Who Is Katelyn Tarver?

Kieran Kohorst
Credit: Irida Mete

As listeners and fans of artists, we depend on these chosen voices to guide us - through spontaneous memories, shared experiences, and generally through the moments of seemingly isolated pain that is somehow conveyed in the music of someone else. It's these magical, parasocial relationships that bring us closer to artists; it’s this exact relationship that inspired the term “stan.” Los Angeles singer-songwriter Katelyn Tarver is an artist who seems primed to attract more stans than fans, a product of her honest-to-a-fault songwriting and blatant emotionality. The approach is the same on her most recent single, aptly titled “Ignorance Is Bliss,” where her writing comes across as a stream of consciousness, giving in to intrusive doubts: “What if everything I used to believe in was all for nothing? / What if one day you wake up and tell me that you don’t love me?” She descends and unravels even more, nearly spiralling out of control in her verses before being tossed a life support in the chorus - “I guess ignorance is bliss.” 

Explaining the track in her own words in a press release, the sentiment is felt even deeper. "This song is voicing my frustration with how isolating it can feel to be weighed down by the big, unanswerable questions that we all have to face in life,” she says. “All the what-ifs. All the versions of why them and not me? Why me and not them? If I could just have the answers, I wouldn’t have this angst! I know, I know… that’s not really how life works. Obviously, at some point you have to relinquish the need for control and accept life’s uncertainties to find some peace. But sometimes you also have to wrestle with it and tighten your grip and feel the fear that can come along with it. This song is shedding some light on what my path to acceptance can feel like sometimes. Standing alone, looking around, feeling scared, and wondering if anyone else feels it too." It’s becoming much easier for Tarver to look around and read the room, because she’s going to be standing front and center on a 21-date North American tour that began September 6, accompanied by labelmates Rosie Darling and Jack Gray. In her first ever headlining tour, Tarver’s music is sure to astound just as much on stage as it does in your headphones - you can buy tickets for the tour here.

“Ignorance Is Bliss” continues the narrative that was introduced in Tarver’s previous single, “Parallel Universe,” where she muses on all that could be along an acoustic guitar. Where Tarver shines most in both tracks is in the chorus, offering quintessential all-too-relatable lyrics with fine-tuned melodies. This feature has become a trademark in her music, with noticeable growth from her acclaimed debut LP Subject To Change. With a new album slated for release in early 2024, it's clear from the songs previewing the project that there are still plenty of questions to be answered regarding Tarver, if not from us as listeners than from Tarver herself. Her lyrics suggest there are looming questions from Tarver about where she belongs, what matters to her, and if she’s doing things the right way - reasonable questions we all should healthily consider. No matter the severity of her personal identity crisis, it's clear to listeners who Katelyn Tarver is as an artist: someone we can trust is being honest, with a voice we can all use more of. 

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