TAELA Breaks Down Her New Album
'life's a bitch . . . but it gets better' is out now
Interview and Photos by Jordan Edwards
It's only been two years since her debut single, but TAELA has covered a lot of ground. Although her dark pop sound has remained consistent since "drugs with you" in 2021, her songwriting has become more personal and introspective.
With her new album life's a bitch . . . but it gets better, she's pushing past her comfort zone. Tracks like "keep your demons" and "life's a bitch" show that she's done holding back. It feels like years of frustration is finally pouring out.
Opening the album is the new single "Unforgivable," co-written with JP Saxe. After teasing the song on social media, she found that fans connected with the lyrics. “I thought about the things my ex did to get me to hate them enough to leave and said, 'Fuck it, I’m gonna just lay it all out there,'" she recalls. "I think it can be uncomfortable for some people to listen to, but really healing for whoever needs to hear it.”
We met up with TAELA in Los Angeles to talk about making the album and how she's grown as an artist.
Congrats on the new album. How did you settle on these 14 tracks? Were they written about the same time?
Thank you! Early this year I started writing with the overall goal of putting together an album, but no pressure on the timeline. I had a lot of journal entries and song concepts written in my notes already that I decided to dive into and just create as much as I could. I’d say they were all written generally around the same time. It happened so quickly.
The lyrics throughout are really raw and personal. How difficult was it to cross that line and expose your feelings?
I’ve always had a hard time being honest with my feelings and showing emotion, so it was definitely a challenge. But once I started peeling back the layers I felt such a relief and a big weight lifted off my chest. The process of creating this music was very healing.
You embraced the ‘60s housewife visuals for the cover as well as the video for “Unforgivable.” Why did you go with that look, and what was it like to put together?
Yes, I wanted to really feed into the whole '60s housewife thing. There was so much manipulation in that era and women were really trapped in the idea that their worth lay solely in cooking, cleaning, taking care of kids, and pleasing their husbands. I personally don’t feel like much has changed today. There’s still a disgusting stigma around women not being as capable of success once they’re married and/or have children or reach a certain age. It was really exciting to create my own version. It felt like I was time traveling to take my power back.
Do you have a favorite track that’s a deeper cut not released as a single?
I really love “i can’t”, I think that’s the most vulnerable I’ve ever gotten. A lot of people don’t know about that song. I think it’s really beautiful.
“mad hoes” is mostly just vocals and keyboards. What was it like to create that track?
It was fun! I went into the studio with just the title but no idea what concept I would end up with. Dave and I wrote the whole song to a few chords on the keyboard and thought it sounded cool, so we didn’t really wanna add anything else. It stands out for sure.
The level of production has stayed high throughout all your releases. How have you achieved that?
I have a really strong connection with the producers I work with and spend a lot of time with them. I think just being on the same frequency and having a good relationship keeps everything on a high level. Good energy!
It’s been two years since your debut single. How have you evolved as an artist since then?
I don’t even recognize the person I was two years ago. I’m definitely way more confident in myself altogether, which has really had a positive impact on my art.
What are you going to do now that the album’s out?
Tour! I can’t wait to play these songs and meet all the people who helped make this happen. I’m so excited for the shows.