Following on from 2018’s PURE, Taylor Castro is back with a deeply personal track to explore her darker side and speak frankly about mental health problems which affect people all over the world. First and foremost a storyteller (poems, plays, film scripts, you name it), Castro now uses her platform to take a measured step forward, exploring the emotions she feels in conjunction with her own OCD, and producing a remarkably honest song – ‘Girl, Afraid’. Listen here
As the vocal line of ‘Girl, Afraid’ begins, you could be forgiven for doing a double take at your speaker. These full-bodied, mature vocals can’t possibly be coming from the baby-faced girl in the pink tutu from the album cover. But the voice that comes from the speakers is anything but naive. Taylor Castro comes across as honest and shrewd on latest release ‘Girl, Afraid’, which sees her finding strength in vulnerability. It’s a significant step forward for the self-defined “Disney Dork” who, up until this point, has seemed to have had the perfect, enviable Florida-based life. Now with this next step in her career, Castro pulls back the curtain to reveal the emotional depths she always had within her – and explores them properly in the public eye for the first time.
‘Girl, Afraid’ marks a significant change in direction from the persona she presented on her debut. “PUREis who I wanted to be without the OCD,”says Castro. “It is still who I am but I wasn’t being totally honest. With the songs on GIRL, AFRAID, I am looking and reflecting on that person.”Of the title track, Castro says, “I had tried to stuff my OCD back down inside me and I didn’t want to write about it. I felt like I wasn’t being true and it was time to address my issues on this record. OCD presents a constant fear and paranoia, so I want ‘Girl, Afraid’ to be a comfort for people who suffer from it as I do.”
It’s her most personal song to date, and an album standout. In less than four minutes, Castro shows off an incredible vocal range and her skill as a songwriter, as well as revealing to us exactly the person she is and always has been. Opening up about her own weaknesses and coming off as a stronger person by the end of the song is no easy feat. But Castro’s vocal performance will silence any doubters who may be listening that she is going to let anyone stop her from telling her story.
This has lead to Taylor partnering with Zach Westerbeck, mental health advocate and speaker. Zach and Taylor have joined together as they both live and cope with OCD every day, and want to use their platforms to spread awareness, smash the stigma and help others realise they are not alone. Similar to how Taylor uses her voice as an artist to advocate, Zach uses his to travel to colleges across the country facilitating his mental health workshop. Together they hope to raise awareness of this mental health issue.