TAE PHOENIX

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

Music

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

CityDateTimeVenue
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.

Videos

Live

Music & Lyric Videos

Idina Menzel on Crossing Over and Breaking Out

idinaThis weekend, Broadway megastar Idina Menzel was given Billboard’s “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” award, thanks in large part to her epic hit “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen. I’m proud to say that I loved Idina before she was cool, in those years when she was trying to cross over from originating great roles in shows like “Rent” and “Wicked” to being a singer-songwriter. Her “I Stand” is still one of my favorite anthems.

In her acceptance speech, she said something that I identify with so hugely:

You get dropped from enough labels and told countless times a Broadway singer can never cross over. ‘You’re too expressive, you’re too dynamic, you’re too presentational, you have too much vibrato, can you play the guitar while you sing, don’t play the guitar while you sing, what kind of artist are you?’ Well, I’m a cross between this and – ‘you should write your own music, don’t write your own music, well who are you? Who are you?’

And the answer to that question at the age of 43 is a resounding, “I don’t know.”…it’s taken me this long to realize that if you can easily describe and categorize yourself, you’re probably adhering to others’ opinions of who and what you should be.

I’ve been getting a lot of advice from people in the music industry to just “pick one.” Either be a recording artist who writes her own material, or go act in musicals. “It’s not possible to do both, so don’t try.” I’ve had hipster musicians decline to play with me because I sound “too Broadway,” (read: not cool enough), and industry consultants tell me that I have to have a clearly defined signature sound that is easily described to a record executive in 30 seconds or less. And yet here is an artist who said “fuck you” to all of that, grew that thick skin, and did it her way.

Just like Idina, I’m still figuring out who I am; and just like her, I’m reluctant to put myself in a box when I’m just starting to figure out the story I’m trying to tell with my music. I’m so honored to be in her company.

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