For Tayla Parx, everything is about the music. “When you start adding ego into [it], saying, ‘Well, I have to write this,’ that’s not about the song, then. That’s about you,” she tells MTV News correspondent Dometi Pongo. And she would know.
With dozens of songwriting credits to her name, as well as a pair of emotionally probing albums of her own, the singer-songwriter has fortified herself as one of the premier musical minds of her generation. On the latest episode of “The Method,” a new MTV News documentary series highlighting the creative forces that power and motivate some of today’s top artists and creative minds, Parx went deep inside her process to share what makes a song like Ariana Grande’s “34+35,” for example, hang together so well — and how she made it a priority to preserve the song’s winking title while also building up a foundation around that. “It was just a matter of being like, OK, how do we make sure this is said in the right way?”
On Grande’s 2020 Positions album, Parx co-wrote five of the tracks, continuing her longstanding relationship with the pop star that dates back to the swaggering Thank U, Next. She worked alongside fellow trusted inner circle members Victoria Monét and Tommy Brown to shape the tunes remotely, as the bulk of them were created during quarantine. Still, the feeling of togetherness, even while remote, came easily for Parx and Grande, who first met on a Nickelodeon set years ago.
“We saw Ariana really really take the driver’s seat this record as well, which was obviously something that we knew because we know her and we know those capabilities,” Parx says, detailing how her and Ariana’s similar performance backgrounds help them get into the mindset of writing together. The rest of it? That’s “method acting,” as Parx says, though the success of other songs she’s helped pen — Panic! At the Disco’s “High Hopes,” Fifth Harmony’s “Boss” — would suggest her methods are proven. “Longevity is the thing that anybody in our industry should be seeking.”
To that end, Parx has made a point to tell her own stories, too. Her latest LP, Coping Mechanisms, finds her fully in control of the narrative, spinning tales of love, heartbreak, and healing from her own life. “I show people who I am in every little thing there is, just because I feel like, what’s the point?” she says. “I’m honest about the fact that it changes over time. I’m gonna be evolving anyway, and you might as well be a part of that.” Find out more about Parx’s rise, her dedication, and what she thought the first time she realized what “34+35” meant by watching “The Method” below.