Minneapolis singer-songwriter Jeanne Taylor gears up to release first EP

Joe Cristo

University of Minnesota senior and family social science major Taylor Peterson, known by her stage name Jeanne Taylor, comes from a long line of Minnesota music royalty.

Fresh off the debut of her music video “LA NIGHT,” Taylor sat down with A&E to talk legacy, the West Coast and “keeping people excited.”

Taylor’s EP, “Jeanne,” will be released on Nov. 12 with a release show at Bunker’s Music Bar and Grille.

I know you come from a family of musicians. What projects were they involved in?

My grandma, Jeanne, who I took my stage name after, was a jazz pianist. Everyone in my family was musical. My dad is the baby of the family — he was and is a touring musician. When he was younger, he met Prince and played keyboard in his band and in Morris Day and the Time. After they broke up, Prince started another band with my dad as the band leader called The Family. This last summer he toured and played with Peter Frampton. You know how some families are “sports families”? We’re like that … but with music.

Tell me about your musical milestones.

I started singing when I was around three. I did my first recording when I was four with my grandma’s jazz band. At around eight or nine years old, I started writing poems and lyrics in sketchbooks — the way each line rhymed at the end was always really interesting to me. I can’t remember many of the old things I wrote, but I remember one of the first songs was called, “I Hate the Laundry Room.” When I turned 12, I started recording full songs on my MacBook — that’s when it started to really develop.

How do you write your songs? What’s your process?

It usually starts out with a very stripped-down vibe. Very emotional. Vulnerable. I love the word vulnerable because it sort of wraps up all of what I’m trying to do as an artist.

For a while I would write songs on the piano when no one was home. My family is so impressive I was scared to show anyone. Eventually I showed my dad and he said, “Wow, these are really good.”

Songs are also a way for me to process how I’m feeling. In college, my four-year relationship ended, and the only way that I got through it was by channeling those emotions into songs. Honestly … I just like writing songs so that I can share with other people. I want to have people relate.

Your new music video for “LA NIGHT” was filmed in Los Angeles. What was that trip like? Why Los Angeles?

I’ve gone to LA the last two summers. The first summer, I just met with some writers and musicians and tried to expand my circle — it was more about perfecting the craft and seeing who I want to be as an artist.

When I was there, I met [producer] Khris Reddick-Tynes, and wrote with him.

This last summer I recorded six songs for the EP. I was just looking for some weird and quirky people to work with.

For the video, I got in contact with a video producer. We met for lunch and immediately started to build a storyboard. The shoot took two days, and it was basically just me and my best friends going around LA.

What advice would you have for someone who wants to be a singer-songwriter or a musician?

Honestly, I would say just be yourself. There will be people who don’t like you no matter what — use that stuff as motivation to make yourself better. Don’t try to conform to what other people expect of you. Be unique. Try not to be scared to do new things. Really try to make videos because visuals help a ton with getting your stuff out there. Just try. Hard.

What are your plans and goals for the future?

Well, the EP release show is soon. Obviously, the video just came out. I’m probably gonna release videos every month or so to keep people excited. I’m [going to] end up moving to LA after my senior year. I just hope this EP introduces me to new people and new ears.

I’m mostly just hoping I can start a fan base for myself. I don’t [want to] be labeled as the next Taylor Swift or anything like that. I have a very pop [and] R&B factor to my music, and I hope people will take it seriously. I just want to be in a relationship with a good team and work on my craft.

Editor’s note: this interview has been edited for length and clarity