Meet Rising Star Taylon Hope

Oct 04, 2023 at 03:01 pm by RMGadmin


Taylon Hope 
By Christian Dian Headden
Introducing Taylon Hope, a local rising star who’s making her mark in the world of country music. As a current student at Belmont University and graduate of Battle Ground Academy, Taylon is a young artist boldly carving her path in the industry. Her unique blend of classic storytelling with a modern edge captures the essence of country music, influenced by icons like Dolly Parton and Vince Gill. Her music resonates deeply, bridging generations and striking a chord with her audience. 

YW: With musical influences like Dolly Parton and Vince Gill, how do you think they've shaped your style and approach to country music? 

TH: Dolly and Vince are truly two of my favorite artists of all time. I think their music has helped shape me as a writer as I desire for my songs to tell life stories like their songs do. I want to tell the story in my song. I want you to be able to see it being played out as you sing it. Their songs do that for me whether I am riding down the road singing "Tennessee Mountain Home" by Dolly or "When I Call Your Name" by Vince. I feel what they are writing about and it's a story I can imagine and I see it! Dolly and Vince write about real life and they touch people with those stories. They are relatable and real! I want to be the same both as a person and in my songs.


I write true life and I write from what moves me and has shaped me. I figure if I keep it real then others will relate to my songs and lyrics. I also love so much how Dolly and Vince relate to their audience. They make others feel such a part of their music and you can see that in the audience as they watch them perform. You see them laugh, cry, and feel a part of the song and the experience no matter what stage they are on. I want to do the same as an artist. I admire their humility so much and that they sing and write from their heart. As artists they do not take for granted their God given gift of music and where it has taken them. They haven't forgotten their faith and where they came from. That has Influenced me in so many ways. As I am so grateful for the gift of music and the amazing people and experiences it has brought to my life. I only hope to be the artists they have become and to touch lives with my music as they have.


YW: How do you balance your love for both traditional and modern Country Music in your work?
TH: It is true that I am a fan of traditional country music. I am such a fangirl of 90's country. Give me some Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, the Judds, or Reba on any day! I realize now I grew up with my Mom and Grandmother being such a fan of these ladies so when practicing music we would always turn on one of these ladies and try and do our best version of "Independence Day". I loved their big voices, their style, and again the stories in their songs. I also grew up in a beautiful small town in North Carolina where Bluegrass was big and that is also a part of who I am so that played into some of my traditional roots.
However, I am 18 and I want to sing about things to relate to my generation and the music we have grown up with. I mean yes I am a "Swifty", and I love the bravery that Kelsey Ballerini has shown in her songs recently, and Carrie Underwood well I admire her talent and class so much. So when I am writing and in the studio these two loves do combine. I do feel that both show up in my songs. I want to still write the stories but put a modern twist on them to relate to my generation. You can't and should not hide your roots; it's what helped make you who you are.


However, some of the best advice I have been given is be yourself: "Taylon, be your own unique artist as there is only one you.” So my songs really do portray both my love of traditional and modern music and I really like that and hope others will as well.


YW: You've worked with Grammy Nominated Producer, Kent Wells. What was it like collaborating with him, especially given his work with Dolly Parton?
TH: I have been working with Kent as a producer since I was 11 years old. I admire and value him so much as not only an amazing producer, but a mentor, and a friend who is like family to me. Funny story: I met Kent through a wonderful lady in my life named Ruth who went to Franklin Methodist Church. I was 11 and had written some of my own songs and was eager to find someone to help me record those. Ruth had a wonderful friend who recommended I go and talk to Kent. The meeting was set up, and as I walked into the studio for the first time, I was so excited to think of recording my own songs. However, I had no idea I was walking into a wall full of platinum albums by Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire. I mean knowing my background and love for these artists you can imagine my face. Kent walked out from the back, and I knew immediately we got each other. Kent was real, approachable, a dreamer like me, and he got country music and the roots where it comes from. That first day I met Kent, we went to the back of the studio, and I played piano for him and sang some of my favorite songs for him. We immediately started working together and have never stopped. Kent also came from a small town and wanted more as an artist. He understood my heart, my dreams, and why I was in Nashville. He has been an amazing mentor to me. I have learned so much from him about the industry and how to be a better musician, performer, and singer. We have always gotten each other as we were both chasing the same dreams and love for music. I am so thankful our paths crossed, and I know that was not by chance it was a part of my plan and my journey. Kent is always someone I will go to for advice not just about music but about life as well. I admire his drive, work ethic, and desire to help other artists. I met Dolly with Kent, which was an iconic moment for me. But you know Dolly was everything I dreamed about. She was so real, approachable, and kind to me. I really felt like in the moment we could have sat down and had a Coke together and shared stories. She got my dreams as well. One of the moments that will forever be one of my most treasured memories was being an artist to open for Dolly Parton at the age of 15 at the Ryman. It was one of those serial moments where I kept saying to myself how could this be happening to that young girl listening to WSM in North Carolina and now she is getting dressed in Dolly's backup singers, talking about their favorite makeup, and warming up with them. Then, as I passed by Abby Anderson and Derrick Aldridge as I stepped on stage, it was unbelievable to see that beautiful stage waiting, and there was Kent with his guitar. I will never forget he said, "This is what we came here to do, Taylon.” It was truly a magical moment in my life, and I will never forget sharing that moment with them and a sold-out crowd at the Ryman Auditorium. Kent and I continue to work on projects together, and he will always be a part of my journey. Some of my favorite songs we have created together have been Christmas songs. Kent and I would bring out the Christmas tree, and nobody can make you feel Christmas in a song like Kent. He is truly such a talented producer and artist but most of all he has an amazing heart, and I consider him and his family like my own.
YW: You've performed at iconic venues like The Grand Ole Opry House, Bluebird Cafe. Do you have a favorite venue based on acoustics, audience engagement, or some other factor, and if so, why?
 TH: I would have to say I have two favorite venues. When I am on stage at these venues, I know I am doing what I love most. I have performed at the Grand Ole Opry on three occasions, my first being for the Ralph Stanley Tribute. Singing at the Grand Ole Opry is like no other stage to perform on because you can feel the tradition, the history, and the love for music when you’re on that stage. It's like the feeling of being home and with family. The Opry is a family, and you feel that backstage and on stage. It's like you're a part of something larger than life when you're there or that is how it felt for me. The crowd, the artists, the staff at the Opry are all in it together; it's a shared experience you won't ever forget. A goal would be to hear someone say we would like to invite you to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Anytime I see someone being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, I must watch, and yes, I usually cry because I know what they have accomplished and what they are now a part of. They truly gained another family with the Opry.
I must talk about the Listening Room. That stage has become such a home for me, and I respect it. Playing both venues was always a goal of mine! I have been blessed to play at The Listening Room as an ongoing artist. I played my first show there at the age of 12 and have continued ever since. The Listening Room is such a special place in that the respect shown for the songwriters is how it should be. People come to really hear your words and to understand and connect with your song. The room is always so warm but quiet with respect of the writers and their work. I have watched and learned so much from so many artists performing there. When I started leading my own writing rounds and having "Taylon Hope" and friends begin at the Listening Room, that was a dream come true. I mean being with amazing writers in a round, sharing the songs we have written, with an engaged crowd eagerly waiting for the next song is truly where I feel most at home. I know at that moment I am doing something I dearly love and that is a part of me. I respect the staff there so much and feel so blessed to be a part of The Listening Room. When the video comes on there, and we take our stool to share our songs, it's a gift every time. I enjoy talking with everyone after the shows and talking with them about how they relate to the songs shared. That connection with the crowd is something vulnerable and special, and I will never take that for granted.
YW: You've opened for artists like Shenandoah and T. Graham Brown. What have you learned from sharing the stage with such experienced musicians?
TH: Opening for artists such as Shenandoah and T. Graham Brown has been an invaluable experience for me. I was so blessed to have these opportunities and that they believed in me enough to allow me to share the stage with them meant so much to me. You learn so much from them by watching their presence on stage and connection to their band and the crowd. You learn from hearing their stories about being on the road and what they have learned from those experiences. The do's and don't's of how to handle being in this industry and how to take care of yourself along the way. When traveling or opening for an artist like these guys I am all eyes and ears open just trying to take in all the experience and lessons I can from them.
From watching the merch roll in to watching how they take the stage, it's a machine and an industry with its own Artwork to how it works. I feel really blessed to have shadowed these amazing artists as with every experience you take in new experiences that will help you as you continue with your own music journey.


YW: You recently had a meet and greet at the CMA Fest. Can you share some highlights from that experience? What does it mean for you to be part of such a significant event in the country music world?
TH: CMA Fest is something I have dreamed of attending as an artist since I was very young. My parents and I would always go because I wanted to take in all the artists that I could possibly see. To perform and meet and greet with fans this year was honestly humbling and a dream to have others come up and know you and your music. Country music is a family and to be a part of something I believe so much in means everything to me. Connecting with others is such a big part of CMA week, and my favorite part was talking to others who came up to me and learning about their stories where they were from and their connection to country music. To represent and be a part of the "Women in Country Music" well that is all I have ever dreamed of. I really enjoyed listening to the writing sessions this year myself as a writer. I learned so much from just listening to their stories and how they accomplished their own dreams. The talent, creativity, and performances during that week require so much work and dedication. I really admire all the artists and the unique gifts they bring to CMA Week! I love the excitement of CMA week, the music all over the city, the annual CMA t-shirt, the rush of the crowds, the boots, the hats, and the crowds singing one song together with an artist well that is Nashville. It's what people come to be a part of, and I just felt so honored to be a part of that!
YW: What motivated your family's decision to move to Franklin, and how has this new setting influenced your music and career?
 TH:  I began performing often and producing my songs at a very young age. It became so much that our family was traveling to Nashville several times a month and it was a family decision for myself and my family to either move forward with my music or hold off until I was older. We loved Franklin so much after our first visit. It was beautiful, quaint, and historic, and reminded us of home with a small-town feel. My Mom is a School Counselor and knew how great the schools were in Williamson County so that was a strong factor in why our family moved to this area, and I attended Battle Ground Academy. I loved the music and history of Franklin. I love the festivals in Franklin and being a part of those as an artist. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays in Franklin it's like a Hallmark Movie.
Franklin has become my second home, and I love the people, the growth, and the fame of this beautiful town. It's allowed me to have that small-town feel but be close to Nashville and the industry I came here to be a part of. I love that on any given day in Franklin, I can run into such amazing and creative people who call Franklin home as well.
Leaving family and friends in NC was difficult, but they have all been extremely supportive and understood why we made the move. We go home to visit as much as possible plus I do several shows each year in that area.
YW: Being at Belmont, known for its strong music programs, how has your academic experience there enriched or challenged your existing approach to music and songwriting? As both a student and a musician, what goals have you set for yourself in the near future?
 TH: This is my first year as a Belmont Bruin, and I am so excited to be on this campus. I applied to schools nationwide, but in my heart, it was always Belmont for me. I was blessed to get scholarships and financial aid and be able to attend my dream school. It's been all I had hoped for so far! The welcome week was amazing, and I am currently loving my classes. I am currently pursuing a degree in Songwriting and Broadcast Journalism, and I am a part of The Curb College of Entertainment. I of course would love nothing more than writing my own songs and being on tour as an artist. However, I really love the experiences I have had doing TV and Radio as an artist, and this has inspired my interest in Broadcasting. I think the two majors will complement each other and will really be of great benefit to me as I want to pursue working in the music industry.
I am so impressed with the experience behind my professors, and I am already learning so much from them. The coursework is very hands-on, and I love that I am already getting to have experiences in Writing and Broadcasting. The connections and experiences that Belmont University will offer me would be hard for me to find anywhere else. The "Best of the Best" is who they have on board as a faculty at Belmont! Being at Belmont there is just a love for music everywhere. You feel that on campus and I have met so many other amazing artists and entertainers, it's just my people, and it's becoming home for me now. I love using the songwriting rooms after class and just seeing the creativity that happens on campus is exciting to me from the artwork, the music, the theater, and the design, it's so great to be on a campus where all of this is appreciated and recognized.
My goals are to finish my degrees in Songwriting and in Broadcast Journalism and begin working in the country music industry wherever that journey takes me either as an artist on tour or broadcasting the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights. I also have considered Music Law in the future depending on what the future holds for me. I am currently taking a Journalism class that I really love. Of course, I love writing, but this is challenging me to write differently, and I am learning so much from this course and my professor.
My next project as an artist is that I will be putting out new music next month and I will be doing the video for that project next week. This new song is one that I co-wrote with Lance Carpenter and is titled "Picket Fence". I love the lyrics to this song, and I am so excited to release this song in the Fall of this year. Lance is country like me, and we always have an easy time writing together. We come from a very similar background. Lance is a wonderful writer and is known for his hit song by Kelsey Ballerini called, "Love Me Like You Mean It". I feel certain there will be a new Christmas single in the future for the holidays. That is a tradition that Kent and I love to work on every year. My goal for the new year is to release my new EP. The songs for this album are so me and I am just so excited to share these new songs and this side of myself.
YW: You're deeply involved in charitable work, from performing at the Ronald McDonald House to volunteering with Musicians On Call. Can you share more about these experiences and why they are important to you? How do you choose the causes you support, and how do you think music serves as a healing force in healthcare settings?
 TH: The opportunities I have had to use music to help or heal others have truly been some of my most rewarding experiences. Life changing experiences that don't leave you and have helped me to take every day as a gift and not for granite. Music does heal it is a connection where nothing must be said, you feel it when you're in that moment together. In North Carolina I knew many family and church members who had used the Ronald McDonald house as somewhere to stay as they had family members who were battling Cancer or life-threatening illnesses. I asked my parents at Christmas if I could go sing. My Mom immediately reached out and I began going once a month during breakfast, lunch, or dinner to sing. When I first started, I wasn't sure the impact I could have but I was so shocked at the impact that music had on families that we were visiting with. The families soon became like family to me, and I kept up with the patients and how they were doing. I would often go sing and then my family and I would bring food and work in the kitchen to help prepare meals. As I watched what these families were having to endure as they helped their sick families, I appreciated so much the fact that the Ronald McDonald house was providing them a beautiful comfortable home, food, and meeting all their needs while they had to leave their own home. I looked so forward to every visit and to hearing about the success stories and about the children who got better and had gone back to their own home. It was such a humbling experience for me and I left every visit with my heart changed and with blessings that I am not sure they realized they were giving back to me. When I moved to Nashville, finding the Ronald McDonald House here was so important to me. I began performing there the first year we moved to Nashville. Little did I know that my family would face these same battles as we so quickly lost my grandfather to bone cancer in less than four months after our move to Nashville. So, I understood more about their stories and what was happening to their families.
I recently applied and began working and volunteering here in Nashville for Musicians On Call. I have wanted to work for this organization for some time now and was waiting to be old enough to apply. I can't describe what it feels like to be able to take your guitar in the hospital and to use music as a way to give hope, healing, and bring a smile to a patient's face. To be able to help them escape their pain or situation through singing together and sharing music well it's just what God would want us to do with our gifts he gives us. Music is a language we can all share together, and it brings us together reminding us that we are in this life together. Don't get me wrong, some of it is really hard for example when you're turned away from the door because the person your age is too sick for the day. However, I take that as a time for myself to pray for that person and to pray that on that day there is someone else that I can visit with and help smile and connect with through music. My last visit they let me sing to all the newborn babies born that day and the new parents were all crying because it was such an amazing day in their life. I sang the song from the Nashville TV show, "A Life That Is Good". It was a really cool moment where time seemed to stand still for just a few minutes. So there are some really rewarding experiences again life changing and about the important things that truly matter in life. I feel very strongly that if you are given gifts that it's your responsibility to use those to give back to others. I want always to do that through my music!
YW: As someone who's already made waves in the music scene, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the heart of Nashville, what's the next exciting chapter in the Taylon Hope saga? Can fans expect more singles, albums, or perhaps something entirely different?
 TH: Fans can expect new music very soon within the next month. I will be releasing a new single that I produced with Smith Currey. I think these new songs are more me than they have ever been. I have tried to become more vulnerable and real in my writing and I think this shows in these new songs. I hope they tell stories that others can truly relate to. In the New Year I will be releasing my 5th album and I am really excited about this one! I have the title but I haven't shared it yet but it represents the new album and this new chapter and journey in my life so well. I also plan to begin touring more again. Going through Covid was one of the most difficult times for me throughout my music career. It was that way for all of us as artists. I mean we were entertainers, and we could not do what we loved. So, like most, I went to the internet as a way of performing and created "Tuesdays with Taylon" where I came on to sing and check in with everyone every Tuesday. That experience gave me so much as I had missed traveling and entertaining. So, now that I am settled in college I hope that you will see me traveling to some new and larger venues on the weekends. It will be more of a balancing act now with college but I have missed traveling and working with my acoustic band. I have new merch coming out as well and will be continuing to perform a lot around the Franklin and Nashville area. I am also going to be involved in a lot of songwriting at Belmont and I am super excited about those experiences and doing showcases in college. I feel very motivated to give music so much of myself right now and to really focus on my career and success as a performer and a writer. I feel like that I have been working to gain all of the experience since I was very young and now it's time to put all of that to use and go for it.
YW: If you could hop into a time machine and collaborate with any artist from the past or present for one unforgettable duet, who would it be and what would the song be about? 
TH: Wow, that is a great question and going back in time there are so many great artists! As we discussed earlier, I have a love for both traditional and modern music, so there are so many options to think about. As far as an artist from the past, I would love to do a duet with Patsy Cline. Without a doubt, she had one of the best voices ever, in any genre, plus she had a very strong and outgoing personality. To sing with Patsy would be a dream come true. As far as a modern artist, I would have to say Chris Stapleton would be a great duet partner. His voice is so unique and his writing is indescribable. I would also love to write with him! That would be an unforgettable experience. 


YW: Where can our readers follow your journey and listen to your music? 
TH: I have music on all of the streaming platforms like !Tunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, etc. You can follow me on all Social Media Platforms at Taylon Hope Music and my website is I would love to connect with new people and become friends and followers!


YW: As we wrap up this interview, is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers that we haven't touched on yet? Any upcoming projects, personal milestones, or messages you'd like to convey? 
TH: I have a new single called "Picket Fence", which will be released in the next few weeks. It is one of my favorite songs that I have completed. It's a love story song and has a unique feel and sound. I co-wrote this song with one of my favorite writers, Lance Carpenter. 
Lance co-wrote "Love Me Like You Mean It" for Kelsey Ballerini, which was a number-one hit. We are also set to start filming a music video for "Picket Fence" later this month, which is one of my favorite parts of bringing a song to life!
I will be continuing to model some in Nashville for Glitz Nashville and will be working for the Belmont Vision and news team on campus at Belmont.

Taylon’s music can be streamed on all platforms, and you can follow her on all social media platforms @taylonhopemusic. You can also visit her website