realized that I had hours of archived footage from Seth and I when we were first writing together, and so I spliced in my favorite parts. I'm really excited and grateful that I get to share this chapter of my life and this piece of art with y'all.
I understand that you were born into a family with a liberal life as nudists in Los Angeles, but then had to move to a small horse town. Do you still see the influences of both places from your childhood on your life today?
Yes! It's the best dichotomy ever. I feel like I got all the good parts of growing up in a small-town, but I also got to live like a free bird. When we were growing up, my parents never really gave us any rules. They never told me my skirt was too short, even when it was. I was able to express myself however I wanted, and while there are some serious moments that I hope no one ever sees, it was a liberating way to discover myself and my sexuality. I never had shame or had to operate within someone else's parameters, so I always had a lot of range as an artist to experiment, fail, and try it again.
Your video seems so raw and so honest. How important is it to you to be transparent in your art?Transparency in my art is something I worked SO hard to find, but now that I have, it's all that I know. I think as artists we are always searching for an identity. We change our style, aesthetic, vibe, branding, as though they are jeans in a department store, searching for that perfect fit. I don't think we ever aim to be inauthentic, but sometimes just being yourself is harder than being something else for a minute. For me, it took hitting my version of rock bottom to start accepting that I was pretty cool as I am, and to stop giving a fuck what anyone else thought. I think I'll always be fluid as an artist, but it's about accepting and embracing whatever is real in that moment, and stamping it into permanency in the form of a song, photograph, video, etc.
You define your music style as “gangster-folk.” Can you tell us what exactly that beautiful mish-mash means?
Haha! Gangster-folk is the vision that I've had for years now. It's all my favorite parts of music, acoustic guitar, singer-songwriter melody, but with hip-hop beats and uncomfortably bad-ass lyrics. Some of my songs are really living a gangster-folk life right now, and the others, Disappear being one, are just somewhere in between it all. It's a tricky thing to have a vibe in your head and not have the vocabulary to express it to the people who are creating the tangible version.
Were you always articulate with your emotions lie you are in your lyrics? Is songwriting specifically your favorite way to get your feelings out?
I never wanted to be a songwriter. I only wanted to be a singer, and I wanted other people to write for me. It was eight years ago that Seth told me that if I didn't learn to write, I would never make it. I remember thinking, "I have nothing to say." It took years of studying how other people wrote until I finally found not only my style, but my personal voice. And once I found that, it was game-on. I think it's sometimes the things we have to work the hardest for that end up being the most rewarding. I am now a better writer than singer, and writing is something that I can't get away from, even though sometimes I try.
You seem so expressive not only in music but in your personal presence as I can see on social media. How would you define your personal style?
Thank you! That's cool of you to say. There's two ladies that live inside me, one is a feminist and the other is a playmate and depending on the day, one of them wins the style battle. Most recently, I don't wear much makeup and I let my hair air-dry. I don't define beauty the way that I used to, and I feel sexy in a baggy vintage denim jumper. That said, I still VERY much enjoy pushing boundaries and celebrating my body and my femininity.
Can you tell us a little bit about your EP Sad Barbie?
Sad Barbie is how I personify the chapter of my life where all of these songs were written from. It is about exposing the brokenness inside of a system that values women for their outer beauty. It is about the dysfunctional transactions we often participate in, sometimes without knowing it. And finally, it is about the power that we inherently have as women in this very interesting time.
What is one thing that you know to be true, no matter what life throws at you?
Music has always been my best friend, and will always be there for me. When you have something that you are so passionate about, it insulates you from some of the bullshit we inevitably have to deal with as beautifully flawed humans. For instance, you can hurt me, but I'll go home and write about it, and before long, I'll be fine.