'Just Perfect For Us'
Doreen Taylor's breakout debut country solo album Magic was released earlier this year and has been touted as a “blend of the late-80’s to early-90’s slow pace country with a touch of the bad-ass girl music that is popular today” by All American Country Music!
With a Masters in Opera Performance, Taylor has played numerous leading roles in various companies on and off Broadway and released three albums before taking the jump into country music and actually wrote all the songs on the album Magic.
Doreen’s music videos, 'Last Call (For Alcohol),' 'Heartbeat' and 'Summertime' landed on the ‘Top 100 Country Official Music Videos of the Week’ chart at the same time!
A proud supporter of the troops, one of Doreen’s latest projects was her book and CD Coming Home consisting of covers and remakes of songs from the 20s, 30s and 40s. Proceeds benefited the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
Chatting recently the lovely Doreen Taylor, I first wondered, being that she had been born in a small town outside of Buffalo, NY, at what age had she been when she had discovered her passion for singing? "I think I always loved music in any form. As long as I can remember I was singing songs or trying to play any instrument I could find. I never really knew exactly what I was doing, I just knew I really loved it and it made me happy. As I got older, I started to learn that making music was my sanctuary and it enabled me to get through a lot of really difficult times. It was the one thing that always was there for me and made me feel special. It didn’t matter what kind of music- I loved and appreciated it all. In my eyes, it was really magical!"
You began singing at a young, very young age with one of your earliest gigs being featured as part of The Spirit of Youth international singing and dancing tour group. But at what age was this and did you actually tour the country with them ie: leave home?! "It wasn’t THAT young," she laughs, "but I guess looking back it was younger than most performers start. I auditioned for ‘Spirit of Youth’ because my best friend wanted me to come with her to keep her company. I ended up landing the gig and being hand selected over hundreds of other high school from New York State. We traveled doing shows in the United States as well as Canada so I guess that made me international, but to me, growing up in near Buffalo, NY, Canada never felt like another country. It just felt like a neighboring town!"
"Because we were still underage, the rules were much stricter so we had overnight trips, etc but I never actually had to leave home. Not at that point anyway. It was such a great experience and really taught me some major fundamentals of what the industry was like. In fact, I really think it helped me when I was cast in the national tour productions of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ ("Christine") and ‘Ragtime’ (“Mother”) several years later."
You received vocal training, a Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance and graduated with honors from the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. Was it then that you knew you had the tools to build yourself a big career in the music business? "To be honest, I never thought about music in terms of business. I just loved music. I loved to perform and I loved to be able to do what I love and maybe make a living at it. That is all I really ever wanted. All the success that I have had has really been overwhelming to me and I don’t even think it has sunk in yet. There is no set formula how to “make it” in the music industry. I just learned as I continued along the path to always do your best and give 100% to everything you do. That is all you really can do in any profession and if you really do that, there isn’t much you can’t achieve."
You even went on to receive a Master's Degree in Opera Performance from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA becoming a Master of Music! My God woman, is there no end to your achievements or want to achieve?! "Haha! That’s so sweet! Well, thank you so much! I’m not sure if you meant this as a rhetorical question, but NO! I don’t think I ever really want to stop finding out where this journey is taking me. Every day is a new surprise and fabulous adventure. I believe we are put on this earth to always challenge ourselves and see how far we can go. I don’t ever want to give up on trying to better myself. I think if I ever got to that point, that would be the saddest day of my entire life."
Talking about achievements, it's been said you are the actual pioneer of country funk! Now that's some tag to be attached to you, but is it 100% true in your eyes, perhaps? "I think country has really changed so much - especially over the past few years and what we think of as today’s “country” really is a mixture of so many different styles of music. I would best sum up my sound as a southern rock style (imagine Lynard Skynard with a modern edge and a powerhouse female singer), but yes."
"I have a great track called 'Baby, C’mon' on my solo debut album Magic where I merged country and funk into this very unique song that grooves out with the best of them. Did I pioneer “country funk”? I’m not sure, but anyone who knows me, knows that I love to be different and I can honestly say that I have never heard another vibe like that out there right now. Listen to the song and you be the judge!!"
Being an award-winning classically trained singer/songwriter you are actually returning to play the second concert of your national tour at the Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia on July 18th. So, please tell us more about why this venue is so special to you "This show was actually an added date to my 2013 national “Magic” tour which kicked off at the World Café Live in Philadelphia on May 23rd. It sold out so we wanted to raise the bar and give a bonus show date to those that loved it the first time and for those that were turned away. The Prince Music Theater really holds a strong emotional place in my heart because it was the stage that I credit as being “discovered” and the venue that inevitably launched my professional performing career. It is humbling to return to that very same stage a few years later as the headliner of my first national tour!"
"I still pinch myself to see if I am dreaming! For this special concert, we designed an audience interactive production that truly embodies the title of “Magic” by showcasing its grandeur with sexy female dancers, special effects and lighting, a 12-piece band and plenty more surprises – all delivered with a little bit of country, a lot of rock ‘n’ roll, and a Vegas flair. I wanted to make it very special and it’s really a beautiful show."
Your debut album, Unbreakable (2006) was actually a mix of techno/dance and modern, upbeat love songs! Nothing to do with the music you have recognition for now. So was Unbreakable's music your idea or the marketing company/machine behind it? "Everyone has to start somewhere in this industry and sometimes it takes a few hits and misses to get to where you really need to be. Unbreakable was just that for me. It was a great way to get my feet wet in the industry and allowed me to get my chance at songwriting for the first time on a mainstream project."
"But yes, it is VERY different than where I inevitably ended up in my musical journey. I was so young and I really learned a lot from the whole experience. It was still a very great product, but totally unlike the authentic voice I have carved for myself in the musical world now."
Three albums later and your latest, Magic was hailed as "a blend of the late-80s to early-90s slow pace country with a touch of the bad-ass girl music that is popular today"! Phew, but if you yourself had to shorten that and sum it up what seven (7) words would you use? "Eclectic, unique, organic, high-energy, authentic, timeless album."
Some of the song titles on Magic come across very personal re: 'Last Call (For Alcohol),' 'Heartbeat,' and even 'Summertime.' So if you can take a moment, which one track encapsulates the real you perfectly, and why? "I think all the songs on my album truly encapsulate me since I wrote every word of every song - except for my remake version of Porgy and Bess’ 'Summertime' - but if I had to pick one or two that really allow the listener into the deepest depths of my soul, I would say that it is a tie between 'Another Rainy Night In Memphis' and 'Perfect For Me'."
"Both of these songs are very personal to me and I really allowed myself to pour out my innermost feelings. They are the best representation of my soul that you can see on the album and I really hoped that by writing and recording these songs, I could perhaps touch others with my words and music."
And it's been told you have even written a book, with all proceeds benefitting the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. That's great, but do please tell us more about a) the book and b) the Foundation "I didn’t write it, per se. It was a very special project called “Coming Home” that was released a few years ago. I wanted to create something very special and unique to bring recognition to our men and women who serve and also allow me to help raise money to help the SOWF. I came up with a very creative idea of merging two of my talents (modeling and singing) and made a coffee table style, 32 page book of recreations of the best pin-up from the WWII era (I posed in all of them) and also gave a bonus album where I performed 19 of the best songs from that era."
"It was wildly popular and really helped launch the career that I have been so blessed to have today. It was great that I got recognition from making this project, but at the end of the day, I was just so happy that I could help others and really pay it forward. That is what it is all about in my mind."
OK, as we head into the final bend here, let's find out more about you in the Fun Five! What is your ...
a) ... favorite late night snack? - "I try really hard not to snack at night but if I ever want to indulge, I go for salty—not sweet. I love Salt and Vinegar Pringles and I think I could live on them solely for the rest of my life!!"
b) ... favorite alcoholic beverage? - "I’m a martini girl — you can never go wrong with a good Cosmo, but I always love to mix it up. I don’t have a signature drink. I get bored very fast. Anything with Raspberry in it goes straight to my heart ... and head!! Of course, a good bottle of champagne ain’t too bad either!"
c) ... favorite go-to movie when having the time to watch something? - "Have the time to watch something? Who has time??!," she laughs. "I love a good action or horror/suspense movie. I’m definitely not a girly-girl when it comes to what I watch. It is going to sound silly, but the movie that holds the record for me watching it the most amount of times is 'Die Hard.' I just love that movie! Yippee ki-yay!!"
d) ... worst bad habit? - "Biting my nails! That is one thing that I can never seem to stop no matter how old I get. I force myself to get the fake nails just so it can maybe stop me from biting, but I still find a way to even bite them!"
e) ... favorite album to crank up when you want to get crazy happy? - "I love any hard pumping, EDM dance hit by greats like Cazzette ('Beam Me Up'), Skrillex, David Guetta or Krewella, etc. But if I really just want to have simple, fun music with a good beat—how can you go wrong with greats like Madonna, Britney Spears and Pink, etc? They will always get me up dancing!"
And throwing you a journalistic curve ball, we here at Exclusive Magazine love Penguins (the birds) ... do you and/or do you have a story about one, perhaps? "Blue Footed Boobies—need I say more??"
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
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