Taylor Dupuis of Roanoke Launches New Solo Project, 'Lovetta' Plus New Roanoke Music
It’s easy to draw comparisons to Fleetwood Mac with Nashville’s Roanoke, but they’ve been carving out their own slice of American roots rock music over the last several years. The band has grown quite a fan base touring relentlessly and, as most touring bands have done in 2020, had to rethink staying in touch with their fans and getting new music out there. Currently, Roanoke is: Joey Beesley (lead vocals, guitar) and Taylor Dupuis (lead vocals). I recently caught up with Taylor about the band and her other creative outlets like working on a horse farm, acting and her new solo project, Lovetta. The EP, Shadow Self is out today.AnaLee:
It seems like despite not being able to go on a proper tour with the band this year, you all have managed to stay pretty busy! We’ll get into some of your creative endeavors, Taylor, but first catch us up on Roanoke; your “Discover Roanoke” video series on YouTube, a recent road trip to celebrate your newest single “Dancing in the Night” and the music video for “Meet Me in the Mountains”.
Taylor: Like many artists, we are working hard to find new ways to stay afloat during the pandemic. We were a touring band for 5 years, and this pandemic has really pulled the rug out from under us. Not only were we unable to play, but we are also going through a lineup change. Luckily, we have been staying pretty busy, creating opportunities for ourselves through live streams, content creation, Patreon, writing, traveling, etc. I didn’t want to take a break from music, so we came up with new ways to keep audiences engaged and connect with folks. Most recently we teamed up with Jam in the Van, Sierra Nevada, Medicine Box, Kill Cliff, and Devils River Whiskey, and headed out west. Joey and I put a futon in the back of our van and traveled all the way to New Mexico, live streaming, playing a couple house shows, adventuring, and posting along the way. We even got tattoos! We rented an airstream in Taos, and wrote and recorded 7 songs for an acoustic EP. It was the first time I had written in 5 months or so!
We called it the “Dancing in the West” Road trip, in celebration of our single “Dancing in the Night.” It was a really cool way to connect to our audience. We created a “Dancing in the West” Discord, where we have a group of 60 or so Roanoke listeners. We talked every day on the trip, about anything from music to mental health! The trip was such a breath of fresh air, and we got to connect with people on a deeper level. We filmed the entire trip and will be making a few “Discover Roanoke” episodes about the whole thing. “Discover Roanoke” is our web series that we started a few years ago. We document life on the road, studio dates, video shoots, etc. It’s been another really great way to again, connect with folks on another level, outside of music.
We’ve also been releasing new music! Which is always exciting. We recently released 2 singles, “Meet Me in the Mountains” and “Dancing in the Night,” both written on a writers retreat in the mountains last year. We filmed a music video with Josh Kranich last year for “Meet Me in the Mountains,” and it came out so great. We wanted sort of a mystical 80’s vibe meets “Stand By Me.” The narrative is really great, and I love the dark overtones of the video. I think it tells a pretty compelling story. Josh is so great to work with and we always come out with something really unique and interesting. We filmed a music video for “Dancing in the Night” with him as well, which will be released soon. We just recorded a new song called “Selene” this past weekend, about the moon goddess. It’s one of my favorites and I am SO excited to release it next year.
AnaLee: You have a few different avenues for creativity. You are a horse lover like me and recently got to do some work at horse farm in town. For me, it’s just very grounding to be around horses. You also have a new solo project we’ll talk about next, but first tell us a little about the acting you’ve done and how, if at all, acting and music intersect for you.
Taylor: I totally agree! I grew up with horses, they have always been such a huge part of my life, but after high school I had to choose between music and horses, and I chose music. Reconnecting with them is always such a blessing. Like you said, it is very grounding. While out west we got the opportunity to ride, and it even had me considering moving out west to work on a ranch! I love music so much, but sometimes it’s great to connect with something bigger.
Last year I got the opportunity to play the role of “Elsie” in the Film Lost Heart. It was such a crazy experience. I went back to my home state of MI and was on set for about 3 weeks. In between 12 hour shoot days, I was traveling to WI and other parts of MI to play Roanoke tunes, and visit my family. The cast and crew were incredible, and I am so thankful for the experience. Elsie is a girl from small town MI who wants to move to Nashville to become a singer, so it was pretty easy to relate. The film even used two Roanoke songs, “Jordan” and “Where I Come From.” The content of the songs fit the theme of the film so well it’s as if I wrote them for the film.
I have been acting since I have been very young, doing theater, short films, features, commercials, etc., but as soon as touring started it was difficult to find time for both. Acting and singing are so different in a lot of ways, but they are both means of expression. While on stage, and in front of the camera, I have to tap into many different sides of myself.
AnaLee: Last month you launched a new solo music project called Lovetta with the release of “Shake The Trees” from the EP, Shadow Self that’s out today. Would you tell us about Lovetta and what inspired you to do something separate from Roanoke?
Taylor: I am so passionate about Roanoke and what we are doing, but Roanoke is its own entity. Over the years it has become its own thing, and I wanted something that felt completely true to myself, so I launched Lovetta. Lovetta is a French name that means youthful wolf. I have French ancestry, and have always felt a strong connection to wolves, so it felt like a perfect fit. I have done a lot of healing these past couple years. Working on my shadow self, and connecting to the divine feminine, and this EP is an extension of that. It was a chance for me to explore new sounds, and really bare all. I grew up with severe anxiety, and every day is a journey to heal. I wanted to capture the intensity and rawness of my healing journey.
I worked with such a great team on this EP. I recorded at The Creative Workshop with Parker Cason (Engineer and mixing engineer) and it was produced by Skylar Wilson. I had a truly incredible group of musicians who helped me bring the songs to life, Jon Radford (drums), John McNally (electric guitar, pedal steel, Acoustic guitar), Nick Wells (bass) Erin Rae on backup vocals, and mastered by Yes Master. What came out is an EP that I am very proud of, but to be honest I am still trying to put a name to the sound. I love the way it turned out, and I am excited to share it with everyone.
Roanoke, “Meet Me in the Mountains”
Lovetta, “Shake the Trees”
Ana Lee is on middays at WMOT, and is also the host of The Local Brew Hour, which airs Sundays at 7am and Mondays at 7pm on 89.5 WMOT and wmot.org.