On her debut album, Nanaimo singer Taylor Manns takes on an alternate identity and discusses her struggles with mental health.
Last week, on her birthday, Manns released Tiki Way, an album named after her onstage persona. The project was completed over the last year with Manns collaborating with local producers King Kael, Brizlamusic and Teus. Manns said the record is about “coming out onto the other side.”
“I have a lot of depression and mental health issues that I have normally that I’ve had to conquer to create this album,” she said. “All my mental blocks, my anxieties, the things that hold me back.”
The album starts with Manns feeling like she’s in a good place, only to have everything crash beneath her, leaving her to build up from the bottom to eventually emerge in a new, unfamiliar dimension, “almost like an Alice in Wonderland idea.”
Manns said mental health is an issue she felt she had to write about, and by sharing what she’s been through she hopes others will re-evaluate their own situations.
“With everything that’s going on right now and our lack of connection it’d be really nice to find people out there who connect with the words that I say and are like, ‘Yeah, I think that, too,’ on a relatable note,” she said. “Because I think that’s part of the healing process for me as well.”
Manns said aspects of the project have brought her out of her comfort zone, and adopting her Tiki Way persona has helped her through it.
“I see her as this, like, space-witch thing I created in my head,” Manns said. “Just a very different type of character that I can be, that I can be out there and push my boundaries.”
She said she was inspired by drag queens, who perform in-character but get to be themselves at home. Mann said while it’s good to be vulnerable onstage, “I didn’t always want to be me.”
Manns said the “Tiki” part of her alias comes from her own name, Taylor Kate, and the rest came to her while driving down a street in the Hammond Bay area.
“As I was driving on it I was like, ‘OK, I need a sign, I need something,’ and I literally saw the street name was Tiki Way and I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s my name,’” she said. “It’s pretty funny. It was a literal sign. The universe was slapping me in the face with that one.”
Tiki Way is available here.