Taylored to Fit
“When I was a kid all I ever wanted to do was sing. I sang so much I drove my family crazy, but I didn’t care, I just loved it so much!” So says Taylor Acorn, who is on Billboard’s list of fifteen country artists to watch in 2018, and who will be performing at the Tioga County Fair on Saturday, August 11, at 4 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. The last time she sang at the fair was for the annual talent show when she was in high school. Now, she says, “It’s super exciting for me to be able to go back and now play on my own!” Taylor was in the Twin Tiers Idol competition in 2011 and was crowned the Twin Tiers Idol that year, which won her an all-expense paid trip to Houston, Texas, and a guaranteed audition on the network show American Idol. Newly residing in Nashville, Tennessee, Taylor’s career, these days, does seem to be falling neatly into place. There have been over 180,000 views of her YouTube video of “Put It in a Song.” She has a recording contract with a respected Nashville music publisher, she is on the coveted Billboard list of musicians to watch, and she is living in the city of her dreams.
Taylor confesses that it wasn’t always easy to have the dream of being a musician when she was growing up in Tioga County. “To want to be an artist in such a small area made it very hard. I got made fun of, a lot. Not many people wanted what I wanted,” she says. But she never let that stop her.
Taylor Acorn (Acorn, by the way, is her birth name, not a stage name. “I was debating whether or not to get a new stage name, but it just wouldn’t be me,” she says) and her family moved to Tioga County after her father died in 2001 to be nearer to family who lived in the area. She spent her middle school and high school years in Wellsboro, graduating from Wellsboro High School in 2012. After graduation, instead of following her dream of a music career, Taylor made what she called the “realistic choice” and went to Kutztown University to run track and pursue a college education. She says it was at Kutztown that she knew music was really her passion when she would skip classes and sit in her dorm room and play guitar. “I didn’t want to go to track practice. I just wanted to learn new music, or to write new music. It was like my release,” she says.
Taylor taught herself to play guitar in a rather unconventional way. “I did teach myself to play on YouTube! I borrowed my best friend’s guitar for a week because at that time I didn’t have my own. I was so determined to learn, so I gave myself that week. So I learned, wasn’t any good for a very, very long time, but I learned!” Taylor says.
Yes she did. In 2017, Taylor released her first big hit, “Put It in a Song,” and that song made the country music world stand up and pay attention.
“I wrote “Put It in a Song” about a relationship I was in at the time, literally on my couch, and never thought it would be the title track of my first EP [extended play], didn’t realize that from it I would get my publishing deal over at Play It Again [a Nashville based music publishing company], so...it has really changed my life. I got extremely lucky but I thank the man upstairs every day and also everyone who has stood behind me throughout all of this,” says Taylor.
She spent several months traveling from her family’s current home in Lynchburg, Virginia, to Nashville, the mecca for country musicians and home of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
“I moved to Nashville officially back in the beginning of May, and it has been so incredible! For about seven months or so I had been going back and forth, traveling from Virginia to Nashville, just trying to make it work until I could afford the move, but once I got down there, it made every struggle worthwhile,” she says.
Taylor’s advice for anyone who wants to pursue a career in music: “Just never, ever give up. Never give up on yourself, never give up on your music, and truthfully that could go towards anything in life, not just music. If it’s something you love, just do it wholeheartedly and enjoy the process even if it’s hard at the moment. Everything works itself out!” She acknowledges and is grateful for all of the people who have helped her along the way.
“Thank you to everyone who has listened to and believed in my music! If it wasn’t for the support of all y’all, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love every day! You don’t even understand how much I appreciate all of you.”