Taylor Tote Exhibits Pop Star Status with New EP

21 Min Drive

Review by Marley Scheld

March 29, 2021

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Photo Credit: David Ross Lawn

Jersey Shore native Taylor Tote has a certain ferocity to her music. On March 19th she released her second EP with fiery pop tracks that show exactly who she is. The EP, 21 Min Drive, embodies both the confidence and uncertainty of being a mid-20-year-old in modern times.

21 Min Drive was produced and co-written by Russell Hayden. There are four songs, all pop (and some more disco than others), and the production is advanced and impressive. It comes after a series of singles that she has released in 2020 and 2021, including two songs on the EP. The songs have high-quality level melodies and music, each individually different from the last, yet still flowing coherently. On the surface, the music is fun, bubbly, and fresh: exactly what you’d expect from a 25-year-old making pop music. It fits the mold of pop– catchy melodies, a strong memorable chorus, upbeat enough to dance or sing along to with a smile – and it does everything you want really well.

Listen to 21 Minute Drive!

In a caption on Tote’s Instagram, she wrote, “I love myself and know who I am, what I have to offer, what I want. But this year has allowed for a major amount of imposter syndrome and anxiety to invade my space.” These kinds of challenges surface in her lyrics. In the opening song "Selfish," which was released as a single on March 11, she sings of a frustrating friendship where the friend constantly puts their own needs before others. “I’m not on your mind, you’re wasting my time,” she sings through a disco dance beat, realizing that she doesn’t need to maintain this toxic relationship. Everyone can relate to dealing with an overly selfish person, so Tote gives us the opportunity to dance it out.

Another pre-EP single released on March 5, "Lowkey Stressed," talks about a relationship that made Tote feel insecure in herself. “I’m lowkey stressed about you and every little thing you do,” she sings at the start of the chorus as the music cuts out, making a moment of that line before the dance beat jumps back in. The way Tote uses modern language such as “lowkey stressed” makes her both a product and voice for modern 20-something-year-olds. She embraces the trademarks and quirks of young millennials and uses them to turn the relatable subjects into dance tunes.


The other two tracks, "Atypical" and "Flawless," have the same feel of navigating life as a young person. "Atypical," she says, is “a pop dance track about finding your confidence even if you don’t fit into the stereotypical molds of society.” It has a swingy, 6/8-time feel which is an interesting change from the typical 4/4 pop structure. "Flawless" (co-written by Sara Schulmann) is more R&B inspired and features a 25-piece string orchestra recorded in London. It’s the grand finale to the whole thing, and as the strings carry you out of the song and the EP, you can only be impressed by how Tote and Hayden brought this whole thing together.

Tote’s EP is strong from head to toe. As she said, she knows exactly who she is – and it shows. The lyrics are authentic yet relatable to the average young millennial, the production is large and impressive. And by the way, if you wanted to go on an actual 21-minute drive with the 21 Min Drive EP, it adds up to about 13 minutes total, so you’ll have to repeat a few. But it would be WELL worth it!!

"Heart's A Boomerang"

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Award winning singer-songwriter, Taylor Tote grew up in Tinton Falls, New Jersey with her fun-loving family. The 25 year-old Jersey Shore native is mesmerizing, with her unique, upbeat, and soulful original songs. Songwriting is a personal task for Tote, who recently started collaborating, a process she’s grown to enjoy with each session. Two River Times recently cited “Tote’s career has been on a steady ascent for the better part of the last decade and she has matured into a genuine star.” When Tote is not performing, recording, or writing she is at Marymount Manhattan College studying Media and Arts Management, Social Entrepreneurship, and Music Industry. Tote’s intense schedule is surrounded by music, there is no doubt that music is Tote’s passion and what she was born to do. This really becomes self-evident that she is self-aware and possesses a unique brand of stage presence that goes far beyond the stage itself.

Photo Credit: David Ross Lawn

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Marley Scheld is a New Jersey native and recent college graduate who enjoys discovering and sharing new music. When she's not listening to music, she plays keyboard or roller skates.


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