Q&A: Taryn Papa Talks New Music, How Falling In Love Changed Her Songwriting, Wedding Planing, and More

Taryn Papa; Photo Sara Kiesling
Taryn Papa; Photo Sara Kiesling
Taryn Papa; Photo Sara Kiesling

Since appearing on The Voice Season 19, Taryn Papa has been working hard in Nashville writing and recording new music. When she’s not in the studio, Papa can likely be found on Broadway playing gigs at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, or traveling for appearances at various festivals around the country. 

Country Now recently caught up with Taryn Papa ahead of her show at Westin Nashville’s L27 Rooftop Lounge for the 27 Live series where she talked about her latest single releases, her upcoming EP, telling her personal stories through her music, planning her wedding, and more. 

Check out our Q&A with the rising singer/songwriter below.  

What’s the story behind “Can’t Catch My Heart?”

It’s about my fiance. I think we were dating maybe three or four months and I walked into the writing room and I said, “I have no game.” I’m at the point where I can’t even… You know when you wait five hours before you respond or you try to play the game if you can? I was like, “Man, I can’t even catch my heart. I can’t stop this train. I’m done. I’m in love with this dude.” So that’s where the idea came from.

 What has the fan response to your releases like “Awake” and “Changed” been like?

“Changed” has honestly has surprised me the most. It’s a super-pop, fun country vibe and I’ve had the most streams on that song. I feel personally connected the most to Awake, so for Changed to be the one that’s popping off stream-wise, I was like, “Oh, my God! They love this.” It was a nice surprise! 

“Awake” is the title of the EP. It was the first song that I wrote about my fiancé. It kick-started the project. I have been single forever and so when I first met him…I didn’t know how cute it could be to hold hands with someone or have him move me to the other side of the sidewalk if a car is coming. It was like… Someone to care about you that you genuinely like in return. So I was awake to these new feelings and emotions that I never had before and so I think personally, that’s a song that I connect to the most because it was when I realized that I was changing into a relationship person and I really wanted it.

 Is it important for you to tell your personal stories through music all the time?

I think so. I think what I loved about country music the most and what I fell in love with was how genuine and authentic country music artists are and have always been. I feel like when you listen to their music, you know like, “Wow, they really went through this.” Or, “I’m not alone.” There’s a sense of companionship when you feel hurt, like “Oh, okay. She got her heart wrecked too.” I feel better knowing that I’m not the only girl going through this insane pain. I think sitting and writing about love recently is super new to me. I’m excited. 

Did you write love songs before you were in love? 

Honestly, this sounds so creepy, but before I would be like, “Okay, if my cat ever dies, how would I feel?” So now I’ve graduated from my cat to my fiancé. (laughs)

How has playing shows on Broadway developed you into the artist and entertainer you are now?

I think definitely stamina. To be able to sing a four-hour show on Broadway, three nights a week. I’m like, “Okay, I could do a literal world tour.” There’s nothing I can’t do at this point. So stamina for sure. It keeps up my chops. I also love learning what the fans love. Like, “Oh, they really like this new Luke Combs song. Why?” Of course, it’s a great song but what about it? Is it the tempo? Is it the topic? So you can, as a songwriter, learn what’s working and what people are really resonating with and structure your own music off of it.

Did you have a favorite bar to play on Broadway? 

Whiskey Row. I’m still there on Thursdays, so I love playing there. It’s Dierks Bentley’s bar. It’s been awesome.

Are you working on a bigger musical project and if so what can fans expect from it?

Awake is our EP and every six to eight weeks we’ve been releasing a new single from it, so that’s great news because I’m able to build on that and do maybe a full album. I’m getting back into writing. I recently took a little break, because I’ve had so many shows and I’ve been to all of the different states. I have not focused on writing. I’m like, “Okay, I can do one thing at a time.” Eventually, I would love to put it into a full album, but we have a new music video coming for “Can’t Catch My Heart” and I’m so excited. It’s a cartoon! It’s so cute. We’re cartoon characters. It’s really cute. It’s a cartoon of my fiancé and a cartoon of me.

Do you keep in touch with anyone from your season of The Voice?

My season…I would say, James Pyle. He sang Watermelon Sugar on The Voice. He’ll call me every so often. His first time ever being on the stage was The Voice. I had been singing for 10 or 15 years before I got on The Voice. I was like, “This is what you’ve got to do. You’re going to learn to build a website. Here’s who you need to contact.” I’m kind of, not mentoring, but he calls me for advice. He’s someone I keep in touch with.

Do you keep in touch with anyone not on your season? Is there a The Voice hangout in Nashville?

Josh Gallagher has been my best friend forever for years. We met each other… I met him the first night he moved to Nashville and I gave him a shot on stage. I was like, “Actually, you don’t suck. You should stay the whole time. Would you like to sing with me full-time?” Then I gave him a ton of shows and we just started working together for years and yeah, we have a cover song out. It’s called Mercy by Shawn Mendes.

You’ve had the chance to experience some pretty amazing things. Is there anything that’s still left on your artist bucket list?

When I moved to Nashville, nine years ago, I said my definition of success was to have my song on the radio. So as time went on and it wasn’t happening, I was like, “Okay, maybe it’s a song that I wrote that someone else is singing. That could count.” You can just alter your dream, but I still would love to have my song on the radio. That’s the dream.

How’s wedding planning going?

It’s kind of a lot. It’s actually a lot. I just hired a wedding planner, which I think is going to be super helpful, because I have so much going on right now. I want to just focus on music.

 Do you think music will be incorporated in your wedding in any way?

Probably not a live band. I think I would go the DJ route, just because I’m such a band person, that I would be like, “Ooh, what’s that bass player doing?”  I don’t know if I could relax.

Fans can keep up with Taryn Papa on Instagram.

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