Cree Taylor was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, but has lived all over the country. She first began singing when she was 6, and began writing songs when she was 13. However, her fear of performing led her to make music and write songs in private until 2018 when she gathered the courage to perform at a Detroit open mic night. The wildly positive reaction from the crowd gave her the confidence to begin releasing her music to the world. Cree released her debut single “Someone Else” in June 2019. She hopes that her music takes people to a place where they can vibe out and be free with their emotions.
Lisa: Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Cree: Music has always been extremely important to me, and served as a source of comfort and release for my soul. At the same time, it almost felt like a cage, because I had this debilitating stage fright that prevented me from being artistically free and releasing my art to the world. So, as silly as it sounds, I literally sang and wrote music in secret for years. I knew I wanted to be a musician since I was 6 or so, but didn’t get the courage to make it a reality until 2 years ago. I just had a “fuck-it” moment and realized how tired I was hiding my love of singing. As an attempt to force myself to get comfortable with the idea of singing in public, I spontaneously posted a video of myself singing on facebook, and turned my phone off for the rest of the day so I wouldn’t see the comments. When I turned it back on the next day, I was bombarded with comments, calls and texts from nearly everyone I know, praising my voice. Posting that video was one of the hardest things I’ve forced myself to do, but it’s what really gave me the confidence to pursue music.
Lisa: How do you balance the performative/creative side of making music with the technical side of engineering it?
Cree: I think it comes down to understanding that it’s just something that has to be done. It’s hard to have one without the other. However, I’ve had the pleasure of working with really great producers that don’t make me feel like I’m having to sacrifice my creative voice in a song. I think that’s key. Find someone who creates good work without stifling your creative energy.
Lisa: How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Cree: I like to describe my music as very open and emotion-invoking, but still peaceful and relaxing. In my music I’ll talk about things that may be perceived as heavy and/or deep and may make my listeners feel emotions that are heavy and deep as well, but my goal is to accompany those emotions with soothing tones and chill vibes, so the listener can feel as much as they want, while still coasting through the journey.
Lisa: Do you get creative blocks? If so, what do you do to move past them?
Cree: I do get creative blocks, but not often. I usually don’t try to force myself to create, yet I create when I feel something brewing. I know this may not always be feasible, as I may need to create to meet a deadline or goal in the future. However, for now, because I try to only create when I’m inspired, I usually don’t feel blocked in these times. However, if I do feel blocked, I find that taking an aimless drive helps me every time. I get in my car and drive with the windows all the way up, turn on my recorder, and sing whatever comes out. This way, I usually discover some things that I didn’t realize were sitting on my head or heart and it tends to open up my creative juices every time.
Lisa: You’ve released your debut single “Someone Else” in June 2019. What was It like to get your original art into the world? And what inspired you to write that song?
Cree: It was amazing. After spending so many years hiding, it was amazing to see what I’d created out in the world. It was as if that one single made up for all the songs that went unheard because of my stage fright. The song was inspired by a previous, but very meaningful relationship. I’m pretty free spirited, and have always been reluctant to commit and/or “settle down”. “Someone Else” essentially is about how that reluctance bit me in the ass with someone I really cared about. While I was going back and forth about not wanting to commit, the other person made a decision to move on to someone who would. That was one of the most painful things I’d experienced at the time, even though I’d basically brought it upon myself.
Additionally, it seems like alot of narratives paint men as the only ones who don’t commit, but I was inspired to highlight the fact that women also have their reasons for not committing. I want to share that women share some of the same experiences in relationships as men do, and they are just as valid.
Lisa: A lot of famous musicians come from Detroit, like Eminem, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and much more. What in your opinion is so inspirational about Detroit?
Cree: Detroiters is a tough city that’s characterized by people who embody grit and resilience. There’s no stopping a Detroiter. Even with a million odds stacked against them. Detroit vs Everybody is a real thing.
Lisa: What is the most useless talent you have?
Cree: I can do really good impersonations and impressions.
Lisa: How do you nourish your creative side when you’re not working? And how do you avoid burnout?
Cree: I spend a lot of time outside–walking aimlessly, laying in the grass, driving with all the windows down. I’ve always been a nature girl (my dad used to make me stay outside when I was kid, so I wasn’t sitting inside all day glued to the T.V.!), and it’s where I feel the most calm and centered. Most of my song lyrics have come to me that way. In order to avoid burnout, I keep myself busy with a lot of different things. I know that may sound counterproductive, but boredom and having too much free time is what kills my brain cells and makes me feel really down. I like alot of change and being able to take a break from music to focus on my business or vice versa, for instance, keeps me excited and motivated about everything I’m working on.
Lisa: What’s next for you?
Cree: I’ll be releasing two new singles soon: one in August and one in September. COVID has delayed my plans to release my EP, but that’s coming soon as well. I’m hoping before the end of the year. All in all, I want to keep creating music, reach more listeners, and collab with other budding artists.
Lisa: At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
Cree: I want people to know that it’s ok to be really emotional and sensitive even if you come off as “tough” or “unbothered”. Music is sometimes the one place where you can express yourself as much or as little as you want while still shaping your story the way you want it to be told.
Follow Cree: Spotify