Tailor is an extraordinary artist and human being. This young woman who has been in the music industry for 10 years is finally enjoying fame through her first single from her album, The Dark Horse.
Wolf, which has a haunting video to accompany it, is a mixture of Tori Amos meets the Cocteau Twins meets gothic rock meets a dark, disturbing space.
Having first watched her in Cape Town at an MK recording, her intensity on stage was mind- blowing. The Mother City’s music industry turned out in droves to watch her. The most alarming part of the show, however, was when she burst into tears.
The next day I met Tailor at a hotel to find out what on earth is going on in her crazy head.
The first thing I noticed was that she is possibly the most chameleon- like person on the planet. Every expression seems to change the way she looks. She can look like Steve Tyler and then a supermodel, then a frightened child and then a manic rock chick all in the space of seconds. It really is quite fascinating.
But most overwhelming is her fragility. Tailor is too fragile for this world. Listening to her music, however, changes all of that. It is almost as if her music gives her a reason and the strength to deal with this world. As clichéd as it may be, it could just be that music has saved her life.
“I am sensitive and that’s not going to change,” she says with her sad eyes. “If it does, I won’t be able to write the way I do.”
The Dark Horse was produced by Matthew Fink of Black Hotels, Jim Neversink and The Shadowclub fame. Tailor’s music is right up his dark gothic alley. They agree that the time spent in the studio was an intense experience. Their mutual respect shifts to the stage when he plays the keyboards for her.
“When I first met Fink through my record company, Just Music, I said: ‘You’re not going to re-write my stuff’. He said he wouldn’t do that. Fink is a genius, but it took me a while to trust him, but it’s like that with everyone for me. But Fink and I click on so many levels.”
Watching her again at Oppikoppi last month was another intense experience, one where not only did she cry as she went into her musical trance, she had members of the audience in tears, too.
“On stage I become Tailor. I delve into my past and the stories people have told me. It’s the performer in me that comes out crying like that.
“When I wrote this album I was in a very dark space. It was like a big therapy session. But when it was over it was all on disc and it felt great.”
“With Wolf I wrote it in a matter of seconds. It was easy writing it, but not very easy recording it because I wanted to keep that rawness. Wolf is about being haunted by your past and then making peace with it. I knew when I wrote it I was capable of more.
“I cannot not get emotional on stage, that would make it empty. I give so much of myself and I think I will for ever. I cannot get on stage and not perform the way I do. That would just be boring.”
This complex young woman has struggled for years to make it in the industry and, after 10 years, is finally doing well. Hailing from Pretoria, she now makes Cape Town her home, a decision that seems to agree with her.
She is touring with her stable mates, Zebra & Giraffe, and having a great time.
“We played Potchefstroom which was surprisingly great. They are not pretentious there. They are salt-of- the-earth kind of people. In Durban they just stood and listened. Bloemfontein was a highlight because of the crowd, and I was in a great mood. There were people who knew the words to my songs which I haven’t released yet.”
Her honesty and passion on stage can freak out a few people. To see such fragility and wild, raw emotion is very hectic and once you witness Tailor live on stage you will never forget her.
“I think those who get me on stage will be loyal. Music is art. I am colouring in a picture. I don’t mind getting ugly on stage.”
But that’s the thing about Tailor. She can never be ugly on stage because her body and energy are constantly changing. In the blink of an eye she is iconic, tragic, angry, happy, beautiful, traumatised and at least 50 different emotions and visions in between. Fascinating.