Bay Area pop singer Taylor Grey wants to clarify one thing about her effervescent upcoming debut, “Space Case”: It does not refer to a forgetful ditz. “It’s about someone whose head is in the clouds, she’s dreaming and she has big plans and visions,” she says. It’s a perfect description of the 20-year-old musician, who just wrapped finals week for her sophomore year at Stanford, where she’s majoring in psychology and neuroscience. She has her summer mapped out, too. She’s going on tour, then moving to Los Angeles to work on songwriting and performing before returning to college in the fall. She says, “I’m definitely getting my degree.”
Why pursue school and music simultaneously?
I’ve always loved music, and it’s always been what I wanted to do. But conversely, I’ve always loved education, and I grew up with my parents teaching me the value of education. And my high school self – who spent every day in the library – would absolutely hate me if I ever dropped out or didn’t get my degree. But I grew up doing musical theater and writing my own songs, so doing that on a bigger scale is really exciting, and I’m looking forward to seeing where I can take it.
And you wrote your first song in seventh grade, about a boy who left you right before your big volleyball game?
I won that game, even though I don’t think I was that good at volleyball. It wasn’t the first-ever song I wrote, but it was the first one that I can remember that had real catharsis and closure. I was mad. It was called “All In a Volleyball Uniform,” it was extremely literal, and just walked you through the entire situation.
Do any fellow classmates or professors know your secret identity? Or songs like “Never Woulda Letcha”?
All my friends know. And some of my teachers have figured it out, because I’m often telling them, “I’m sorry, I’m leaving to go to L.A. again.” And they’re like, “Are you an actor or something? Why do you always go to L.A.?” So then I’ll tell them, and some of them have been super supportive and now follow my music online. And I do sometimes get that, “Wait, you’re that singer girl, right?” But there are obviously many more high-profile people on campus than me. There are people who’ve developed ways to screen and test for cancer.
Have your studies helped your composing?
Studying psychology and the brain has really helped me understand people, and that indirectly has definitely influenced my writing. Especially when I’m talking about interacting with people. But I can’t foresee a future where I’m singing about neurons firing!
IF YOU GO
Jacob Whitesides, Taylor Grey
Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.
When:7:30 p.m. June 20
Tickets: $18 to $21
Contact: (415) 255-0333, www.eventbrite.com