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Interview With Avant-Pop Artist Lily Taylor

How would you describe your music to any person who may have never heard it before?

Lily: My music has been described as avant-pop, or ambient pop. I like to describe it as dreamy, vocal-driven, and pretty chill. Sometimes unexpected, but accessible.

Press shot for singer Lily Taylor.
Photo courtesy of Daven Martinez.

What’s the significance of your musical moniker? Lily: I go by my name, Lily Taylor.

What are your musical influences?

Lily: My musical influences are first and foremost my experiences singing several styles and traditions of music and what I've listened to over the years. I grew up listening to the Boston area college radio stations and my parents' small record collection of Tina Turner, The Beatles, Ravi Shankar, and Chet Baker, among others, as well as being encouraged to express myself through music and singing. I sang in choirs that covered material in various languages, and later studied contemporary music, participating in the Middle Eastern Balkan, Funk and R&B, and Jazz Ensembles. I've collaborated with many different artists such as Karina Denike, Gil Trythall, Concussed, etc... as well as booking/ curating live concerts and hosting a radio show where I am able to showcase the talent of obscure artists and pop stars alike. I am influenced by the music around me and the music I've been fortunate enough to participate in.

What are your musical inspirations?

Lily: Jay Clayton's journey as a vocalist, stories that ask to be told through song, sounds I hear around me. It's hard to pin down what comes across as inspirational because it could be something seemingly insignificant or something deeper like a teacher or artist whose work brings in inspirational ideas to my personal music expression.

If given the chance, what musician(s) would you like to collaborate with? Rather this is to either write a song or be featured on a track.

Lily: I have a collaboration project in the works right now called LOCATIONS. It's an audio and visual noise-drone duo with my husband, video artist and educator, Sean Miller. I am also in collaboration with musician Karina Denike, performing and recording. In addition, I had the honor of participating in the Dennis Gonzalez Tribute Ensemble this year with Dennis' adult children, Aaron and Stefan Gonzalez, Gerard Bendicks, Giaka James, Jon Jackson, Chris Curiel, and Gregg Prickett. I hope we have future plans of recording; that was such a special project to perform together. What’s the song/album about?

Lily: I titled the album Amphora because these are a collection of songs, and I am the vessel that the songs came through in collaboration with producer and musician Black Taffy. An amphora is an ancient vessel used to transport wine and oils on ships. Each song is unique and has its own character, taking the listener on a journey over the course of the album.

What’s something you hope people take away from the new song(s)?

Lily: I hope that listeners can connect with the imagery and melodies in their own personal ways. It's been a thrill to receive such positive feedback around the release of the album these past few weeks. Which songs on the album were the most fun to write and which were the most challenging to write?

Lily: The songwriting process varies. Any method has limitations, which can be the point of using a particular method like choosing a piece of gear to work with, or committing to a particular chord progression, or developing a melody and lyrics. I enjoyed writing "Kepler Wells" and "Ever New" with Black Taffy. "Giant Seals" I wrote a very long time ago. "Slow" was originally written on guitar, which I don't really know how to play. I had to adapt the part for keys to play live and finally recorded it at Elmwood Recording in Oak Cliff.

Do you have any favourite song(s) off the new album?

Lily: There is no way I could choose. I had a hard enough time choosing which songs got music videos!

What’s the new album about?

Lily: There are themes of duality, facing fears, the journey of life, and memories. Each song is a separate sonic journey and together they make a larger arch throughout the album.

Do you have any favourite songs to perform live? Could be your own music or even a cover. Any reason why?

Lily: One of my favorite songs to perform live is "Cliff". I do it a bit differently than what ended up on the album, but it has the same dramatic vibe.

If you could perform a show this very second anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Lily: People are always telling me to tour in Europe, so I suppose a small theater or art space would be a nice fit. I am happy to be performing anywhere where people are interested in listening to my music, and I've been fortunate to have several performance experiences like that across the US.

Is there any particular venue(s) or city/cities that comes to mind?

Lily: I keep trying for Zebulon LA, I would also like to perform at Basilica Hudson in Hudson, NY.

What do you currently have planned for the remainder of the year?

Lily: I'll be performing in San Francisco at The Makeout Room on Sept 24th, and a few other things in the works in both California and Texas. Stay connected on social media or sign up for my email list on my website:

Thanks for the time today. Is there anything else you may want to add before you go?

Lily: Thank you for the opportunity to broaden my reach and for providing a platform for me to dive a little deeper into my story. I hope y'all enjoy the music!

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