Vocalist, Lily Taylor, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Performance and Composition of Contemporary Music from College of Santa Fe in New Mexico in 2004, with a focus on vocal studies. After many years working as a professional musician, arts administrator, and private teacher in Santa Fe, New Mexico and San Francisco, California, Taylor released her critically acclaimed solo album The Ride in 2014 while residing in Dallas, Texas. Her much anticipated album, Amphora is expected to release in July of 2023. Taylor continues to teach private voice lessons and hosts a radio show on 92.9FM KUZU LP Denton, Texas called BandWidthTX every 2nd and 4th Tuesday from 7-8PM CST.
Lily Taylor has collaborated with musicians, dancers, performance artists, poets, fashion designers, and artists around the Bay Area, New Mexico, and the state of Texas - exploring the art of Drag, dive rock clubs, vintage jazz halls, SoMA theaters, parlors, galleries, and underground venues of San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, CA; Denver, CO; Portland, OR; Providence, RI; Cambridge, MA; New York, NY; Denton, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, and Dallas, TX.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with Lily about her upcoming projects.
You're going to be releasing your newest album soon. Can you give us a little backstory?
I am releasing the album, Amphora, this July after many years working on the project in collaboration with musician and producer Black Taffy and co-producer Alex Bhore at Elmwood Recording. Right after my last album came out, I became entrenched in the DFW music scene by becoming the booking agent for a beloved, two-stage dive bar called Crown and Harp in Dallas, TX. I put 700 events in the calendar that year, and continued to organize shows at other locations. This was very fun, but left little time for my own art. I performed here and there and became involved in the free-improv communities around the Metroplex. I then started developing programming at a nonprofit arts and culture organization. Like many, circumstances changed during the pandemic. I was able to return to the studio to finish what I started. Taking my time to honor this project in the best way I can has been a transformative experience for me. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is prioritize yourself.
What are some of the exciting projects you are working on now?
I am thrilled to announce the release of the album Amphora in July 2023. I've released a few singles paired with music videos by DFW Moving Image Artists who have participated in the Dallas Ambient Music Nights or DAMN series as well as creating art in their own practice. I also have a project with my husband called LOCATIONS that involves audio and visual elements. In addition, I host a radio show called BandwidthTX that airs every 2nd and 4th Tuesdays on KUZU LP 92.9FM Denton, TX or streaming live from anywhere in the world on kuzu.fm.
What is one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned so far?
The biggest life lesson I have learned so far is to try to stay present in the moment as much as possible. This is exceedingly difficult in modern life, but it's the key to gratitude which is the key to a sustainable good attitude. To stay present in the moment is a difficult discipline to cultivate, but well worth the benefits.
Who are some of your musical influences?
My musical influences are all over the map from pop stars to outsiders, top 40 to the underground obscure. As a performer, booking agent, and radio host, I have seen quite a few performances. I believe that every single sound I've heard, every concert I've attended or record I've enjoyed, all of it, is stored somewhere in my music DNA, so to speak. What I have heard and seen has influenced what I am able to produce as a musician. Most recently, vocalists like Jay Clayton and Maggie Nicoles have given me much inspiration by watching youtube videos of past performances.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it?
Writer's block is so frustrating! Over the years, I have come to terms that creating, recording, and promoting are part of separate cycles, and there is a time and place for all cycles. This helps compartmentalize some of the pressure, but be ready to write something down when the idea strikes at random! Trying out different methods of composing or re-configuring what equipment I'm working with can be helpful to get the creative flow going. Walks and free-writing can help generate ideas, too. The important part is to keep trying to move forward.
What do you hope fans take away from your music?
I hope that listeners are pulled into the recording or performance and get a little curious about what they are hearing, maybe find a lyric here and there that resonates with their own story or life-experiences. My hope is that my latest record, Amphora, feels like something people have always had in their record or tape collection.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Be ready for the opportunity that is coming your way”. Be prepared and centered as possible as an artist. Know the material and the equipment. Have your bio and images ready to share. Be warmed up and ready to say yes when the opportunity finds you. What piece of advice would you give to young artists who are just starting out? I once complained about having to carry heavy amps for a long distance. I was told by a respected teacher that if I didn’t want to haul heavy equipment, then I should get out of the f-ing business. I soon changed my attitude to “how can I make this happen”, which is what led to the ability to put on so many events over the years in non-traditional spaces with make-shift PA systems and power sources. My advice for anyone starting out is to manage your expectations at every turn, and be willing to do the work to make something happen out of seemingly nothing. What are some of your hobbies outside of music?
History is my hobby. I love learning about the stories that brought us to the present day, why certain narratives survive and others do not, and how we might be able to avoid problems in the future by learning what has previously taken place. When I go somewhere new, I want to learn about the people who built the buildings and what happened there to create the culture we experience today.
What is one “fun fact” people may not know about you?
When I lived in San Francisco, I had the opportunity to play with the Turkish Folk Ensemble at a celebration for the United Nations in Berkeley, CA as a percussionist and vocalist. My memories are of a day full of music from all over the world; it was a thrill and honor to be involved. What else can fans expect from you this year?
July 21, 2023, the album Amphora releases on all streaming platforms and pre-orders of records and tapes from bandcamp get shipped out. Announcements of upcoming performances are on social media. @lilytaylormusic
Pre-order custom vinyl records and cassettes on bandcamp https://lilytaylor.bandcamp.com/album/amphora-2