Taylor Contarino Shows Her Artistry is More than “Bare Minimum” on Latest Single

Authentic singer and songwriter Taylor Contarino takes on the music industry with her latest release, “Bare Minimum,” out April 19, 2024. The small-town artist moved from South Jersey to Los Angeles and is currently pursuing her education and dreams. She is a lover of all things that revolve around music. Taylor is authentic in showing her vulnerability through her music and who she is as a person. She is an inspiration and the definition of an artist in every way.

Taylor Contarino Bare Minimum
Photographer credit Karly Ramnani

Q&A with Taylor Contarino

POETRY DANS LA RUE: How did you first become interested in music, and what inspired you to pursue a career as a musician?

Taylor Contarino: “I had a passion for music from a very young age. My mom would always play Eminem through the ups and downs of life. It provided constant comfort for her through the trials she faced with my father. I’ve had a deep love for music since my childhood and started attending concerts at a young age. During the pandemic, I began using my time to write about music, especially about 90s hip-hop music. I created a hip-hop music blog my freshman year, while living in New York. After creating my blog, I ended up getting more opportunities in music, and eventually, after working with a couple of independent labels and opportunities, I landed at Universal Music Group.”

PDLR: Can you tell us about your songwriting process and where you draw inspiration from for your music?

Taylor Contarino: “My musical process…I love making music! I could cry over how much I love it. It’s literally my outlet. I don’t see it as a thing I have to do but rather as a thing I get to do. Being able to take words and make them sound pretty or using my voice to say how I feel is the greatest thing ever!

Like yesterday, I was freaking out because I’m realizing that I’m graduating college in a month, and I’m going to have to become a big girl, you know, and I’m really scared about that. I’m going to have to be an adult. I’ve started writing how I feel about that. My creative process comes from moments like that, where it’s like I’m in the moment, and my emotionality takes over.

“It’s when I am at my breaking point that my music starts to evolve.”

That’s what I love about music; if I can’t turn to anything else or anyone else, I can always turn to my piano. I can always turn to Logic, like my software. I can always turn to my notes and write down how I’m feeling. It’s like I can turn my heartbreak into healing and my pain into beauty. Yeah, I sound like a poet, but I love that.

I also wrote a poetry book, which I released in the fall. Writing means a lot to me. Being able to express how I feel, letting it resonate with people, and making it sound beautiful means so much to me.”

PDLR: What do you enjoy most about playing in front of an audience?

Taylor Contarino: “Oh, I hate being in front of an audience. I’m crying because I love that you asked me that question, but I hate being in front of an audience. I have to force myself to get in front of an audience. I know that’s so weird, but it’s so scary. I’d rather be sitting in my room making music. But on the contrary, I know that it’s an important part of music. Performing is a part of being an artist. Every single time I perform, I’m getting stronger.

I have this thing where whenever something scares me, I force myself to do it. What’s the alternative? To hide from it my entire life? I’m a firm believer that if something scares you, you have to do it. Every time I get on stage, I’m conquering my fears, and I’m really just taking ownership of my body, words, voice, and the way I feel. I know that the more I perform, the better I’ll get at it. I don’t think practice makes perfect, but I do think practice makes progress.”

“Bare Minimum” Coming Soon

PDLR: Can you talk a little about your upcoming single, “Bare Minimum?”

Taylor Contarino: “Of course, I’m so excited! On April 19th I’m dropping ” Bare Minimum” part one, the single. It’s all part of a story from my last couple of months. The whole EP drops on April 26th, one week later from the release of the single. I purposely made it this way because I wanted part one to be a description of the things that I’ve been going through and the way I have been feeling. Part one, “Bare Minimum,” was written and made to be more emotional. Part two is going to be more of an anthem for healing and moving on, more of a motivating piece of music.

The whole EP intends to tell my lived experience and what I went through over the past couple of months with a relationship I used to be in. I’m really excited about the project and am so excited for the world to hear it. I’m just grateful to God. I can’t believe that I’m really putting an EP out because there was a time when I had given up on music for a long time.”

PDRL: What do you hope listeners take away from your music?

Taylor Contarino: “The only thing I ever wanted was for listeners to be heard, seen, and represented. That’s really all I have ever cared about. If people listen to my music, then that’s great. But for me, no matter what, I was able to use the creation process to heal through experiences the music refers to.

All the music that I make is real. The things that I’m saying actually happened. My mom never let me lie growing up. She always said, ” I would rather you say that you did something crazy than lie to me.” Growing up, if I went to a party, my mom would rather I call her and tell her I did something stupid than lie. My mom was heavy on the “Don’t lie to me,” just tell me how it is and be 100% honest.”

Future Collaborations and Music

PDLR: Are there any future projects or collaborations that you’re excited about?

Taylor Contarino: “Yes, I have so many. I’m so grateful! I’ve been working on so much music recently. I have four songs that I am currently working on and that I can’t wait to share with the world. I have a song called “God’s Business.” It’s a song about finding out that my grandpa has cancer. Sorry, not to get depressing, but we are working through it. There’s another song I’ve been working on with an incredible producer and talented bassist/guitarist called “Deadbeat.” It’s about my drug-addicted father.

Currently, I’m also working on a love song and another song about hating the club. I went two weeks ago, and I wrote a song called “I’m Over the Club.” I realized that I really don’t like going to the club. Why does it have to be so loud? I don’t know when I’m going to release these songs yet, but I’m very excited to share them with everyone.”

PDLR: Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians looking to break into the industry?

Taylor Contarino: “Of course! Don’t give up! If you never give up, you can never lose. My advice to anybody is to just keep going. I wish that I could have told myself this two years ago when I gave up on music; I wish someone were there to tell me not to give up. If you give up, what’s the alternative? What are you going to do? You’re going to be sad, and you’re going to regret it every day. Honestly, that’s how I was feeling. That’s why I continue to make music.

I also had a friend who sent me a long paragraph. Actually it was more like she wrote a book, basically, on why I should continue making music, which is the reason that I started doing it again. I love her, and she’s amazing! Her name is Rachel, and she’s one of my best friends. I am so grateful for her!

I would just tell people to keep going on their dreams because you never know when there’s going to be motion. You never know when you are going to succeed. Even if you don’t have a million streams, you are still a musician because you are making music. Don’t let the numbers, social media, or anyone tell you that you can’t do it. As long as something makes you happy, then keep doing it. Don’t be afraid to say how you feel.”

PDLR: How long have you been releasing music in general and professionally? 

Taylor Contarino: “Since my sophomore year of college, about two years ago. That’s around the time I also gave up on music because I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I felt scared of people reacting to my music and thinking I wasn’t good enough. That’s when I realized that it doesn’t matter if people think I’m good enough as long as I think I am. It’s about how I feel and how I perceive myself.

Once I changed my perspective, I was able to enjoy the artistic, creative process and the healing process. I am open to collaborations and working on art with other people. Everything I do is because of the love I have for the art.”


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