Liz Huett Used to Sing Backup for Taylor Swift, But Now She's Making Her Own Moves

Dallas Wilson
Liz Huett

Singing backup for Taylor Swift is pretty much a dream gig. For 30-year-old singer-songwriter Liz Huett, it was also the job that would jump-start her own career.

The Riverside, CA, native grew up listening to everything from Tom Petty to the Spice Girls and found herself gravitating toward the world of pop. In late August, Huett released her debut single “STFU & Hold Me,” revealing an edgy side to her pop production.

Signed to Interscope, Huett released “H8U” -- written by Elizabeth Huett, Michelle Buzz, Zak Waters, and Alex Reid, and produced by Pretty Sister -- Friday (Oct. 27). With two singles down and more music in store for 2018, there’s a lot to come for Huett.

How did you get into making music?

I have always loved music. It’s always been second nature to me. It was after high school when I went to Nashville and started writing songs and developing myself as an artist is when it really started.

You got your start on Taylor Swift’s Fearless tour. What was it like working with her and getting your start doing backup vocals?

It was the best music industry education you could ever ask for. I had a lot of fun and made beautiful friendships and memories. It was such an amazing ride.

In what ways did the Taylor Swift tour help you think about your own goals and accomplishments?

I always had the same ambitions before and after that gig. I always knew I wanted to be my own artist and that it would happen in time. The takeaway from that gig was I learned from watching the crowd react. You have to mean what you’re saying and feel what you’re singing. If you don’t feel it, you can’t expect other people to.

What was your favorite song to sing on the Fearless tour?

Oh man, it’s hard! They were all so good. I got to play with such a great band and listen to her sing every night. She’s such a great artist.

Tell me about “STFU & Hold Me.” How did it come about?

It came from a place of frustration and wanting your lover to “man up” and stop sweating the small stuff. The reason why I wanted to release it as my first single was because I felt like it was a good depiction overall of what you’re going to get, who I am and what you can expect out of the rest of the material. The context of the title was a bit polarizing. I wasn’t too worried about taking a risk. If you like me and you like the song, the rest is going to be in the same family. I’m not a polished, careful person by nature.  

Which artists have you been influenced by?

I’m such an obsessive listener with music. Tom Petty is a big one for me. I worship everything Rihanna does. I grew up listening to ‘90s country a lot, but I also listened to commercial pop radio as well. I listened to Christina Aguilera, P!nk and artists like that, but [my taste] is really all over the board. Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Sheryl Crow. I’m listing too many now, but clearly I love music.

Have you released an EP? There was an interview you did where you were supposed to put out an EP in 2015.

Well, a few years ago I recorded a batch of songs that I was intending to put out. Then my gut was telling me I wasn’t ready and if I scrapped what I had and went back to work, I might be able to get onto something that was a little more “me” and a little more “special.” I’m so glad I did. As much as I’m proud of the songs, I don’t feel like the music was ready yet. I don’t feel like it was

Will you be releasing an EP first or singles?

The next thing we have confirmed is a single. Next year we want to release a bigger body of work. Whether it’s an EP or LP I can’t confirm yet. I’d like it to be an album. For sure none of that will come until next year.

Who would you want to collaborate with?

I would love to collaborate with Ed Sheeran. I just think he’s remarkable, and Brandon Flowers and Bruno Mars. Shawn Mendes would be cool.

Why do you think people are going to latch onto your songs?

I hope people take away the sense that it’s honest. I will always write from the purest place because that’s the only way I know how to. It’s the only way to make us all happy. Music is here to connect us all and it’s a form of happiness.