Songwriter Taylor Hottenstein basks in the Artist Spotlight and Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted tracks by Moss Manor, Dangling Participles, Sebastian & The Mood and more.
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When Taylor Hottenstein began writing and releasing music as Daisybox a couple of years ago, the songs emerged as “melancholy pop-rock” with acoustic undertones and keyboard-driven melodies.
The melancholy part of that equation is understandable, considering his return to music and songwriting came after the tragic death of his brother, Josh, who battled drug addiction for years and passed away from an overdose after a relapse.
“It was such a big blow to our family and to me because it always seemed like he was invincible,” said Hottenstein, who wrote the song, “I Don’t Feel a Thing,” after his brother died but couldn’t bring himself to release it for a year.
“It felt so personal, it was hard to sing. Eventually, I got to the point where I felt that I had to let it go. It has been such a cathartic but healing process to watch where that pain really led to that song, but that’s led to so many other positive things in my life. It’s a true testament to letting your creativity allow you to express your feelings and where you are.”
That approach has propelled all of the music that Daisybox has released over the past two years – four singles recorded at Social Recording Co. in Adrian, including the most recent track, “Pressure,” that came out in October.
For this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, Hottenstein showcased that single and an upcoming track, “Lake Effect,” that will appear on Daisybox’s “Live and Acoustic” EP recorded at Grand Rapids’ Dogtown Studio and set for release on Dec. 9. Watch the video of a live rendition of “Pressure” here and scroll down to listen to the radio show podcast.
VIDEO: Daisybox, “Pressure” (Dogtown Studio)
Based in the small Southwest Michigan hamlet of Gobles and raised in the equally cozy community of Petersburg in the southeast corner of the state, Hottenstein, 30, has managed to carve out a niche as an emerging singer-songwriter inspired by the likes of City and Colour, Death Cab for Cutie and Relient K.
But his musical journey actually began at 4 or 5 years old, “banging on the drums with my parents in church. … I grew up in a very religious home. My parents worked in churches doing music and inner-city outreach for people in need. Music was a huge part of our life and they really invested in my self-expression.”
Hottenstein later played in punk-rock cover bands, learned to play piano by ear and eventually performed on acoustic guitar and piano as part of the Oh! The Irony solo project. But he had set music aside for five years before launching Daisybox.
Returning to music “felt like the only way to purge the pain” of his brother’s “gut-wrenching” death, with that healing process helping him move forward.
He conceded that “sadness is what came out first” in his writing. “I think there’s room for vulnerability,” he said. “For me, I wear my heart on my sleeve and that really shines through on the music side of things.”
Daisybox also has started performing regularly and will play a show at 7 p.m. tonight (Dec. 2) at The Stray in Grand Rapids, with fellow singer-songwriters Jacob Betts (of American Hotel System) and Jon Hayes. Get more info online here. (Daisybox won the first round of The Stray’s Battle of the Bands last spring.)
“I just want to keep releasing new music as often as possible, and I want to play more shows,” said Hottenstein, who by day works for Valor Craft cannabis products in Paw Paw.
“I don’t need to make it big. I just want to sustain this passion. I wouldn’t mind doing Audiotree, a Tiny Desk performance or something like that – definitely a bucket list item.”
This week’s episode of Local Spins on WYCE – which showcases music by Michigan-bred artists at 11 a.m. Fridays on WYCE (88.1 FM) and online at wyce.org – also featured music from The Dangling Participles, The Shouting Bones, Sebastian & The Mood (this week’s musician’s pick by Hottenstein), Bronze Nazareth, The Kings of Strings, Yolonda Lavender & Cool Million, Moss Manor, Josh Rose and Rochelle & The Spoilers. Listen to the show here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (12/2/22)
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