Thursday 11th June 2020
Let’s start off with a question – “How do you launch a new music artist at a time when the entire world is experiencing and dealing with a global medical pandemic and the concept of a live gig/performance seems all but a distant memory?”
The answer is by embracing the use of technology and the ability to connect with another country by the touch of a button so that a ‘Virtual Showcase’ can be livestreamed across the world for everyone to see. Of course, livestreaming has been around for a few years now but its importance during Covid-19 especially in the arts world has helped an industry that overnight became immersed in uncertainty.
The set-up consisted of a live performance by Taylor Castro who was streaming live from Miami, alongside a short interview conducted by journalist Ben Jones who spoke to both Castro about her music and Mr John Giddings – who is not only the Festival Director of the Isle of Wight Festival in the UK but also runs Solo Agency which includes Little Mix, Ronan Keating and Taylor as clients.
Whilst chatting to Jones, Giddings explained that it was in mid-March 2020 when he spotted Taylor Castro’s new single on ‘Record of the Day’ and then proceeded to research and contact her. “It was about time we launched a new artist” he muses.
Discussing Taylor further, the industry legend admitted “Last time I got this feeling it was with The Corrs” – a band that would go on to have platinum album sales, sold-out tours as well as Brit Award wins and Grammy nominations amongst other accolades.
Then we heard from the lady herself as she spoke of writing her own music, her excitement surrounding the showcase, as well as her own issues with mental health “It’s okay not to be okay” she comments. Then she walked over to her band to prepare for the performance and opened with her latest single Abyss.
Backed by light percussion, acoustic guitar and bass the song features storyteller type lyrics and an emotive lead vocal and it has a real texture to it that I haven’t heard in a long time.
Next song Call Me was written during quarantine and is a tale of a one-sided relationship with only one half making the effort such as calling and texting whilst the other does not respond. The material will be relatable to people and her ability to pen songs about the human condition is something which will put her in good stead.
Ophelia’s Flowers was inspired by watching the 1990 film of ‘Hamlet’ with Ophelia portrayed by British actor Helena Bonham Carter alongside Mel Gibson as Hamlet and Glenn Close as Queen Gertrude. With a strong beat it reminds me of Katie Melua at times and would be a good choice for a live set opener. A highlight for this scribe.
Be Okay sees Castro in a reflective mind-set and the theme of reassurance is incredibly poignant, especially at this moment in time before closing with Girl Afraid, the title track of her forthcoming album, which deals with her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) diagnosis in the fourth grade. She shows her vulnerability and the delivery is hauntingly beautiful.
Thanks to everyone who put the showcase together by name at the end was very professional and I can see us hearing more from Taylor Castro in the months to come. Hopefully some live outings post-lockdown will be arranged for the UK for 2021 to support Girl Afraid.