Maria Taylor was born in Birmingham, Ala., although, she tells me, St. Vincent’s Hospital has no record of her birth. Her earliest memory is sitting on the kitchen floor banging pots and pans. Maria began dancing ballet at age four, eventually touring with The Nutcracker. The first song she ever wrote was about the Smurfs.
She initially met Orenda Fink, the other half of the ethereal Azure Ray (her full-time gig), in high school and they’ve been in a band together ever since. (Their first outlet, power-pop band Little Red Rocket, even had some major labels interested.) Which may explain why, after 12 years together, Taylor has finally released a solo album, 11:11.
“Sometimes you need to get out and stretch your wings on your own,” Taylor says. The record, 10 songs rife with sensual longing and delicate musings, deals with the uncommon combination of Birmingham, lost love and Xanax. The folktronic record features a veritable who’s who of Saddle Creek musicians including members of Cursive, Bright Eyes and Now It’s Overhead. “I’m extremely proud of this album,” she says, “because it was a big deal to head out on my own.” But Taylor need not worry about a thing. 11:11 is yet another wonderful chapter in her ongoing life story.