The power of females, friendship, and indie pop joined forces when Nashville’s Sawyer came together. Kel Taylor and Emma Harvey released their EP, Easy Now, over the summer, which puts the stars in the sky and the wistfulness in wanderlust. This sound is pulled from an honest career made out of surprises and summer camp.
When the girls call to chat music, women, and everything in between, it’s all easy laughs and stories from the stage. “One time it was right before we went on stage to play ‘Ten Feet Tall,’ and Emma had been crying because it was just one of those days when you feel very below the mark,” Taylor explains. Instead of putting on a fake smile and powering through, Harvey stopped to explain to the crowd how she was feeling. It’s moments like this that everyone can relate to and is what sets Sawyer apart from the crowd.
Listening to any of their tracks feels like finding a new friend to share your highs and lows with. They don’t spare any emotion and let listeners in, in an effort to show that it’s more interesting to be who you are. “We want to give women and girls permission to be themselves,” Harvey says. While they’re glad to be around in a time where the music industry is more accepting of female musicians, they’re also happy to surprise anyone who doubts their skills.
“When I walk into a music store, a Guitar Center or something, I have to pick up a guitar and prove that I can play before I get taken seriously,” Harvey says. While having to prove yourself because of your chromosomes isn’t ideal, Sawyer is taking steps in making that practice obsolete—and their first step is summer camp.
The girls bring touring to them by performing at camps all summer long. Every week, 500 new kids file in to hear their stories, listen to their songs, and learn to believe in themselves a little bit more.
“It’s been fun to hear how just seeing us play has helped girls believe that they can do more than what they thought -even if that’s not music,” Taylor says.
To be strong leaders, they have to believe in their craft, and they take the necessary steps to make sure they do. “Especially in Nashville, there’s a pressure to crank out songs. And if you don’t crank out songs, you’re not a songwriter. But our process is extremely slow,” Harvey explains.
It’s the extra time taken that gives Sawyer the emotional connection they have. They’ve extended recording processes and spent time in the studio rewriting rather than playing, but that’s just the cost of being genuine. “I think that definitely helps because we’re just very careful about the words we choose, and it being exactly what we want to express,” Harvey says.
It seems like the girls in Sawyer have found the formula for making picture-perfect, indie-pop jams, complete with an image and personal connection that makes each fan not only a listener, but a dear friend. But it can’t be forgotten that the most important part of Sawyer is that the girls are friends and know each other well enough to be the yin to the other’s yang.
*A version of this interview first ran in the current print issue of Substream Magazine, on stands now and available through our online store!