Taryn Cross
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Taryn Cross

Vacaville, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Vacaville, CA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Pop Rock




"Next Big Thing? Might As Well Be Me"

Country-pop singer Taryn Cross' latest release is the EP "Might As Well Be Me." The title track was written by Bay Area favorite Steve Seskin. It's told from the point of view of a musician watching the would-be next big thing on TV.

"I think every artist can relate to that song," Cross says. "It does get frustrating at times. You just wonder what you could be doing different. If you met the right person at the right time, that could be you."

And the next big thing might as well be Taryn Cross. She's got a sensational voice, stunning looks, a winning personality and the ability to write powerful songs.

On Cross' website, you can hear tunes from her EP, "Might As Well Be Me" (produced by Grammy-winning Nashville producer Brien Fisher), and see videos of Cross' versions of such hits as OneRepublic's "Apologize" and Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats," as well as her own "Here's To Us." She plans to begin recording a new album soon.

In the meantime, Cross, who is based in Fairfield, and her band perform her already recorded tunes, as well as popular covers. They play at Angelica's in Redwood City on May 14.

A native of Bellingham, Wash., Cross first stepped onto a stage at age 7. "I was terrified. I had gone through the whole audition process and made our little Meridian (Washington) talent show. Auditioning wasn't scary, but once I noticed how many people were out there, I kind of panicked. My parents were super supportive. They felt, 'If we teach her that it's OK to back out of stuff, then that's what she's going to do.' So they told me, 'You auditioned for this, you committed to it. You need to get up there and do it.' So I did. And I messed up horribly. I forgot the words.

"Doing that at such a young age and messing up was probably the best thing that could have happened. At the end of the song, I could say to myself, 'OK, I made it through. I survived.' From then on, I was like, 'Life goes on. The show goes on. And I'm just going to keep going.'"

It was a Martina McBride song, "Happy Girl," that first inspired Cross. "For some reason, I just loved that song. I learned it and told my Mom I wanted to audition for the talent show. I was a year too young, but I begged and begged and they finally went and got permission for me to do it a year early. They never pushed me to audition, but they encouraged me, once I had committed to do it, to actually follow through."

Cross' maternal grandfather had sung in barbershop quartets and her uncle was a professional drummer. Her father's uncle was musical, as well.

Besides McBride, other influences include Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, but also pop vocalists such as Adele and Sara Bareilles. "I think it gives me a unique sound, having a variety of influences. And I was in a honky-tonk band for a couple of years and did a lot of Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, and went back to the roots of country music. I appreciate all style of music, so, when I write, I try not to pigeonhole myself into a genre. I just write what I feel -- and it always comes out sounding like me, in the end."

When she was 8, Cross joined her first band. "There were two or three girls that sang. We took turns fronting the band. We performed in grocery-store parking lots and places like that. But I was 8, so it was super exciting. Then I was probably 11, when I started doing the fair circuit. I was in a duo with a good friend. Even at that age, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said, 'Singer.'

"By my teenage years, I was really taking it seriously. I had joined that honky-tonk band in Oregon, when I was 15, traveled with them for almost two years, and then started my own band. That's when things really took off for me, as an opening act and that kind of thing."

Cross has shared the stage with such country stars as Randy Travis, Eric Church, Terri Clark, and Mark Chestnutt.

Opening for Travis, Cross had a case of stage fright. "There were 3,000 people. It was just me and my friend on guitar. I was backstage, feeling really vulnerable, very nervous, legs shaking. Randy Travis' sound guy comes over and says, 'Why are you nervous? Just remember this -- they want you to do well.' Just that change of mindset was huge for me, realizing that the audience wants to be there to see a good show. They're not waiting on every note, waiting for me to mess up. I really took that with me, to all the shows I did afterward. People want me to do just as well as I want to do. That was eye-opening."

It wasn't easy on her parents, having her hit the road at 15. "I'm their baby, the youngest of four. It's harder when the last one leaves. I'm sure they were nervous, as any parent would be. But they were so supportive, every step of the way. They trusted me enough and I trusted them enough. I knew they had my back. To this day, I can't get through the day without calling my Mom once or twice."

Cross enjoyed recording in Nashville, but didn't feel that moving there would be the best decision. "Everybody's so friendly, it's wonderful. The hospitality is amazing. But it's very competitive. The joke is, your waitress could be a better singer, a better musician than you are. And it's true. Where I live now, when I tell somebody that I'm a professional singer, it's like huge news. They think it's so cool and want to talk all about it. Whereas, in Nashville, if somebody asked what I did and I said I was a professional singer, they're like, 'Yeah ... and? What do you do for a living, though?' Because everybody there does music. It's a totally different environment. It's like going from being a big fish in a small pond. It's intimidating. I didn't get too much into the scene, because I was 18. But I'd love to go back at some point."

She moved to the Bay Are to be near her fiancé, Austin Jansen, a firefighter at the South San Francisco Fire Department. "The music scene is probably hotter here than it was in Bellingham," she says. "At first, it was kind of hard breaking into it, and I had some medical trouble with my voice for a year."

Doctors speculated that untreated acid reflux had irritated her vocal cords, leading to nodes. Though surgery was discussed, Cross was able to cure herself through speech therapy and medication. Her voice is back, strong as ever.

"I hadn't realized just how much I sing -- singing in the car, singing in the shower, things like that. I missed it so much. I didn't realize how much I use singing as, like, therapy. When I have a bad day, I'll go and turn on my P.A. system and sing for an hour. And I feel amazing afterward. When I wasn't able to do that, it was really frustrating. I learned to appreciate singing a lot more."

Bay Area audiences are appreciating Cross' singing, as well. Her band includes her fiancé on drums, plus guitarist Loren Turner and bassist Terry Grace. She and Jansen met in Oregon, when both were playing in country bands, at the same festival. "The rest is history, almost four years later," she says, laughing.

"It's a cool feeling to break into the scene here. I felt I had started back at square one, being in a new area and having all that vocal trouble. But it's starting to take off again."

In a way, whether or not Cross, 23, becomes the next big thing is irrelevant. "I do this, because I love it. Obviously, I want people to love my music, too. But at the end of the day, if I can be happy doing it, then that's really all that should matter. If I love getting on stage and performing and I love writing songs and recording them, then that should be enough. You never know when you're going to meet the right person at the right time. But I'm going to keep moving forward and hope for the best.

"I did a small show the other day in a restaurant. I did a song and, in the middle, a woman started crying. And I almost started crying. It's such an amazing, rewarding feeling. I do my music for myself, but I perform to hopefully relate to people, even if it's just one person in the audience. If I make somebody feel something or touch someone, then that's all I really care about."

Email Paul Freeman at paul@popcultureclassics.com. - Paul Freeman- San Jose Mercury News

"Foley Entertainment"

Your material is as strong as what's on the radio in the Country/Pop genre and among the strongest in this genre ever submitted to me via Sonicbids. And, for someone as young as you are, it makes it all the more amazing! I am super impressed by your work, Taryn! - Eugene Foley

"Foley Entertainment"

Your material is as strong as what's on the radio in the Country/Pop genre and among the strongest in this genre ever submitted to me via Sonicbids. And, for someone as young as you are, it makes it all the more amazing! I am super impressed by your work, Taryn! - Eugene Foley

"Paul Cowan"

"Taryn Cross is one of the most incredible talents that I've had the pleasure of working with, and her ability to sell a song with raw passion is unrivalled."
(615) 321-5130
Paul Cowan, President of SPI Nashville
- President SPI Nashville

"KSHL Radio"

Taryn Cross is absolutely what country music needs today...a fresh, modern sound with a hint of the traditional. Taryn is definately forging her own path in the industry, like the greats of yester-year. It's clear she's out to be an individual, not just another pop-country clone...You gotta hear this girl sing!"
(541) 265-6477
Stephanie Lynn, KSHL Radio
- Stephanie Lynn

"Chip Westerfield"

With Taryn's God-given talent, it's already been determined, she is a star."
Chip Westerfield, Owner of Bayside Recording - Bayside Recording

"Five Out Of Five Stars"

The self-titled debut of the beautiful Taryn Cross is a soulful country collection that will leave music-lovers hungry for more! Kicking off with the edgy "I Can Break My Own Heart", Taryn wastes no time in showing off her sultry, powerful, and dynamic vocals! One of the most attractive appeals of Taryn is her diversity. Country fans will find everything lovely on this CD-moden country-pop, country with a rock edge, traditional country, and heavenly ballads. "Sunday Best" takes on a spiffy rodk edge and tackles the hard-hitting theme of hypocrisy with effortless lyrical skill. Moving across the spectrum, Taryn draws listeners in with her heart-grasping ballad entitled "My Pearls". One thing for sure, Taryn's as talented as the biggest names in modern country! Fans of LeeAnn Rhimes, Faith Hill, and Carrie Underwood will find a new obsession in this amazing new talent!
Xavier P. - RadioIndy - RadioIndy

"Rod Stone"

As a song writer, I feel fortunate to work with artists of Taryn's caliber. With five of my songs on Taryn's CD, I truly feel like I'm getting in on the ground floor of something very special...Taryn will go far in this industry and I feel blessed to be along for the ride."
(360) 756-6912
Rod Stone, Nashville Song Writer - Nashville Song Writer

"June 3, 2008"

Taryn Cross's strong vocal and personable innocence is communicated clearly and with sincerity in her self-titled 9-track country album. Although the overall performances are of a cross-over to AC, the focus on country sensibility is undeniable in tunes that crush the heart like "My Pearls". The song is a highlight of the album as Taryn sings about a string of pearls that were left her by her dead husband and referred to as her children grew. The lyrics sing of a time in life where she had to sell them to make ends meet and when asked years later where they were, she told her children that her true pearls are her children, the real gift left for her by her man. Touching. The following track, "Two Step Program", is a clever twist on self-help programs as Cross explains how she'd prefer a two-step program to 12-step meeting. "You ain't alone, come and dance with me, I need a two step program, that's what the dance hall is for'. Back at the beginning of the record the song "I Can Break My Own Heart" is a contemporary country/rock female song of strength - the ones that triumphantly explain that this man isn't needed. 'I can tell my own lies, I don't need your alibis, cause I can break my own heart baby, no I don't need you'. The song is radio ready country hit. The topic of assertive woman-kind moves into a whole new direction in "Bad Hair Day". Our favorite on the record, the song describes how a bad color job turns into a shoot out at the corner beauty salon. Fun tune - and the basis for a great music video. Kind of a solo Thelma and Louise for the Vidal Sassoon set. The next track, "I'm Gonna Buy Me a Car" has a Colvin vocal approach to it with a Nashville flavor as she buys a car to forget about a man. Taryn sings, "i'm going to go to LA, to the beaches he swore he'd show me someday, wanna see his name, written in my hand, wash away on the sand. .dreamers die when they stay where they are, I'm gonna buy me a car'. True. Overall the record is quality from start to finish in musicianship, song writing, and sincere performance. The production is first rate and we're sure we'll be hearing more about Cross. She has that unique combination of familiarity and talent that is successful in the genre.
- earBuzz (Jun 3, 2008)© 2008 Taryn Cross
- EarBuzz

"Radio Indy Gold Artist!"

We see thousands of songs by indie artists and name the best artists RadioIndy.com Gold Artists. We focus on musicianship, songwriting and recording quality when determing Gold artist status. Congratulations-You are a RadioIndy Gold Artist!
- RadioIndy.com
- RadioIndy.com

"Jeff Warfle"

Taryn, by the time you get to the word "occupied" in the first line of "I Can Break My Own Heart", it is obvious that you are a wonderful talent. You immediately reel the listener in and, there is no thinking about hitting the stop or skip button. Hooked from the start!
Jeff Warfle-Brentwood, Tn - Brentwood, Tn.

"KISM-92.9 FM"

Taryn Cross is a young Bellingham woman who's carving out a career in country music. Her self-titled CD is a strong first attempt that utilized local talent and session players from Nashville and Los Angeles. The songs are delivered with strong, powerful vocals and self-assured confidence.
Locals Only - 92.9 KISM FM-Bellingham - Locals Only-Bellingham, Wa.

"Ladies Of Country Music Radio"

Congratulations! You have been selected as a "Featured of the Week". You will be featured on both my pages at www.myspace.com/countrymusiclover47, and www.myspace.com/locmradio (Ladies of Country Music Radio).
Jerry - Ladies of Country Music Radio (Apr 19, 2008)
- www.myspace.com/locmradio

"Radio Indy Gold Artist!"

We see thousands of songs by indie artists and name the best artists RadioIndy.com Gold Artists. We focus on musicianship, songwriting and recording quality when determing Gold artist status. Congratulations-You are a RadioIndy Gold Artist!
- RadioIndy.com
- RadioIndy.com

"Austin Jansen Goes Rogue On Taryn Cross Tour"

VACAVILLE, CA – For up-and-coming singer Taryn Cross, “Break Some Rules” is more than the title of her latest recording; it also describes her adventurous approach to music. Cross, who has opened for country stars like Eric Church, Joe Nichols and Randy Travis, has been more than ready to bend and break musical boundaries by blending her Nashville sound with rock and indie influences - all while infusing it with a sultry undertone that is all her own.

With her new recording, Cross is rebranding herself to go even further from the country genre. Austin Jansen of Digital Dynamite Productions is reflecting the 21-year-old artist’s freewheeling musical style in lights with a rig anchored by Rogue R2 Spot fixtures from CHAUVET Professional. Positioning 20 of the 240-watt LED fixtures on horizontal upstage truss, Jansen has created a lightshow that, like his client’s music, is direct and intense, hitting the audience and the stage with rising and falling levels of intense beams.

In keeping with the rule-breaking attitude of the tour, Jansen drew inspiration for the country artist’s rig from a very un-Nashville like source: Metallica. “I have been impressed by Metallica’s lightshows,” he said. “Taryn’s musical style may be different than Metallica’s, but the look is something that I felt fit her show. I liked how Metallica’s rig was simple and understated, but then became searing and intense once the show started. This is what we were after here.”

Jansen’s rig has three connected goal posts, each with four Rogue R2 Spots on top, as well as four vertical truss totems, each with two of the Rogue units. Using this configuration, he was able to create the big looks he wanted without “hanging lights everywhere.”

The Rogue R2 Spot’s motorized iris is a key reason why the LD is able to use fewer fixtures. “It’s really helpful that I can use the fixture as a spot and almost a beam too,” he said. “The iris can be dialed down to give me beam-like light that slices through the spots and creates depth. We do this often on the horizontally oriented Rogues.

“Another cool thing is the Rogue’s frost feature,” continued Jansen. “I use it instead of having to hang a bunch of pars, which is very helpful in terms of saving time. We have a six-person crew, so we want to minimize fixture count for setting up and tearing down, as well as fitting everything in the trailer.”

Adding impact to Jansen’s design are the three LED video walls inside the horseshoe-shaped stage. Created with CHAUVET Professional PVP S5 panels, the walls display breakout patterns, as well as scenes that reflect the content of different songs. The center wall measures six panels wide by four panels high, while the two walls that flank it are each two panels wide by four panels high.

“We’re able to create some killer looks mixing the beams from the Rogues with the video images,” said Jansen. “We also have a 25’ runway that extends out in the audience that we light with two Chauvet 120 XP followspots. I am proud of how we’re reflecting Taryn’s music and personality with our lighting. Breaking rules to get something good is what we’ve both done.” - PLSN (Nook Schoenfeld)


"Break Some Rules" -EP released October 1, 2016

"Might As Well Be Me"-EP released August 2011
"I Can Break My Own Heart"-Music Video released November 2008
"I Can Break My Own Heart"-Single released summer of 2008
"Taryn Cross"-Debut CD released August 2007



​I don't want you to read some scripted biography of "who Taryn is". I would rather you get to know me- the real me. I am just a normal girl from Washington. The thing that sets me apart- the thing that makes me who I am- is my passion for music. As the youngest of four children, I was always copying my brothers and sister. After watching my sister perform, I got the bug.  I was seven the first time I walked out on a stage in front of an audience. That little taste was all it took. Thankfully, I was blessed with the most supportive parents imaginable. I begged them to sign me up for anything that involved music: voice lessons, recording studio sessions, theater musicals, guitar lessons, piano lessons, and even fronted my first band at eight years old. I just couldn't get enough- and still can't! 

I was fortunate enough to tour with a successful Honky Tonk band starting at the age of 15. It taught me a lot about what it takes to be on the road and to pursue a career in this crazy industry. I released my debut CD shortly after, in the summer of 2007. At 17, I  started my own band and started focusing on what I stood for as an artist. In 2010, I released an EP recorded in Nashville with a Grammy Award winning producer. It was then that I was able to start taking on bigger shows and getting opportunities to "hang with the big boys". I have had the honor of sharing the stage with many artists that I look up to, including Randy Travis, Eric Church, Love & Theft, Jason Michael Carroll, Neal McCoy, and Joe Nichols.

​Currently, I am living in California, performing, and continuing to work on building my fan base. On October 1, 2016, I released my newest EP, "Break Some Rules". It was my first pop project and I'm very proud of my new sound. It was heavily influenced by the rock genre as well, but you can still hear my country roots in my lyrics and songwriting style. 

Although "Break Some Rules" is my third release, it feels like my break-out. I finally feel like my voice is being heard not just in the literal sense, but through my lyrics. I am ready to show the world my true self, to stop trying to please everyone (because I will always fall short), and start worrying about creating an experience for my fans that I am proud of. 

I am humbled by the fact that I have been able to accomplish things I would've once only dreamed of doing. I have had the honor and pleasure of sharing the stage with so many Greats of the music industry. I have brushed elbows with legends as I struggle to work my way up to the top, just as they did. Our paths in life are never for sure, but I will keep pursuing this passion as long as life will let me. 

Band Members