Doreen Taylor :: Music Is Her ’Magic’
From the angled eye of experience in the commonalities of love's everyday twists and turns ("Rainy Night in Memphis") to the uplifting power of finding that spark of wonder and joy in doing what you love ("Music's My Magic"), Doreen Taylor is realizing her own personal strengths from within, and this is her gift as a singer and songwriter.
Hailing from a small town outside of Buffalo, New York, Doreen consistently has been acknowledged for her talent, auditioning and being accepted to three major schools of music while ultimately choosing the University of Hartford/Hartt School of Music to hone her craft. Since then, her career has taken her into the world of theatre with continued success, touring in Broadway national companies as "Christine" in "The Phantom of the Opera" and as "Magnolia" in "Showboat" with both roles showcasing her operatic range. She now zeroes in on a style of music that combines the heart of country with an edge of rock/pop that suits her style. "Music," as she says, "wasn't a choice... it was a necessity, music is something I need to survive."
With her latest CD "Magic" she has delivered a set of songs which travel along not only in an autobiographical way for the singer, but also can provide inspiration to others. Taylor mixes together both a sass of feminine wiles in several songs which explode with country-rock energy while other material on "Magic" searches deeper into her emotional core as an independent artist, making sense of the struggle and rewards of creating music that is true to her goals as an artist and performer.
Currently showcasing "Magic" with a national tour throughout the rest of 2013, Taylor spoke with EDGE of her passion for performing, shared a few personal reflections on the songwriting process and just how one song "Perfect for Me" has struck a chord for her LGBT audiences in the fight against bullying of any kind and the importance of understanding and accepting the differences in each of us.
Keep It Simple Stupid
EDGE: ’Magic’ has a great country vibe yet you have so many other facets of styles in your voice... why did you choose a focused pop country blues style as opposed to the many other styles that you have control of within your voice?
Doreen Taylor: That’s the age-old question that I seemed to get asked a lot and I have truly come to the conclusion that I never ’picked’ this style of music... it picked me. I absolutely agree that I have always had the ability to meander between different styles [like opera, musical theater, jazz, rock, or even country] which was clearly evident in my one-woman show that I performed throughout Atlantic City and Las Vegas, but ultimately as an original singer/songwriter, my musical preference or taste has always gravitated towards a harder edged country rock style with a lot of different eclectic influences.
Growing up in a small farm town outside of Buffalo, NY, this style of music has never been new to me and I am really honored to be making my own voice heard in this genre. I can honestly say I have found my home in the music industry and I have never been happier!
EDGE: I enjoy your higher range in ’K.I.S.S.’ and the lyrical twist on ’Keep It Simple Stupid.’ What inspired this song to be written and your lyrics, ’Slow it down or I won’t be around.’ and ’Take it easy tonight?’
Doreen Taylor: My song ’K.I.S.S.’ from my new album ’Magic’ is deceptively simple playing off of the acronym for ’Keep It Simple Stupid’... but that was my intention all along. Although I based the melody of the song around a musical taunt [listen to the chorus and you will immediately understand what I mean], the words/lyric of the song creates a much deeper depiction of the difficulties I have had to face not only as a woman, but also as an independent woman in the music industry.
In fact, most of my album ’Magic’ is autobiographical where I have illustrated my journey [good and bad] throughout my career in the music and lyrics. Without getting too graphic about what that song really means, it is really a commentary about the social mores about what women are ’supposed’ to be versus what we truly should be. My ultimate goal of writing that song was just to help empower others that they have control of their own lives and every facet surrounding it; never having to give in to the pressures and expectations that are always placed upon us as a society... to have strength to stand up for what you believe and choose what ultimately works best for you and only you.
Her private world
EDGE: When did you discover your love of singing/performing, i.e. specifically, when did you realize that this was definitely what you wanted to pursue as a career and that you loved doing the most?
Doreen Taylor: I knew that I was given the gift of music very early on in my life. Ever since I can remember, I was always picking up instruments and just knew how to make music come out of them. I loved the feeling that it gave me and it always made me feel special, like I was in my own private world.
Since then, I always had music in my life and tried to surround myself with it any way I could. However, I didn’t realize that I wanted to make performing/music my career until I was in my mid-late teens. I auditioned to three top-tiered voice programs/music schools and got into all three. University of Hartford/Hartt School of Music gave me a full talent-based scholarship and the rest is history.
Right then and there I knew that my path was meant to make this my career choice and to be honest, I really can’t see myself doing anything else. It really wasn’t a choice... it was a necessity. Like the air I breathe, the food I eat, having music in my life is something I need to survive. It’s not optional.
EDGE: ’Perfect for Me’ is quite simply the most revealing song, at least to me... please share the meaning of this song for you and how it applies to your experiences or philosophy in life?
Doreen Taylor: ’Perfect For Me’ has emerged as one of the most popular songs on the album very quickly. It has become an anthem for anti-bullying as well as a song for those in alternative lifestyles, the LGBT community and those that just feel ’different.’ My purpose of writing that song was to express my experience as a female singer/songwriter and the difficulties and hardships that I have had to endure to live up to the social ideal of being ’perfect.’
I wanted to write a song that let others (as well as me) know that it is okay to be different. It is okay to stand up against what society pressures us to be and it is okay to just love yourself for who you are. The imperfections in the world make the world ’perfect.’ We should embrace individuality and paint the world with color- not just black and white. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to get an e-mail message from a young child or teenager who heard my song, and it helped them understand they are not alone and it’s okay to be different.
Never ’watered down’
EDGE: What were some of the most memorable aspects of working on the production end of ’Magic?’
Doreen Taylor: I spent hours and hours and hours of work in the studio putting ’Magic" together with my team of producers, engineers and management. One of the most amazing things about the entire process was that I was actively involved from the very inception all the way through to the editing, mastering and marketing. That really made this project so important to me and allowed me to provide my fans with the most authentic message I could give them.
When people listen to the album, they can be 100 percent sure that they are hearing my real, unedited message and my legitimate voice in this industry. Music is art and to me, art should never be edited, altered or ’watered down’ just to make it more economically and/or demographically appealing.
EDGE: So far down your road, is there one song on the release that has impacted audiences the most after releasing this CD last year?
Doreen Taylor: The beauty of my ’Magic’ album is that I am finding that everyone is reacting to different songs for different reasons. I can say that my song and music video for ’Judgment Day’ has really made a significant impact on people. There is a much deeper meaning contained in that song and in the lyric that it has ignited discussion and spurned debate.
I was floored when a Facebook fan (after watching the official music video on YouTube) wrote to me and told me that it touched her so deeply that she was literally in tears! I can’t really say much beyond that. I think that says it all.
Sky’s the limit
EDGE: What are your future plans for promotion of ’Magic’ and do you have plans to release another single off the latest work? Or possibly, touring across the U.S. to promote the CD?
Doreen Taylor: I am presently in the middle of my National ’Magic’ Tour which we launched in Philadelphia to a sold out audience on May 23rd and subsequently sold out the second date at the historic Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia. We are now moving on to Buffalo, NY in mid October, two dates in New York City in November, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Nashville, Atlantic City and one more stop in Philadelphia again in January as a thank you. This tour is an appe-teaser to my large international arena tour which will kick off on/about Sept. 2014.
In addition to that, I am working with a nationwide charity where I will be writing a special song as well as a hometown tour performing that song and speaking about the cause in PSAs, etc. I will also be getting into the studio again very soon to record the follow up to my ’Magic’ album to be released in 2014. We are also in talks about some amazing other ventures that will spread my reach into movies, TV and even the fashion world.
The sky’s the limit right now and I am truly enjoying the ride. The best way I can tell people to keep up is to just get connected with me for up-to-the-minute news on my official website.
For more information about Doreen Taylor, visit
her website or her Facebook page.
Watch Doreen Taylor perform "Summertime":