Artist: Heather Taylor
Hometown: Rochester, New York
Latest album: Undercurrents
Personal nicknames (or rejected band names): HT, HTCreates
What’s your favorite memory from being on stage?
I was playing a long gig, the PA was giving us trouble and it eventually stopped working. We still had a good chunk to go, though we could have stopped and gone home. Instead, we unplugged and asked everyone to gather close. Happily the audience did and the room turned to magic! We gave it our all, playing and singing and dancing away, totally unencumbered by any tech. I tried different things with my voice and ways to approach the songs. I was raw and felt so much back from the audience members. I can still feel moments in the night when I decided to take certain leaps.
Do you remember the first moment you wanted to be a musician?
There fortunately have been many stages that I’ve rededicated my life to music. My parents were both musicians and it’s been engrained since I was little. The first moment as a young adult when I started to “get it” had to be when I was in high school traveling with an orchestra in Italy (I played classical flute through college). We got off a plane ride and within a few hours went to play a concert.
We were tired and disoriented, but through the concert we could see something happening; the audience members were engaged and emotionally present. There was one particular Italian man who was moved to tears and thanking us for our musicality and passion. I remember I was blown away. I saw that music helped connect us to people in a faraway land, in an intimate and real way. It helped me realize music was a bridge or universal language and I easily wanted more.
If you had to write a mission statement for your career what would it be?
I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ve tried on different mission suits! The answer usually comes back to cultivating connection to the self and bridging the gap to others. Simply enough I’d like to make good music and continue creating cool things. If that sparks collaboration or inspiration in someone else that would be the best!
What is your dream pairing of a meal and musician?
Sushi, wontons and miso ginger soup with Rhiannon Giddens would be inspirational and delicious!
What rituals do you have either in the studio or before a show?
I usually have a good amount of conversation with myself throughout the day, which varies from coaching my mind into relaxation if I’m super excited, to hyping myself up if I’m feeling tired. There’s always a sweet spot I like being in that I can access the music better. I do this through a quick yoga session, breath-work, listening to someone inspiring, connecting with someone or reminding myself to just get into the feeling of the music and have fun. I also make a point to think about the listener, keeping in mind I’m coming there to share something with them.
Photo credit: Emily Nichols