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For as long as he can remember, Taylor Alexander has been singing. In the shower, in the car, when he thought no one could hear him and when he knew everyone could, he put his vocal talents to good use. At 12 he picked up his first guitar and at 16 he began penning his own music. Live performances followed suit and the rest, as the old cliché goes, is history.
Named after James Taylor – no really, his parents are rad – Taylor Alexander grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. A city known more for its chili and sports teams that only make it so far, Cinci’s not exactly recognized as a hot bed of emerging talent. But, this is the same offshoot of the Ohio River that spawned Bootsy Collins, L.A. Reid, the Afghan Whigs, 98 Degrees, The National and WALK THE MOON so there must be something in the water (or the chili) that breeds talent.
“I think Cincinnati was an excellent place to hone my skills,” Taylor says about his hometown. “It will always be my home and has been a wonderful training ground.” It also helps that Taylor hails from a musical family. His maternal grandmother studied music in college and his grandfather was 1st trumpet in the Marine Corps Band. On his father’s side, his grandfather was also a singer. It doesn’t end there, his dad and uncle both talented singers, while his younger sister, Mia Carruthers, of MTV's 2009 reality drama 'Taking the Stage' is a talented pianist and singer/songwriter.
In his youth, Taylor took some music lessons and taught himself to read tablature online. However, it was the constant loop of tunes playing in his head that drove him to practice, practice, practice until that music was ready to leave his noggin and be set free into the world. He’s constantly singing, beat boxing and writing lyrics. If you happen to be standing next to Taylor on the bus or subway, cock your ears because you may just hear a cut from his next release being worked out before you. Influenced by the solo artists that came before him like, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, oh and of course his namesake the “Fire and Rain” guy, Taylor used their music as a blueprint for his own.
“Their collective styles are what made me want to make music,” he says. “I wanted to be able to captivate an audience like they can with just guitar, voice and melody,” he continues, reflecting on the artists that shaped him. Other inspirations include Justin Timberlake, Marc Cohn, David Gray, Prince, Michael Jackson, Barenaked Ladies, Eminem, Annie Lennox, Alanis Morrisette, The Delta Spirit, Vampire Weekend, and Monsters of Folk. More relevant artists such a John Legend, Hozier and the unknown but widely talented LP have begun making impressions on TA's new material. Like the aforementioned artists there’s a real earnestness to Taylor’s music, a yearning that can’t be ignored. Lyrical honesty and feel are most important to him and being an emotionally sensitive dude doesn’t hurt...
“My music is my coping mechanism,” says Taylor. It’s his therapy, it’s what gets him through life and you never know, his music just might help get your through yours.
Written by Elisabeth Galina, Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA
Q + A WITH TAYLOR ALEXANDER
Where do your lyrics come from?
Do you consider yourself a singer/songwriter? Just a songwriter? A singer? A guitarist?
My business card says singer/songwriter/musician. I’m just an artist that happens to sing and play guitar.
What is your favorite song to play live?
I love to do my "audible illusion" live. It’s a tactic I've been working on for a long time...Its basically beat boxing while humming a countermelody and playing guitar. Because my lips are moving to create the beat, you can’t see where the melody is coming from. People always think it’s a loop pedal but I perform it all simultaneously. I enjoy the challenge. Songs that include this technique are Deadly, Gone! and a tune from my new project called Long Way Road.
Why the relocation to LA?
I wanted to work in the entertainment industry. Do to that at the highest level, in the US, it's either New York City or Los Angeles. I left in September and I chose to not try to deal with an NYC winter right off the bat...Haha. I think Los Angeles is a better fit personality wise for me as well. I made it through the first year so that's a good sign!
You’re definitely a hat man, when did you start wearing hats and are they now a part of your identity?
Geez, I started wearing hats as a kid. Mostly baseball caps but as I've matured so have my hat choices. I think that sometime after college, so maybe around 22 years old, I started wearing them regularly. But, I've been an everyday guy for about six or seven years. I recently began working for the family owned Goorin Bros. Hat Company part time and have become a full fledged hatter!
What song are you most proud of?
My newest one, whichever it happens to be at the time. But if I had to choose one its my tune 1811.
How many EPs have you released, what are they called and when were they released?
I have released 3 EPs in as many years. Starting in 2012, the first Taylor Alexander EP, which I recorded in Dayton, OH. Then Art in 2013 which was recorded in Cincinnati. My most recent is Bleu, released in April of 2014. "Guardians" my fourth EP will arrive sometime in 2016!
When is your next release dropping and what is it called?
I set a goal for myself in late 2011 to release something every year for as long as I could or until I’m able to make a full-length record. I just released a single and video entitled "Long Way Road ft. Doc Optimo" in July and that tune is part of a new project called Guardians which I plan to have it out early 2016. I have recorded drums and bass for 5 new tracks for a late 2016 release!
What producers do/have you worked with? And what do they bring to the mix?
I have worked with three different producers, all of which have been great. My buddies Ronnie Pinnell and Seth Huff co-produced my first record. Seth has played bass & keys for me on all of my recordings. The other is a local sound legend and my dear friend, Chris Schmidt. He has been playing in bands, doing live sound and recording local artists for 15+ years. He has worked with me in the production of my last three EP's, including the newbie, "GUARDIANS."
What odd jobs did you have growing up? Mow any lawns?
My first job, I worked at my neighborhood pool's concession stand at 14 years old, and then became a lifeguard at age 15. We had a crazy huge hill in our backyard so believe it or not, I've never mowed a single lawn in my entire life. Ha! I've worked as a server, bartender, host, salesman, stylist at Saks Fifth Avenue, warehouse jobs, etc. Music is the only job I've never moved on from...
Where can people find, listen or buy your music?
You can stream/buy my music via Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music, eMusic, Shazam etc. I distribute internationally through tunecore.com, they make it easy to have my songs in 20+ online stores throughout the world.
You maintain an awesome social media presence. Where can people follow your exploits?
You can follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @tayloralxander
Like me on facebook : facebook.com/tayloralexandersound
Become a fan :