I recently got a chance to interview Taylor John Williams from season 7 of The Voice. This Oregon native currently resides in Portland, so I had the pleasure of interviewing him in person. Read the whole interview after the jump!
He recently released a new original song called “Castles” which you can check out on Youtube. Let us know your thoughts on that below. Also, if you live in the Portland Area and are over 21, catch him at the Douglas Fir Lounge on March 11. You can buy tickets here.
If you had to choose an audition song that was released since your audition, what would you have chosen and why?
TJW: Boy, that’s tough. I think I would have liked to do “Take Me To Church,” I don’t think it had been released at that point. I wanted to do that song really bad, and actually requested for it. But Adam, I guess, had decided, just after Matt McAndrew’s blind. [Adam] had met Bono at some party and Bono showed him the song, and he had been like, that song, he’s gonna do that song. Which is cool, it’s great for him. I think that would have…that is the answer to your question.
Coming from LA to Portland I noticed some things such as how accepting people are and the fact that your transportation is incredible. What, from a Portland perspective, did you notice about LA?
TJW: That I missed the quality of living a lot. I missed the water and the air, and just sort of the things that make Portland just feel healthy to be in. Yeah, that was the biggest thing for me.
Was being around the celebrity culture really weird?
TJW: It was. I kind of learned really quickly how much they are like everyone else. Ya know? Just sorta normal people that happen to be in extraordinary situations. Yeah, I got used to it pretty quick.
At Infectious we have a thing called “The Growing Up Playlist” which is, for us, ten artists that helped us grow up. What are 2-5 artists that helped you grow up or were part of your growing up?
TJW: Hm. I would say there are certain artists who have shown me how incredible it can be to really let yourself be free on stage, emotionally and physically and I like Jeff Buckley a lot. Watching him was so mesmerizing. Do whatever he wanted with his voice and he had this very kinda controlled freedom which is really inspiring to me. And, another person for that answer is an Irish folk singer [Glen Hansard]. He was in the movie “Once” and kinda for the same reasons, he had this raw passion and energy on stage which came through in his music and his song writing. Yeah, among a lot of other people, but those are two prominent ones.
What is your favorite concert? And it can’t be one you performed in.
TJW: Probably when I saw The Swell Season which is a band that Glen Hansard’s is a part of, was a part of. At the Crystal Ballroom probably…four years ago. I was right up on the stage. It was the first time that I’d ever seen him live and that was, that was crazy.
What’s one lesson, either musical or personal that you learned from one of the judges or the other contestants?
TJW: I think to sing and perform with a lot of intention. I think I always have emotionally, I’ve always been able to put kind of how I’m feeling into a song, but there’s this certain level of intention and urgency, I think, that I never really practiced until I was on the show. And they say that the camera kinda shaves off 20% of however much energy you think you’re putting into a performance. I didn’t really realize that till I watched myself back.
If you could open for any artist who would you want to open for, and on the flip side who do you want to open for you on your first North American Tour? And it can be anyone dead or alive or someone who’s completely unknown.
TJW: Holy Crap. Well, just because, just for hilarity’s sake, I would want Beyoncé to open for me, cause that would just be, that would be ridiculous.
IM: That’s wonderful
TJW: And then, I don’t know, I think it would be kinda cool to open up for a hip-hop band. Like I think it would be cool to open up for like, Mos Def just because, because it would be so strange and so, obviously, I like the headliner. It could be a cool, and I just want to hang out with them.
IM: You’re music is not very hip hop. That would be a really interesting contrast.
TJW: I really heavily grew up listening to a ton of hip hop and you wouldn’t guess it hearing my music, but there’s a lot of influence there. With the way I structure songs and the way I structure lyrics. There’s a definite hip hop influence.
IM: Hm, I’ll have to look for that.
If anyone in the entire music world dead or alive could have been your coach who would you have wanted and why? And it can’t be Gwen, Blake, Adam or Pharrell.
TJW: Hm…these dead or alive questions…man that’s tough. Freddy Mercury, I think he would have been a killer vocal coach.
And who do you want to coach of? Is there an unknown artist or someone that you would be able to shape and teach them the ways?
TJW: An unknown artist? I don’t know, I wouldn’t know them. Gosh I have no idea. I wouldn’t know how to answer that.
IM: Get back to me on that.
TJW: Alright, I’ll get back to you on that.
What is one suggestion you would have for anyone who wants to audition in the future?
TJW: I would say make sure that this is what you really love, that music is what you really love because it requires everything that you have. Especially once you’re in the spotlight, once you have a fanbase and they want to keep seeing more, if you start to realize that it’s not what you want to do, it can be a scary place to be because you feel this obligation to keep going with something that your heart isn’t into. But if you do love it, it can be great, just sorta trust your, trust your instincts.
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