Premiere: Katelyn Tarver Shines on Radiant & Intimately Unapologetic New Single “Nicer”

Katelyn Tarver © Ethan Gulley
Katelyn Tarver © Ethan Gulley
An intimate unveiling of the self, Katelyn Tarver’s sweetly stirring and radiantly irresistible “Nicer” glows bright as a beautiful and boldly unapologetic assertion of the self.
for fans of Loviet, HAIM, Bluebiird, Arlo Parks
Stream: “Nicer” – Katelyn Tarver




To all the former rule followers and recovering people pleasers, may this song help us get out there and be a dick sometimes if we need to.

An intimate unveiling of the self, Katelyn Tarver’s latest single glows bright with passion, purpose, and self-confidence. Sweetly stirring and radiantly irresistible, “Nicer” is a beautiful and boldly unapologetic assertion of the self: A heartfelt, invigorating indie pop anthem of renewal and personal growth from one of the pop world’s most promising independent artists.

Subject to Change - Katelyn Tarver
Subject to Change – Katelyn Tarver
I used to be nicer
I was the girl who’d do anything
To make everyone like her
That shit makes you tired
I used to say sorry
It wasn’t worth all the arguing
I’d let somebody rob me
And then I’d buy ‘em a coffee

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Nicer,” the third and latest single off Katelyn Tarver’s anxiously-awaited debut album, Subject to Change (out November 12, 2021). While perhaps most recognizable for her recurring role portraying Jo Taylor on the Nickelodeon television series Big Time Rush, Tarver has emerged over the past decade as a tremendously talented indie/alt-pop singer and songwriter, with her own unique perspective and spellbinding allure.

Following a slew of independent EPs and dozens of singles released over the past ten-plus years, Tarver’s first full-length album affirms what millions of fans have long appreciated in her art. A dynamic, accessible, and cinematic record dwelling in the depths of self-reflection and wonder, turbulence and inner turmoil, Subject to Change reminds all who listen that life is a roller-coaster, and it’s okay to not always be okay: The album’s first three singles “Shit Happens,” “All Our Friends Are Splitting Up,” and now “Nicer” speak, with a poetic vulnerability and candid honesty, to the fact that our lives are not the rose-colored filters we see so often portrayed around us and on social media; that human existence is emotionally complex and radically nuanced, with highs and lows happening at every moment.

The Los Angeles-via-Georgia artist describes her album as coming out of a particularly difficult period of upheaval and imbalance in her life – calling it “challenging, healing, cathartic, [and] stretching me way out of my comfort zone.” As such, Subject to Change is not only a buoy and anchor, but also a real-time document of life in motion. Cohesive yet diverse, bright and uplifting yet dark and unfiltered, and utterly enchanting from start to finish, it is an enviable debut through and through.

Katelyn Tarver © Ethan Gulley
Katelyn Tarver © Ethan Gulley

“Nicer” offers a raw moment of vulnerability as Tarver delves into the woman she once was and the woman she’s become. “I used to be nicer – I was the girl who’d do anything,” she sings softly in the opening verse. “To make everyone like her… That shit makes you tired.” All at once, she swiftly and gracefully captures both who she used to be, and how hard it was to be that person on a daily basis – for instance, being the one who says “sorry” when the other person should be apologizing – or as she describes it, “I’d let somebody rob me, and then I’d buy ‘em a coffee.

Rejecting these aspects of her former self in favor of a newer, bolder attitude and assertive personality, Tarver comes to life in an intimately expressive, effervescent and catchy chorus:

Look at all the time and energy I wasted
Feels like overnight I forgot how to fake it

It’s a warm and welcome reclamation – a powerfully resounding statement we can all understand and appreciate, if not personally relate to.

“The opening line of this song is inspired by my mom scolding me for honking at a car who cut me off in traffic,” Tarver tells Atwood Magazine. “She was visiting me in LA, and I guess didn’t think the guy who cut me off deserved a honk. “Gosh Katelyn! You used to be nicer!” (meant to be read in a thick southern accent for full effect). It made me laugh, but it also weirdly stuck with me for years afterward. I think because it hit on a part of me that I was trying to get to know. The part of me that isn’t such a people pleaser. Who isn’t afraid to speak her mind a little more. Who isn’t afraid to honk her horn at the car who pulled out in front of her at the intersection of Vermont and Franklin, mom! Ok sorry this is getting too specific. I’m just desperately trying to give less of a shit, and that’s what this song is about. To all the former rule followers and recovering people pleasers, may this song help us get out there and be a dick sometimes if we need to.”

I used to be sweeter
Biting my tongue when I disagreed
Like if I was meaner
The people I love would see me differently

Tarver’s “Nicer” music video offers a split-screen performance, depicting what we can assume to be her current and former selves in action – with the current self singing, and the former self seemingly experiencing life in reverse. One can’t help but notice that the light shines a little brighter on the current version of Tarver as she basks in her own apartment – a safe space where she can thrive. While the current self sings to the camera and asserts control over her own narrative, the former one seems to be followed by the lens – aware of the filming taking place, but not able to command the direction or influence the outcome; after all, she is living in reverse. It’s just one of many ways Tarver manages to express her newfound emotional freedom – that she no longer bears the weight of others’ expectations, and is instead focused on fulfilling her own goals and her own dreams.

It’s quite a fitting story to tell around one’s debut album release, and a marvelous showcase of Tarver’s multifaceted acting and musical talents.

A heartfelt embrace of growth and betterment – even when that means leaving a piece of yourself behind – “Nicer” is a soaring, stunning, and altogether mesmerizing song. Stream Katelyn Tarver’s latest single and music video exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and be sure to listen to Subject to Change in full upon its release on November 12, 2021!

Look at all the time and energy I wasted
Feels like overnight I forgot how to fake it
If it’s on my mind now I don’t try and change it
Cause look at all the time and energy I wasted

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:: stream/purchase “Nicer” here ::
Stream: “Nicer” – Katelyn Tarver



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Subject to Change - Katelyn Tarver

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Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
📸 © Ethan Gulley
video directed by Fiori (@fioricarmen)

:: Stream Katelyn Tarver ::



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