@skopemag Q&A Featuring Taydem Shoesmith

Taydem Shoesmith is an electro pop singer-songwriter and actress from Illinois, who fell in love with music at a young age. Her father’s singing sparked an interest in her to write her own music; which she found comfort in during her freshman year of high school. Her music ranges from singer-songwriter to pop to alternative and has topped the UK iTunes Charts and received over 81K Spotify streams. Her biggest influences are Michael Jackson, Rascal Flatts, Billie Holiday, Sabrina Carpenter, and Camila Cabello.

Taydem also has a great interest in acting, making her debut in 2020 in the short film “In the Dark.” She has been cast as the lead in multiple films, and has created music for films as well, including a theme song for a short series. Her passion for music can be summed up with the quote “Music is my inhaler when life makes it difficult to breathe.”

Taydem took some time to answer a few questions for us…

What made you decide to pursue a music career?

It feels weird to call it “pursuing a music career.” It puts so much pressure on the music I make to call it that. I started writing music around my freshman or sophomore year of highschool as a way to destress. Because of that, I never wanted my songs to become a hassle or stress for me, and that reason really prevented me from sharing my music when I was younger. But in the last year or so I’ve talked to more people about music, and there are so many people who have said that certain songs have helped them get through some hard times, had been a comfort when they needed it most, or helped inspire them. And I feel that way about songs I listen to also. So thinking that I could maybe make music that could hold that kind of power, made me want to step out of my comfort zone and finally start sharing my music!

What inspired you to write your hit single “Are You Clapping”?

I was pretty irritated when I wrote this song. It started as more of a journal entry, and when I went back and reread it, I thought that would be a good topic or theme for a song. I was just constantly listening to people “give me advice” about dating and meeting people. Things like the song says about wearing more makeup, talking and smiling more. I just felt like I was being pushed into being someone that I wasn’t. And those comments, that I don’t think were intended to be hurtful, made me feel like I was lacking in so many ways.

How did you come up with the unique sound that characterizes your music?

I’m not sure I’ve really found my sound yet. This is all so new to me, and I still have a lot to learn and improve on. I never thought “Are You Clapping?” my first professional studio made song, would be an electronic song. I was always writing ballads haha! There are so many genres I would like to try as well.

What do you think sets you apart from other electropop singer-songwriters?

I have no clue! Do I actually stand apart from other electro pop singer-songwriters? I’m not so sure, but I’m so thankful that the song has been received well! If there is any way for me to stand out it’ll have to be by just being me. Not creating what I think people want to hear. Just writing and making music that feels like me.

What was it like transitioning from acting to writing and performing music?

When I’m acting it feels like I’m wearing a mask. It’s a way for me to step out of my world and my problems, into someone else’s. But when I’m writing I’m fully me. I can be vulnerable, hurt, excited when I’m writing because when I’m being real with myself, the lyrics flow a whole lot better. When it comes to performing and acting, those two kind of go hand in hand. I’m pretty introverted, so when it’s time to perform, it helps to put on the acting mask. It helps me be more confident. Overall acting, writing, and performing all fit together nicely in my life, and they all help me improve in different areas.

What is your creative process like when writing and producing a song?

I don’t really have a specific process. A lot of the songs I write start off as a journal entry. Typically I have to identify the topic/theme I want to go with before I can write more of the music. Like “Are You Clapping?”’s theme was “I don’t need to change who I am for people to like me” type of theme. With a vibe of sass plus sarcasm.

Who are some of your musical inspirations?

I have so many inspirations when it comes to music that it’s always difficult to choose who to say! A big one for me is Michael Jackson. His music, his performances, his lyrics are all so iconic. I actually listened to a lot of Rascal Flatts growing up as well, and I’ve always loved the lyrics they write. And the lead singer’s vocals are so amazing with how much emotion you can hear in his voice. I’ve been a major Sabrina Carpenter fan since her first single. She’s really inspired me in the way of showing that it’s okay to change your sound up and try out different things. I could have a list of musical inspirations that goes on and on!

What is one message you hope listeners take away from your music?

First of all, to those who have even listened to my music, thank you so much! And secondly when it comes to “Are You Clapping?” I hope people will not feel so alone. I hope they feel like someone understands how they feel; understands how people will make you feel like you’re not enough, or that you feel an urge to impress people. I would like to say I hope they feel more confident about themselves after hearing my song, but I know it’s not that simple.

How did the pandemic affect your music career?

The pandemic was a scary thing, but I think I needed that scary thing to happen to know how I really wanted to live my life. I had a lot of self reflection during that time. It gave me more time to work on music at home on my little Ipad. The more I worked on music the more I wanted to learn about music, and, not to quote The Little Mermaid, be a part of that world. I didn’t go to a professional studio till 2022, so the social distancing didn’t really affect me during that time. But I’m glad that something good came out of a bad situation.

What’s next for you?

Right now I’m back in the studio working on a new song for a film that I will also be acting in. I can’t say much about the film right now, but I’m excited to be finally working on something new. We are about at the halfway point with the song. Because of the basis of the film, it gave me a reason to create a jazz song. I’d thought about writing a jazz song so many times, so I’m glad the film gave me the push to actually follow through with it!