Country Rocker Taylor Hogan Shows Off Her Edge on 'Shot of Whiskey' — but She's Got a Sweet Side Too (Exclusive)
"It blends the fact that I'm a little bit New York mixed with a little bit Southern," the singer-songwriter tells PEOPLE. "That's just who I am"
Taylor Hogan may be new to the country music scene, but there is no doubt what she brings to the table on her new single "Shot of Whiskey."
"It blends country, and it blends rock, and it blends the fact that I'm a little bit New York mixed with a little bit Southern," explains Hogan, 24, during an interview with PEOPLE. "That's just who I am."
Written alongside Luke Sheets and fellow country rocker Ryan Kinder, "Shot of Whiskey" certainly allowed Hogan to show off her intriguing edges, both sonically and lyrically.
"Ryan left the room for a second, and he came back in, and he had the idea, 'I might not be your cup of tea, but I'm damn sure someone's shot of whiskey," recalls Hogan in a heavy New York accent. "We crafted the rest of the song around that with this rock edge and Ryan's unique harmonies and vocal styles on it. My producers like to call it a Southern swampy rock song."
It's certainly a worthy description of a song that does blend a mixtape of sounds, making it custom-made for the musical times we find ourselves living in at the moment. "It's just the perfect leadoff single," says Hogan. "It helps you get to know me."
Hogan does in fact have quite a backstory and a journey that began as a "sparkled shoes, band T-shirt wearing" little girl, sitting with her dad during what they would call their "Music Saturdays."
"We would hang out and listen to a bunch of different music," remembers Hogan, who's also been known to belt out a Judas Priest cover occasionally. "I'd be listening to AC/DC and Loretta Lynn and Johnny Cash, and then as I got older, I listened to a lot of [Maroon 5's] Adam Levine, which is where I probably got my little sass rock edge."
But when it came to the lyrics of the myriad of songs she would listen to, there was no doubt that Hogan's storytelling heart would naturally warm up to the stories told through country music. And as artists such as HARDY and Brantley Gilbert continue to bring a rock edge to the genre, Hogan feels like a door is essentially opening for her at this very moment.
"I love how country music is evolving and how it's changing," says the guitar aficionado. "There's not like a specific box to it. You can really add whatever you want to it. You can be whoever you want. Country rock is just what feels like home as a genre for me."
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Granted, making Music City home took a whole lot of work.
"I went to visit [Nashville] a few times with my parents, and I tried to convince them to make the move when I was a kid," says Hogan, who was born and raised on Long Island. "So when I was 19, I really pulled the trigger and headed there."
Hogan went on to attend the prestigious Lipscomb University songwriting program that counts Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini as alums. And while she makes sure to mention that not all her future music will have that country-rock edge entirely, Hogan would like to bring some of the rock genre's best qualities back into the mainstream.
"What we're kind of trying to do is bring it back to the times where people would wait for a guitar solo as much as they'd wait for a hook in the song," says Hogan, who looks to release a new EP this year. "I just feel like that's super unique, and it added such great things to songs." She pauses. "I just want people to see that I'm not just one thing."
Heck, just look at the dichotomy of her jobs now.
"Right now, I work at a boutique on 12 South," she laughs of the bougie Nashville neighborhood. "I feel like a lot of people my age are doing it. I mean, it's tough, but we're all out here trying to make it as a singer and pay the crazy rent prices in Nashville, you know?"
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