Meeting Ginger Taylor
Because You're Going to Eventually
Ginger Taylor is the kind of girl that intimidates. For instance, one time, several years ago, in the early days of our Instagram connection and DM correspondence, Ginger told me about her teenage romance with the son of some Hollywood royalty; I imagined her dropping details with a giggle and shrug.
Ginger was brought up in New York City. Brooklyn, of course. She is pale, slender, unsuspectingly tall, with the prettiest baby face. Ginger Taylor is the kind of girl you imagine sitting up against a towering oak, reading poetry on the collegiate green at the University of Toronto, where she is a liberal arts student. Ginger’s parents are successful showbiz people. She’s the star of the family — for, on several occasions, fellow students have inquired, “Wait, did you make Yuppie?”
The intimidation factor increases when you receive her affirmative reply, because Ginger Taylor’s 2019 debut EP, Yuppie, showcases an immense fledgling talent. The title track is her most popular song to date, with over 3.2 million Spotify streams. Years ago, on my first listen to Yuppie, I witnessed Ginger’s lyricism, her dreamy vocals, her cinematic instincts, and thought, “This girl is the love child of Clairo and Lana Del Rey.”
Several years after our Instagram introductions, after Yuppie, after class on a gloomy Tuesday in February of 2023, I met Ginger Taylor to discuss “Starfucker”: the lead single off her upcoming EP, Starfucker.
We meet at an unpretentious pub blasting oldies from muffled speakers. I’m here early. When Ginger arrives, she periodically pauses mid-sentence to acknowledge whatever Elvis tune lingers in the background as only a true music lover would. “Starfucker” highlights her penchant for the sonic style of the 1990s. It’s Mazzy Star and Tori Amos. The music video is reminiscent of Hole’s video for “Violet.” Ginger’s acoustic demo channels Elliot Smith.
The demo is a poem accompanied by a guitar. As usual, the lyrics came first. “I don’t get ideas for a guitar riff or a baseline when I’m not holding a guitar or a bass,” she says. “But I’ve always got words in my head.” Ginger spent her formative years writing, believing she’d grow up to “be a writer. A real writer.” Her confidence as an artist resides in her ability as a songwriter. “There’s so much I don’t understand about singing,” she confesses. “Fuck my voice.”
It surprises me that Ginger is so sensible about herself and her work. When citing Hope Sandoval as an inspiration, Ginger looks past the moody, waif schtick and speaks to the stillness of a shy girl crooning her love letter to a crowd.
The rest of our conversation is just as surprising. We talk for over three hours. It’s honest and vulnerable. It’s more honest and vulnerable than it is salacious, cool, or “aesthetic.”
Ginger Taylor is the kind of girl that intimidates because she's the kind of girl you want to be — especially if what you are is a digitally-bred young woman, someone familiar with Tumblr, now TikTok, Sofia Coppola, and the term “coquette.” There’s a likelihood that a Spotify search for “Lux Lisbon” or “femme fatale” leads to user-curated playlists bearing Ginger’s music. The image of Ginger Taylor through the digital looking glass corresponds with hashtag buzzwords and media-literate archetypes.
Perhaps young people today assemble identities around hyper-specific aesthetics for comfort and belonging. Perhaps it stems from a compulsion to self-brand and the fetish for labels. Whatever it is, it’s not Ginger.
To know Ginger Taylor, specifically, the Ginger Taylor behind “Starfucker,” Ginger Taylor as she lives and breathes today, it’s necessary you meet musician/artist and Ginger’s boyfriend/collaborator Will Agnew.
Will and Ginger’s Toronto residence is where we intended to conduct her interview. It’s the kind of dwelling with a makeshift darkroom, which Ginger says is Will’s doing. She also credits Will with making an awful, plan-altering mess. Ginger credits Will with a lot — 50% on all the paperwork, to be exact.
The story of Ginger and Will is of opposites attracting. Will is from small-town Canada. Ginger’s jolted by stage fright, and Will gets injured due to his proclivity for erratic performance. Theirs is a meeting of kindred minds. While Ginger deliberates her emotions through narratives and words, Will thinks in melodies and beats. “I came up with the lyrics and recorded the demo, but Will,” Ginger says, “is responsible for creating the version of the song that people hear.” Ginger’s recognition of Will had her proposing they ditch the Ginger Taylor entity for a band with a new identity. Will declined the offer.
That’s not to say the pair don’t perform together as a band. Ginger lends her talents and a woman’s intuition to PASTE — initially, a four-man group helmed by Will and his friend, Dylan.
Even with Ginger's inclusion, PASTE is a guy’s band. It’s a band whose live shows serve as a mating call to every nineteen-year-old girl within a 40 ft radius of the venue. Once the set’s finished, those girls flock to the restroom and declare relations with band members.
It’s a band where — if you’re the sole female bandmate — you’ll spend a sizable portion of your time off-stage hanging out with the rockstar girlfriends. You’ll hear the chatter inside those bathroom stalls; it stirs memories of your past. You’re both rockstar and girlfriend, and not quite either at the same time.
It’s a strange place to be, in-between artist and muse. If you’re Ginger Taylor, the charade informs you to write “Starfucker.”
“Starfucker’s” video features Ginger in a mall-sourced version of the gown Marilyn Monroe wears in “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.” Ginger’s a beautiful songstress who observes her obligation to perform. She accessorizes with appropriate pink silk gloves. At the same time, she voices discomfort in portraying femininity for the camera, saying, “I feel more masculine than feminine most of the time.” Despite Ginger’s lax liberal upbringing, she wrestles with shame surrounding her sexuality.
Ginger knows the privilege her family background affords her. She doesn’t whisper the word “nepotism.” She claims that Hollywood clout doesn’t quite translate into the music scene, but she’s uninterested in becoming an actress. She seizes opportunities. She dedicates herself to her passions. The outcome is a paradoxical early career: DIY music videos and LA producers, dorm-room sessions in lieu of the studio and money-minded managers over spring break.
Starfucker, she says, includes “old songs I wrote, and a couple songs Will and I did together.” Ginger’s sophomore EP is a farewell to her Yuppie youth. It’s an account of musical metamorphosis.
“Starfucker” is forceful and delicate. It’s grime and glitter. It’s hating a bad thing and hating worse that he doesn’t call. Like Ginger, it balances dichotomies; it’s self-aware, but glamorous; it’s brimming with feeling.
On that gloomy Tuesday, I met Ginger in a black velvet ensemble — dressed like a stylish sitcom witch, like someone on a third date. I wanted to look attractive, make a good impression, fit nicely within the trendy labels that yield Spotify playlists and click-worthy cachet. I tried to appeal to a hazy notion of the person Ginger Taylor might embody.
Ginger arrived fresh-faced, wearing a grey hoodie, her hair in a messy bun. She greeted me with a hug. When Ginger arrived, I sat across someone whose soul speaks a language similar to mine. As a result, the interview dissolved into conversation, communication, into complete confession. When Ginger arrived, I was met by a friend; and there’s great relief in meeting a friend whose music you genuinely get.