Tuesday, March 18

Q&A With Country Music Star Doreen Taylor

What's it like to sing a national anthem? Well, I have no clue, but award-winning songstress Doreen Taylor has a pretty good idea. After all, she's penned the anthem for the National Parks Conservation Association's Salute to the Parks Gala, and will perform it at the event on Wednesday, April 9 in Washington, D.C. The song, called "Colors of the U.S.A.", will be available for download at www.colorsoftheusa.org beginning on Friday, April 11 at midnight EST. I spoke with Doreen about this once in a lifetime opportunity.

A Hot Cup Of Joey: Talk about how this whole thing got started.

Doreen Taylor: It's been well over a year in the making. I was home in Buffalo doing a media tour, recording a radio show. The host and I get to talking about the preservation of land. I'm very big on that and preserving history. The host asked to talk to me off the record and eventually introduced me to a friend of hers. I had no idea of the magnitude of what I was doing, and all of a sudden, here I am talking to the execs at the NPCA. With the centennial coming up, I said, "let's do a song." I never turn down the opportunity for anything. I'm always listening. That's my advice to new artists: take any opportunity. You never know what it could turn into.

AHCJ: What's your creative process in writing a song? How was this anthem different?
DT: The release of [my most recent album] Magic happens to fall on the same date as the launch of this Parks song. During the recording of Magic, I loved letting it out, just writing and spending a lot of time in the studio. I was writing a song a day at one point. I've been a songwriter my whole life, and I had material that I brought in with me. But I started working and being ultra-creative and recorded everything brand new. There's none of the material on there that I originally brought in.

For this anthem, I had a hook in my head, a very simple thing. I thought that it had to be more complex than that, so I kept spending time trying to rework it. But I didn't have to–when you marry the music with the lyrics, that's when you know it's the one. I don't want to jinx it, but I really think this is my best work. I collaborated with [producer/arranger] Larry Gold, and honestly, he had so many platinum and gold records hanging up on the wall, I thought I'd pass out from the shine. It was incredible.

AHCJ: How has your opera and Broadway background helped your music career?
DT: I credit Philly for starting my career. I was chosen to sing in The Phantom of the Opera, at an amazing event that was all for charity. I was discovered there and had a private 1-on-1 experience with the master conductor, and it really started my career on Broadway. I gave it my best on that tiny stage, not knowing who was in the audience, and it opened up so many doors for me. In this business, a lot of it is who you know. Yes, you have to have talent, too. But as my career goes on, the talent part is almost second-nature. That's why I take advantage of every opportunity I get. Having a hand in so many hats is important.

AHCJ: You have a very cool bond with your fanbase. Talk about the importance of maintaining a good relationship with your fans.
DT: With my music, I love having control and being able to say that, sink or swim, I did it. It's something I put out there and gave it my all. Now, I have a really great staff, so it's a little easier to let go. And I have people that really care; that's why I'm succeeding. I just want to touch people, and this song is such a good cause. It's a wonderful opportunity to spread the word.

However, the interaction with fans is something I would never give up. You see other musicians "responding" to fans but it's a pretty obvious it's just a PR firm or publicist writing for them. Fans are like an army that fights for you. It might take me awhile to do it, but I answer everything I get on social media, and I've met so many wonderful people through it. When I tour, it's so great to finally see a fan you've interacted with, and get a hug from them and hang out. They're my supporters and I love giving back.

AHCJ: What's your favorite national park?
DT: I love history and I love what America has done: things like the Liberty Bell and Alcatraz are considered national parks. But nothing has surpassed what God has made. My family would go on two trips a year–it was exactly like National Lampoon's Vacation. It was always amazing, visiting all sorts of these natural creations...standing in front of Yellowstone and just seeing all that openness in front of you. We were fighting the whole way, but it was a tremendous bonding experience. A lot of the things we did as a family come through in the song. It's the ultimate art.

No comments:

Post a Comment