A Conversation with Singer-Songwriter Joel Taylor

Singer-songwriter Joel Taylor has a bright future in the music industry. (Photo courtesy of One In A Million Media)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

It is a pleasure to welcome singer-songwriter Joel Taylor to Jake’s Take.

The multi-instrumentalist relocated from his native Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the music industry. When he arrived in the City of Angels, Joel rented a room from renowned guitar maker James Trussart, and he had the opportunity to interact with several talented artists. He interacted with the Doors (John Densmore and Robby Kreiger), Jackson Browne, Natalie La Havas, John Oates, Chris Robinson, and ZZ Top.

These interactions lead to Joel take his recording career very seriously. Last year, he debuted his double single, “Two Sides” and “What Good is Love.” He followed up with “Give Myself Away” and his moving new song: “Moment’s Notice.” Celebrated entertainment news outlet Variety premiered Joel’s music video on their website.

In this edition of A Conversation, Joel opened up about overcoming the obstacles breaking into the international music market, talked about his moving new single: “Moment’s Notice,” and how Courteney Cox’s support helped expand his presence in the music industry.

Jacob Elyachar: When did you get interested in music?  How did that passion evolve into the desire of pursuing a career in the recording industry?

Joel Taylor: I have always been interested in music, since being a young kid. My dad was a jazz singer in the ’60s and ’70s, and my mum is a great piano player. My grandfather is a great piano player too – played with everyone from the Beach Boys to Roy Orbison – so I really had no choice. I’m kidding – but I grew up surrounded by it. First, it was really just for fun (I wanted to be a professional tennis player). That was not happening, and I went deeper into the music world, and when I was about 15 I knew that I was going to do this forever and it would be my career! 

Jacob Elyachar: Could you describe your songwriting process to my readers?

Joel Taylor: It always changes. Sometimes I write pages of lyrics and then sit at a piano and try and come up with some interesting melodies. Sometimes, I first come up with a piano part, or a guitar riff, or something to help me to start launching into nonsense humming and lyric diarrhea. It always changes. Lately, I have been returning to my roots more and writing on piano mostly late at night and just waiting for ideas. For a while, I wrote a lot on the guitar – but its going back the other direction right now.

Jacob Elyachar: What are some of the biggest challenges that you faced breaking into the international music industry? How did you overcome those obstacles?

Joel Taylor: One of the biggest challenges at first was knowing no one when I moved to LA. I just turned 18 and had no idea the scope of everything. After acclimating to LA and the US, it really wasn’t as hard to get started as I thought. The industry itself is tough to break into, but I found it pretty easy to meet people and at least take a stab at it. Ultimately, money was a challenge – I lived on couches for about a year while I was in college, and had to figure out how to overcome some of those obstacles. But eventually, I landed myself some gigs as a session musician and touring musician; things started to turn around from there slowly!

 

Jacob Elyachar: Let’s talk about your new single: “Moment’s Notice.” What is the story behind the song? How could my readers relate to this track?

Joel Taylor: The story of “Moment’s Notice” is really a story about rebirth and starting again. The song really details the “moment” I landed in the US and realized that I could start my life again with a clean slate and really be in charge of my own destiny. It was such a relief and a powerful realization that I could be in charge of my decisions.

I grew up in a really tense home, with alcoholism, constant worry, anxiety and abuse, unfortunately. I couldn’t wait to escape that situation. I did, I escaped it and moved to America… that’s what the song is about. Freedom, rebirth and realization that everything is fine now… that I’m free and safe, and happy. It accidentally turned into a very therapeutic song.

Jacob Elyachar: Actress Courteney Cox has been a staunch supporter of your work as she directed two of your previous music videos. How has her support helped you grow not only as a musician but also helped you expand your presence in the music industry?

Joel Taylor: Courteney has been a really amazing supporter of mine. Ever since I met her and became friends, she’s always been so wonderful and generous, not just as a person and a friend, but as a talented director and artist. She loves music and plays piano herself, and when we met, that’s what really we had in common. We love the same type of music, and when I was playing her my first songs, she instantly gravitated towards them, and I was the fortunate beneficiary of two fantastic music videos.

Her support has really been invaluable. She directed who great videos but also has introduced me to other musicians and professionals, so I would say my career has definitely benefited due to her. So thank you Courteney!

Jacob Elyachar: Who are your dream collaborators (singers, songwriter, and producers)? Why would they be the perfect collaborators for you?

Joel Taylor: Ethan Johns, he’s a fantastic producer that has produced Ryan Adams and Ray Lamontagne – amazing sounding albums. Ed Sheeran, what a great songwriter, I would love to collaborate with him. Dan Wilson, an incredible songwriter that has written for Adele, Semisonic (his band) and really millions of hits – he is unbelievable. Ryan Tedder. Rick Rubin, Don Was, Foy Vance. There are so many people, and I think the reason it would work with that wishlist is the mutual appreciation for the classic art form of songwriting. Not just production and “hooks” but meaningful, strong songs that deal with real life!

Jacob Elyachar: If you had the opportunity to meet with aspiring singer-songwriters who want to work in the music industry, what advice would you share with them?

Joel Taylor: Always write. Start straight away. Do not say you will finish songs later. When an idea strikes, finish it. Do not get the chorus going and say “I’ll revisit it tomorrow.” Also, practicing your instrument. I think I am incredibly lucky that I started as a musician first, and developed skills and work ethic to become proficient at an instrument. That’s incredibly valuable. Being able to play shows by yourself, not needing a band, not needing anyone, and being able to hold down the fort on your own. So… I would say learn an instrument if you haven’t already – and do not just be “ok” at it. Be GREAT at it! I’m still trying, but I’m getting there!

For more information about Joel Taylor, visit his website.

You can also connect with Joel on social media. Visit his Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & YouTube channels.  

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar