Carly Taich didn’t post anything on social media, light a candle in mourning or plan a post-pandemic farewell tour.
She had devoted her young adult life to her own fearless folk pop, as she calls it. She had made two full albums over the previous eight years, And sometime in the middle of 2018, at age 27, she’d prepared herself to say goodbye to music altogether.
‘I was very uncomfortable with the industry of music. It just got to be a toxic relationship,” Taich said. “The toxicity comes from not enjoying performing anymore, not wanting to write, comparing myself to everyone, like not even being able to enjoy other people’s music because it was always a contest.”
So for about a year and a half, she didn’t write, she didn’t go to shows. And even as a runner-up in the nationwide NewSong Music competition, Taich was secretly relieved she didn’t win.
“I didn’t talk about it when it was happening. It was too painful to tell people,” she said. “It actually felt like a breakup or divorce, to some extent.”
Taich is far more clear about that breakup than she is with how she found her way back. For clues, look to her new music—six songs on an album called “It Tends to Glow.”
“All the songs have in common that they’re love songs,” she said. “The simple act of writing it was me falling back in love with music.”
Taich has spent the past decade focused on the craft and career of songwriting and performing. Only when pressed will she point out the peers who attended Appalachian State University at the same time she did, musicians who have achieved certain measures of fame.
“The last time I’d felt totally free and in love with making music was probably in high school, when I was new at it and it was just so exciting to make a song and play it for my friends,” she recalled.
Some time in 2018, Taich wrote the song “Red Herring,” which she describes as a call to honesty about her disillusionment and, ultimately, a call to action.
“I think every time I performed that song, I had to fight the urge to start crying halfway through it,” she said. “I have a lyric that says ‘I keep plugging away at this dream I’m not even sure I still care about,’ and that alone felt so vulnerable for me, to just tell my bandmates and my family and anyone listening that I don’t know if this dream is what I want anymore.”
Taich came to regard the song as about self love. But after about 18 months away from music, she found herself drawn to write again about love—romantic love, innocent love, sacrificial love, empathy and loss of love.
“It felt like a long process of shedding what I thought I wanted and be willing to never come back to it,” she said. “Over time, I just started writing again for fun because I’m a songwriter. This is what I do. I’m made for this.”
Taich found recent joy in the handiwork to make the lyric booklets that go along with the CDs. She said she’s confident she can let “It Tends to Glow” out into the world without fear of disappointment.
“I don’t think it could ever bother me the way it did before because I’m not giving it so much weight and power over me,” she said. “I have been validated in so many ways. I’m not here to try to seek approval, but I do believe I will go where I need to go, and so it’s just a lot of trust.”