Images and Video by Jan-Willem Dikkers
“Music is a really powerful tool in learning
how to articulate your emotions.”
— Taylor Janzen
Taylor Janzen is a singer-songwriter from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has released two songs, “The Waiting Room” and “Stations,” from her debut EP Interpersonal (2018).
From a small town just outside Winnipeg, 19-year-old Taylor Janzen grew up with religious family and friends who never talked about their difficulties. Janzen turned to songwriting as an outlet to cope with mental health struggles, her debut EP Interpersonal (2018) acting as a glimpse into her most vulnerable moments. She breaks her silence about emotional abuse in recently released track “Stations,” which received praise from The New York Times: “The powerful simplicity of a voice, a guitar, a restrained melody and a raw emotion has been rediscovered by songwriters like Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and now Taylor Janzen.” Janzen discusses getting her start at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, remaining transparent in her songs, and desire to collaborate with Death Cab for Cutie.
Where are you from?
I’m from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
When did you start making music?
I played music by myself at a really young age, but I started putting out music about a year and a half ago.
Who did you listen to growing up?
Avril Lavigne and Paramore.
How did you get started?
I sang in church, and then I started actually playing music by participating in the Stingray Performance Program at Winnipeg Folk Fest where they let young performers or songwriters play a couple songs at the festival, and from there I met a lot of people and just kind of playing DIY shows around Winnipeg ever since.
“A lot of my religious upbringing gets put into my songwriting, and my mental health journey has been put into songwriting as well.”
— Taylor Janzen
What was your first break?
The first moment where I was like, “Wow, I get to play shows – this is really cool,” was when I played the Park Theater. I was opening for a band called Walking On Ropes that I met through Folk Fest, and I’d seen so many of my favorite bands play there, so that was probably it.
What life events have impacted you and your music the most?
A lot of my religious upbringing gets put into my songwriting, and my mental health journey has been put into songwriting as well. That’s not necessarily an event, but different journeys that get put into it.
Tell me a bit about your debut EP Interpersonal that’s about to come out?
It’s four songs that I recorded with my friend Shane, except for “The Waiting Room.” I recorded that in my basement. But it’s basically my observation of how our interpersonal relationships affect us and how we interact with them. They have a bigger impact than we think sometimes.
What are some things that are important to you that you like to address through your music?
Honesty and transparency when it comes to emotions. Music is a really powerful tool in learning how to articulate your emotions.
“[Interpersonal] is basically my observation of how our interpersonal relationships affect us and how we interact with them.”
— Taylor Janzen
Who would you most like to collaborate with and why?
I would love to like collaborate with Death Cab for Cutie. They’re really cool, and I definitely want to sing with them.
New Seeds of Contemplation
Published over 40 years ago, New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton has served as a guide for meditative living. The novel is Thomas Merton’s most widely read work.
Now, Now is an indie rock band based in Minneapolis composed of Cacie Dalager and Bradley Hale. The duo has released three albums: Neighbors (2010), Threads (2012), and Saved (2018).
What are your interests and passions outside of music?
I really love reading. I like growing and trying to educate myself as much as possible, especially since I’m not in school anymore. I have to work a bit harder to do that on my own time, but that’s probably my favorite hobby outside of music.
What’s your favorite books, film, and music right now?
My favorite book I’m reading right now is New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton. It’s this monk talking about contemplation, and it’s really fascinating. I don’t watch a lot of movies. I’d say my favorite movie is consistently She’s the Man. It’s hilarious, and I think everyone should watch it all the time. My favorite music right now – I love the new Now, Now record. I’m listening to it 24/7.