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Ghost Canyon

Brianna Taylor Brianna Taylor

'She’ll Have You Seeing Fireworks’

After bursting into the Hollywood limelight as a housemate on MTV’s successful Real World series, Brianna Taylor has used her reality television notoriety to make a foray into music. With the release of her sophomore album, Fireworks at the Fairground, Brianna Taylor shines through as a true talent with tracks that range from the soulful and radio-friendly single ‘Criminal’ to the tuneful alternapop track ‘Today is the Day’, where Taylor channels the likeness of Nelly Furtado circa ‘Whoa Nelly!’.

In the deep space of pop music, it is the highly confessional lyrics, solid pop-rock melodies and Taylor’s dynamic and compelling vocals that take Fireworks at the Fairground from shining star to explosive supernova.

Exclusive Magazine recently caught up with Brianna Taylor during her busy schedule promoting both the new album release and her starring role on the new Real World - Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins series.

Your music has it’s roots in pop and R & B. Who were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? "Growing up I had alot of jazz and gospel influences in my life. Artists such as Kirk Franklin, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, etc. definitely attribute to my sound today. I definitely have a huge soulful background so, what better way to appreciate it than including it in my music?"

You just released your new album “Fireworks at the Fairgrounds” in October. As an up-and-coming artist, how would you describe the sound and style of your music? "It’s a pop style album with a definite soulful foundation. It incorporates a new style of hip-hop, and has a few soul-rock alternative songs."

Obviously, MTV has been a huge part of your life in the spotlight after your appearance on The Real World: Hollywood. Tell us a little more about this experience and what it has meant for your successful transition from reality star to recording artist. "The Real World was an awesome opportunity for me to show the talent I posses. I learned so much about myself while filming. I met alot of amazing people that have molded me as an individual and as an artist."

Before starring in the Real World you also auditioned for American Idol: Season Five and made it into the top 44 before being eliminated. How did this disappointing outcome effect your dreams of pursuing a career in music? "When I got eliminated I told myself that I'd never sing again! Obviously I was just a little ticked off. The same day I was in Johnny Rockets with my mom and friends singing to the juke box. Our server told me that I should do American Idol! Needless to say, I started crying again."

Your first single, “Summertime”, off your self-titled EP peaked as the 16th most purchased album on iTunes and sold over 60,000 copies. How did the success of the single influence your career to this point? "It's a tough road. It makes me happy because I can tell my children someday of all the experiences I've had. I've had doors opened and slammed in my face but it still will never stop me. I've been blessed with a gift and if I can share that gift with the world then I've done my job!"

You’re participating in the new season of The Real World - Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins which premiered September 30, 2009. What can we expect for this up-coming season? "A whole lot of drama. HA! What else is new?! It’s the stuff that nobody really cares about on the outside but because these people are characters it makes it so much more worth-while. I mean the only love triangle that I actually care about definitely does not include Johanna, Wes and Kenny....thank GOD."

How easy or hard is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderments and accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "Every artist wants to create something new. They all want to be the originators of a new sound. It’s definitely tough to do! Aside from creating a new sound, you have to be sure that your audience will accept it. We're a world full of critics and the ones at the top of it are the worst of them all; and the have the right to be! These people put millions of dollars into publicity for an artist so if they know their stuff won't sell, then they won't invest. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and everyone is trying to be the top dog!"

You’ve spoken at length about your own experiences with domestic violence and drug abuse. How do you think your celebrity status can be used to bring attention to these issues and do you plan on participating in any advocacy work regarding these circumstances? "In high school I used to help out at A Woman's Place shelter. My mother raised my sister and I in a strong feminist environment. We've always believed what a man can do I can do just as well or better. I want to make sure that all women know this. I've always stuck behind my "sisters" and even after the Real World I try to be an advocate for women's rights and over-all well being. As far as drug abuse I have a few friends that are struggling right now so I go with them to meetings and share my own experiences."

Your Myspace page has over 40,000 friends and your new single “Criminal” has almost 70,000 plays alone. How do you think the internet and social networking sites such as Myspace have helped to boost your popularity with fans? "I definitely believe so. The internet is such a powerful device. Its astounding what you can find! It gives my fans an opportunity to actually communicate with me! I live in Philadelphia so its definitely heart warming when I have someone message me from Italy or Germany! Who knows when I'll be there!"

If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today and why? "Well, on my album I did a re-make of The Waitresses "I Know What Boy's Like." That's an awesome song! Not from the 80's though! I'd have to say anything from Madonna!She's one of my idols!"

Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins, do you? "Penguins are super cute!!!! But definitely NOT if they're from Pittsburgh!! YEAH FLYERS!!!! haha!"

Be sure to check out Brianna Taylor’s music on the web, available for download on iTunes, and watch The Ruins on MTV!

Interviewed by: Erin M. Stranyak

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