Singer-Songwriter • Activist • Writer

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A natural-born storyteller with the polish of an accomplished actress and the authentic edge of a seasoned blues musician.

Seattle Weekly


Featured Track: “I wanna see you be brave.”

Music is the art form we turn to when we need to build bridges and make ourselves plainly understood.

In January 2020, the United States was in crisis. The president was holding vital defense support to Ukraine hostage as a means of coercing their government into investigating the son of a political rival.

My civil disobedience action inside the Senate’s Russell Rotunda – performing Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” in an area where protest is strictly forbidden – was a call on Republican Senators to join Democrats in voting to remove that corrupt president from office.

More Music

Everyone You’ll Be EP • Studio Album Release Date: Feb 2024
Home demos…

Tae Phoenix · The Girls You'll Be Demos
Deep Cuts

Tour Dates

Boston8/7/23TBABerklee Performance Center*
Boston8/8/233:30pmCafe 939
New York8/14/236pmRockwood Music Hall
Washington, DC8/17/232-4pmWOWD Radio
Reston, VA8/18/236pmLake Anne Plaza
* I am a backup singer as part of a larger ensemble.

Bio / Artist Statement

My name is Tae Phoenix and my favorite party game is “two truths and a lie.” See if you can guess which is which:

The answer is in the footer of the website.

My work is about themes that everyone can relate to on some level: rejecting conformity, embracing authenticity, and finding the connections between healing ourselves and building the world we want.

Sometimes, when I’m stuck on where a musical idea belongs, I’ll write lyrics from the perspective of a fictional character and see where that takes me. I love this approach because I tend to obsess over stories: telling them, absorbing them, analyzing them. It doesn’t really matter as long as I’m immersed. I’ve written songs that started out as screenplays and the beginnings of musicals that I originally thought were novels. It all makes me ridiculously happy.

My favorite thing about using music as a storytelling vehicle is that a well-timed and well-written song can convey a tremendous amount of information just with the placement of a quarter note rest. I learned this the first time I performed in a Sondheim show. (“Into the Woods.”) I looked at the score, thought, “wow! It’s turtles all the way down, “and never looked back.

The performing arts world is a wonderful place for many reasons, but it’s also not an easy space for me to enter. As an Autistic, I get easily overwhelmed by loud, chaotic environments like music clubs. In a people-oriented business, missing a social cue, facial expression, or change in tone of voice can have implications that aren’t always obvious in the moment. One of my goals as I work in this space is to build more inclusive and accessible spaces for “neuro-spicy” artists and our supporters.



Music & Lyric Videos

On Macklemore & Musical Appropriation

I have two parallel streams of thought about Macklemore’s Grammy win last night. The first one goes something like this:

This is an awesome time for Seattle! Our football team is going to the Superbowl and our musicians are winning big at the Grammys! I’m so proud of my friends Katie, Pete, and Andrew who were instrumental in making “The Heist” successful! Go Seattle!

But there’s a much more complicated stream of thought going on too. It’s subject to the anxious understanding that there are some fucked up power dynamics in play when it comes to Macklemore’s success. We need to look closely at why a cis-het white dude is the one winning the awards for using a historically black form of music to “save” the genre from its own homophobia. Especially when there are queer artists of color (Frank Ocean, anyone?) who have been moving this ball forward for so much longer than Macklemore.

The conversation on Twitter about this issue last night went something like this:

Good white liberals: “If anything, Macklemore had to be better than the black rappers to succeed in the rap game. Plus he’s had hard times too so that erases any privilege he may have as a white male.”

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Lots of people of color: “White musicians have been stealing our music for years and making it acceptable to a white audience with their own whiteness. Meanwhile this culture still treats us like second class citizens. This is bullshit.”

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Last night was not the first time I thought (and got deeply anxious) about this issue. As a (mostly) white singer-songwriter whose music is heavily influenced by the blues and jazz, I am excruciatingly aware that I am swimming in the same deep, problematic waters as Macklemore. Daily, I ask the question, “what do I need to do to have it be okay that I am performing this music?”

For my own sake, I have to believe that the answer is not as simple as, “stick to opera, white girl, and leave the blues to black people.” After all, all art is appropriative to some degree; and while the power dynamics in this situation give me great pause, I’m not sure I can do anything but make this kind of music. It’s in my bones. How can you tease apart the social context from the artist’s responsibility?

I don’t have an answer yet. I may never have an answer. I have a sneaking feeling that I’m going to get (and deserve) a lot of criticism for performing black music if my next album, “Outside the Lines” is any kind of success. I’m bracing for it, because I’m going to release the album anyway. It’s good music. I’m proud of it.

But I still don’t have an answer. If anyone does, please let me know.

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