Artist: Julian Taylor
Latest Album: Beyond the Reservoir (October 14, 2022)
Personal Nicknames: JT
Which artist has influenced you the most … and how?
There are so many, but from a songwriting point of view, I would have to say Jim Croce would be one and another would be Bill Withers. I love both of their work, and, for example, the way that both artists have a conversational way of singing their lyrics to the listener. Withers is a little bit more funky, of course, and, like Croce, his vocals are right up front of the mix. Their lyrics are often stories that relate to people, and I just absolutely love their melodies as well.
What’s your favorite memory from being on stage?
There are so many favourite moments on stage. Just being on stage fills my heart. The first time I ever stepped on a stage with my own original band was at a Battle of the Bands that took place at the famous El Mocambo in Toronto. That was a very special night because we won. We were about 16 years old at the time.
One other show that really stands out was when my band performed at Festival D’ete for the first time. We were scheduled to play an outdoor venue in Quebec City, and when we stepped on stage, there were literally 10 people in the audience, and by the time we were halfway through our set, the entire square filled up and there were more like 5,000 people watching the show. That was a huge rush and something I will never forget.
What’s the toughest time you ever had writing a song?
The toughest song that I’ve written thus far is probably “Murder 13.” It’s on the new record. I’ve been trying to write it ever since 2005, when the tragic loss of a good friend who was murdered took place. I didn’t know how to approach it. I had the chorus stuck in my head for a long time and was trying to write the rest of the song. Freeman Dre and another friend, Lonny Knapp, were able to come up to my lake house, and we started writing the rest of the song together, so it is a joint effort. I was really pleased about working on it with them, because it helped me find the confidence that I needed to restore myself in order to continue writing the rest of the record.
What has been the best advice you’ve received in your career so far?
When I was dropped from my very first recording contract, I received a call from legendary blues musician and producer Colin Linden. I thought my music career was over. I am grateful to him because he told me that it was only over when I decided that was it. I decided not to throw in the towel back then, and I am glad I made that choice. Colin actually played dobro on a couple of songs on the new record.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
I use a lot of natural elements in my songwriting and always have. Fire, water, earth, and air are prevalent in my work. I like to go for hikes just to be around nature and its quiet strength. It constantly provides me with inspiration. Nature just flows, grass just grows. Nature is an effortless and undeniable force. With my work I have always strived to be the same.
Photo Credit: Lisa MacIntosh