Pure Country’s Tanaeya Taylor Shares Her Latest Endeavours On and Off Air

Photography by Nicolai Gregory

We last sat down with you in 2023. You’ve since moved into songwriting and started a career as an artist. What inspired this new direction for you, and why now?

For a long time I only wanted to be a songwriter. I was hoping to eventually make a career entirely out of writing songs for other people. Then last year I went to Nashville for the first time, and played a few writers rounds.  While I was doing this, a lot of people that I interacted with asked me why I wasn’t pursuing a career as an artist. Then I started asking myself! I decided that I would release my own music.

What has been the biggest challenge for you since launching your career?

Right now I’m working on making sure any music I plan to release is 100% authentic and true to ME. I work in radio, so I tend to automatically write ‘radio’-type songs. I know how long they should be, which chords to use, what to talk about in them and the targeted demographics they would work for. This actually poses a big challenge for me because I want to make sure that I’m making music that I truly, fully, 100% relate to, and would listen to on repeat in my free time. That is the most important thing to me as an artist – and it’s hard! I think a big part of it is making sure you know exactly who you are, and I think I am slowly getting there!

It still surprises me how vulnerable I am when I’m writing. I don’t quite name names like Taylor Swift used to, but if the people who have hurt me hear my songs, they definitely know they’re about them. I recently wrote (and posted) a song including the colour of someone’s shirt and the exact day I saw them wearing it. Maybe I’m crazy? But I think it’s fun. It really rubs my POV of situations in. 

Tell us about your work at Bell Media, moving from a local to national radio show. What’s your favourite thing about the work you do?

I still have my local show which I hope to keep forever and ever because I absolutely love the listeners and how sweet they are. They are easily the best part of the job and I try my best to make their day just a bit better every single day, because they definitely do that for me!

I did recently acquire the nationally syndicated Saturday night show across all 16 PURE Country stations, and it is honestly so much fun! I’ve gotten to interview some of my favourite artists for it and I also think it’s so cool that my friends and family around the country can tune in – including my mom and grandmother back in Nova Scotia! I’ve never had a radio gig at home, only away, so that makes it so sweet.

I’ve also recently joined the National Pure Country music team where I help select new music that gets added to the Canada-wide playlist, a very cool new part of my job as well!

What are some concerts or albums you’re excited for?

We’re heading into festival season and I am so excited for all of the country festivals coming up! I’m also seeing Tanner Adell at CMA fest very soon and I absolutely can not wait… she is the best! SZA and Noah Kahan are also at Osheaga this year so consider me THERE.

How do you manage a busy work schedule and find time to pursue your hobbies and interests?

Luckily my job (radio) and a lot of my hobbies (music related) blend well! Radio host, songwriter, artist…everything goes hand in hand. It’s honestly a dream! I get to listen to and talk about music all day at work, create music at home… play it in Nashville, which involves travelling, which I also love… I could go on…It all just works. Music has always been at the forefront of my life and it continues to be now, and I know I’m doing what I was meant to do because it all just works so perfectly.

I will say that I also love to read, watch hockey, cook, grab coffee at cool cafes with my friends, and hang out with my dog. Some weeks it does require a pretty detailed schedule, but I actually spend a lot of time doing all of those things as well. They’re good for the mental health so I make time!

Tell us about your dog?

Fin!!! He is an Aussie/Border Collie mix and my best friend in the whole world!! He is seriously just the sweetest thing ever. He loves to play ball in our back yard, and herd my cat. I also recently taught him to “whisper” and I could literally cry when he does it because it’s so cute. He also has heterochromia and I’m pretty sure every person he has ever walked past has said he is handsome. Oh, and he’s viral on Tik Tok. Hoping he starts paying some of my bills soon.

You’ve been an avid supporter and champion of mental health initiatives in Ottawa. What are some projects you’ve been working on?

I’m actually currently collaborating with the creators of an app that is made to help people manage chronic illness/Long Covid. If you know me you’ve probably heard me talk about my recovery journey after becoming extremely sick after having Covid a few years ago, and I love the initiative that these creators are taking to help people dealing with what I’ve been through. Very excited for it to launch!

Since we last spoke with you, what’s something new you’ve learned about yourself or about mental health that you want to share?

Maybe not so much something I’ve newly learned as something that I’ve really been reminding myself of lately while I’ve been trying to focus on keeping my mental health in check. I am not required to always be doing something. If I have a free day, it’s OK to just lay low AND I don’t owe anyone an explanation! It’s good for my mental health to take care of myself, however that looks and however feels right!

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