Tearing The Walls Down; An interview with Rachel Taylor of He Is We

Tacoma, Washington’s He Is We is an indie pop group fronted by vocalist Rachel Taylor whose extreme passion to use her music as a means to reach others like her is staggering. Taylor signed a music deal with Universal Motown, and then with Universal Republic finding commercial success with songs like “Happily Ever After” and “All About Us.” He Is We is currently independent, although Taylor continues to create music with impact.
Their latest EP, Hold My Heart, was released on April 10, and Ghettoblaster caught up with Taylor to discuss her vision, religion, and getting and giving goosebumps.
How important is it to you that your music is empowering or uplifting to those who listen to it?
I never write solely to empower or encourage people. I do in fact write with intention of giving the bare pieces of me that aren’t so pretty. I have to remind myself that the studio is my safe place and I need to give all of myself. The fact that it helps people get through some hardships is pretty powerful and I hope to continue being the voice that soothes their storm.
How has music empowered you in the past?
Music has been my bridge from myself to others. I’ve always been a bit shy socially, but when I’m singing or listening to music it’s as if all of that anxiety goes away. I feel strong when I’m able to speak my truth on stage and when I hear the truth of others. Whatever war I’ve faced emotionally is put into words and I no longer allow it to chain me down.
How did your deal with Universal come about?
Oh Lord. It was a total accident, honestly. I had recorded a song and put it online for friends and family to hear. Within a few weeks, it had gone viral. I was petrified at what this could mean and I ended up on a plane to New York city for the first time in my life. I played a couple showcases and everything fell into place before I could catch my breath. It all happened so fast and with no intention of ever making music for a living.
When did you begin writing Hold My Heart and what were you hoping to communicate with the songs here?
I had been writing a lot while I was going through trial this last year and a half. I have written personal lyrics before, but I’d never really shown the toxic side of things. I’d been afraid for awhile to scare anyone off. That’s actually why She Is We came about. It allowed me to reveal the dark side of things. But with this particular record, I was hoping to be a bit more raw and real than I’d been before. I knew I needed to let my walls fall down and use this record to speak to the people I no longer speak with.
Are your religious? Do you think your belief system is prominently displayed in the music that you make?
I’ve never called myself religious. I hate what people have done in the name of religion, but I’m a strong believer in faith. The idea of not getting caught up in who’s right or wrong, but instead we are banding together because we realize we must live amongst one another. For me, it’s about loving your neighbor and knowing there’s a creator who designed us with purpose. My music is a reflection of my purpose of being the voice that hopefully soothes the mind and heart. I hope to build community and bridges, not walls.
In what ways does the EP showcase strengths that your previous release may not have? What do you hope to grow at in the future?
The EP is showcasing my strength of submitting to the process. I allowed myself to cry while writing. I’ve cried in the booth before, but I allowed myself to feel everything as I played the piano. The strength was found in allowing myself to showcase my weaknesses. I hope to continue understanding myself and sharing my complete and total self, as ugly as it may be at times.

Are there moments on the record that give you goosebumps? If so, what are they and why?
I get goosebumps during “Every Other Man” and “Dear Adam” every single time. Those two songs were the complete and total realization that this EP was going to help me heal. I can hear the pain and desperation in my voice. I can hear the picture being painted in the story I’m passing on to the listener. It’s just such a raw and painful moment for me. I was finally able to write it down and hear myself letting the pain go for the first time.
When was the last time that another person’s music gave you goosebumps?
There’s a record called Challenger by Memphis May Fire. It’s by far one of my favorite records of all time. The entire album is so powerful and I get chills every single time I listen to it.
What are your loftiest goals for He Is We?
My goal with He Is We is to maintain a relationship with the people who have allowed me to find my purpose. I hope to create music and build this community with every show I have the blessing to perform. I just want He Is We to reach the hearts that hurt with every beat and I want to calm the minds that wander in search of home. I want to take that on to the best of my abilities.
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