Taryn La Fauci, the Sydney songwriter whose heartfelt lyrics give careful expression to the moments of love and loss that we all face
"The life of song can swallow you whole. I close my eyes, feel the steel beneath my fingers. I felt far away. The life of song.... They say, 'Is this what you want to be? It's a hard ride on no money. Is this the life you really want to lead? And I'm not wiser, not any stronger, not any surer, by working an office job."
Reading and reflecting on these words, it's obvious that Sydney singer and songwriter Taryn La Fauci is a thoughtful and honest lyricist. And her latest album Cycling - released in June this year - is a testament to the power of words. The music that accompanies Taryn's prose provides a fragile and bare backdrop that allows her messages and mantras to take centre stage. And her voice, equally as fragile, delivers her poetry in a manner that is nothing short of pure and simple vulnerability.
Drawing inspiration from other brilliant lyricists, namely New Zealand's sweetheart Brooke Fraser as well as Florence Welch, Taryn is reflective, philosophical and melancholic. And her latest support slot was for none other than the wonderfully thoughtful songwriter Timothy James Bowen - brother of Nashville superstar Clare Bowen.
A native of far North Queensland, Taryn moved to Sydney five years ago and is grabbing many musical opportunities with both hands. Apart from her introspective music making, Taryn is also very active in Sydney's music community, hosting a podcast for popular arts and culture website the AU Review.
Taryn is a wonderful contributor to the Australian music scene, and it was a privilege to interview her about her musical pathway to date.
What does music mean to you?
Music means community. A community where I can share myself, learn about others and keep and build incredible friendships. It is a place where I can grow as a person and a write, it allows me to be creative and to work through things that I am going through in my life. It has always been something that has made me happy and if I am not singing, playing or writing them that is usually an indicator that something isn't right and I am not ok.
Tell us about your latest album Cycling.
Cycling is a ten track LP about love and loss. The album was written through a period of disbelief and shock after a friend and mentor was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I write music to help me process events in my life and whilst I didn't initially know I was writing an record, once I looked back at all my notes and memos I realised I finally had something worth saying and so I took the leap contacted Ryan K Brennan to see if he would create Cycling with me.
You crowd-funded it - what was that like?
I had an incredible experience with Pozible. Nicole Robinson Photography filmed ten short videos for my campaign and I couldn't believe that in three and a half days I had reached my goal. Community is such a big part of my life and it was important to me to feel connected to them as I made the record. I loved that they were a part of it every step of the way, especially when it came to sending them all out to the supporters.
You also host a podcast, "Top of the World" for AU Review Radio. Tell us about that.
Top of the World is a monthly podcast that is aired on the AU Review Podcast Network. The podcast was created to give artists a platform to share their music, their creative and songwriting processes and also their stories about how they are navigating themselves in the industry and in the world. I love listening to how others create, write and share their music and so this is the perfect platform for that. It is so much fun and I love having intimate and deep conversations so it is a perfect fit. It also gives the artist something personal and different that they can share with their communities - that is my favourite part, seeing how much each artists enjoys recording each episode.
You seemed to have travelled a lot, only moving to Sydney five years ago. How was it to move to Sydney from country Queensland?
Sydney has always felt right, it is probably why five years has gone so quickly. I never thought I would like in Sydney let alone love it, but I think because I moved to London first and that was really hard, Sydney felt so much easier. When I first moved down, I moved into Enmore and it was just so different to Townsville culturally. I loved being able to walk past the Enmore Theatre every day on my way to work and see who was playing and dream about playing there myself. The only thing I don't love about Sydney is having to consider how I could afford to live and buy here, it is just so astronomical.
Your music is very personal. You write your own music and play guitar on your tracks. How does your music capture your identity?
What I love the most about music is it is the ability for it to be a reflection of who you are at any given time. My writing has grown and changed so much since my EP, because of all the experiences musically and non-musically I have had in between. In that way it is an amazing way to capture who you are whilst not locking you into who you might be in say a year or five years.
Who are your favourite women in music?
There are so many incredible women I could name - the list would be huge. I am so lucky to have an amazing community of women in music and what is even more incredible is these friends like Fanny Lumsden, Rachel Maria Cox and Alison Avron who are also creating their own labels (Red Dirt Road Records), music festivals (Sad Grrrls Club) and venues (The Newsagency). They are working their butts off to not just create their own incredible music across multiple genres but they are also establishing themselves independently, working for themselves and also championing other artists and creating intimate and important spaces for Sydney and for the live music scene. I can't wait for Lady Lyon's new EP to be released, I have had Nadia Reid's records on repeat for months in my car and I have loved seeing All Our Exes Live in Texas and Julia Jacklin go from strength to strength across the world. I also have to mention Nicole Robinson for her stunning photography and also Francis Martin who is an irreplaceable and extremely important part of the Sydney live music scene.
I will be working for the rest of the year to get the album out to as many ears as possible and then I am looking forward to a period of recuperation so I can get learning guitar, make more episodes of Top of the World and begin writing for the next project.