Exclusive Interview with Doreen Taylor
Why country music ?
~ Why not? Country music is all about the truth and allowing people to relate to what you are trying to say. Of course, other styles and genres of music do that too, but it seems much more of a dominating characteristic in country music. I grew up in a very rural, farm town outside of Buffalo, NY. I had cows roaming in my backyard when I was a kid so the country lifestyle and music was not foreign to me. I have had a wonderfully successful career in opera, on and off Broadway and even doing my one-woman show in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but nothing makes me happier than what I am doing right now. This is my heart. This is my home and what I was meant to do. Writing my own songs is amazing and being able to have the incredible success that I have had so far is the greatest blessing I could have ever received.
If everything would be possible (waking the dead included) , which two people should sing the ultimate country duet?
~ Marilyn Manson and Tiny Tim. Okay, okay. I guess you want a serious answer, although you have to admit that pairing those two voices together would make for some serious country duet! I could see an ultimate countrified mash-up of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” and the “Beautiful People”. They could call it “Tiptoe Through the People”. Tell me Sony wouldn’t release that?
As a legit answer, I think combining the voices of Kitty Wells and George Strait would have been insane. The styling both of them could have brought to the table would have been pure gold. Who doesn’t want to hear the King and Queen of country music do a duet together? Now THAT is royalty.
What song you ever recorded means the most to you and why?
~ That is one of the most difficult answers people ask me because I write all my own songs. Each one has a special place in my heart and has captured a very intimate moment of my life. Especially on my album “Magic”, every word (except for the cover of “Summertime” we did as a bonus track) was written by me on all 10 original songs so they are all enormously important to me. My song “Perfect For Me” from the album is perhaps one of the most important or influential to my listeners. It is musically strong, but it is the lyrics that have really touched so many people. I wrote that song from a very personal experience and really wanted to get the message out that is it is okay to be imperfect. You don’t need to conform to what others expect of you. Just be yourself, be real and love who you are. That is “Perfect For Me”. I have received so much mail from people who have seen me perform that song live on various television and radio shows across the country telling me how much that song has touched their lives. It was obviously written from a girl’s perspective, but even boys and men have reached out to tell me how much they needed a song like that. That is what music is all about to me. Music shouldn’t be about selling platinum amounts of your album or how much money you earn. It should be about touching someone and for that moment in time, you make a difference to them. That is why that song means so much to me.
Who would you like to write a song for you?
~ I am in love with so many amazing country songwriters, but Dolly Parton can write me a song anytime. Her amazing “I Will Always Love You” is one of the songs that feels like she wrote it for me. I cannot even imagine if she wrote something specifically for me! Wow! Besides, we need more strong female songwriters and support the ones we have in this industry anyway.
If we are talking my favorite songwriters in general, I adore Billy Joel, Elton John, Phil Collins, anybody from the band Journey and of course, one of my favorites of all time, Bon Jovi. I am a sucker for a song with a message, a little unique and a GREAT hook that sticks in your head for days!
What song or recording artists, as a teenager, do you hate to admit (now) that you actually liked?
~ I don’t really have any that I am embarrassed to mention. Although my tastes were ridiculously eclectic, I am the same way now- and to be honest, I still listen to the same music I liked back then. I am an 80’s baby so I LOVE anything having to do with the music from that decade. I also loved alternative groups like Alice in Chains, Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Garbage, Stone Temple Pilots and KMFDM. To this day, that music still speaks to me. I really believe that liking that kind of music has influenced my voice as a singer/songwriter in the industry today. None of them are” embarrassing” so I guess I was just a very cool kid and teenager with great taste! Haha
If you could turn back time to make only one change, what would you change?
~ I’m going to give a “Miss America”-esque kind of answer, but honestly, I wouldn’t change anything. Some of the darkest moments in my life have taught me the most valuable of all my life’s lessons. At the time, they were hell, but looking back, they were also necessary to help shape this journey I am on. Without the taste of failure, I would never be able to appreciate the taste of success. I am really grateful for all that I have gone through—good and bad.
What is the question interviewers never seem to ask you and...you wish they would? (Please provide your answer as well.)
~ Sometimes the questions they SHOULD ask are never the ones they do ask and probably the ones I shouldn’t answer. Most of the time, interviewers will just ask me about my music, my career, my future plans, yadda yadda yadda, but they don’t always ask me a lot about the stuff outside of those things. You know, the stupid little stuff, stuff that really makes me tick. I guess I appreciate that most don’t dive into the recesses of my soul and make me cry like an Oprah special, but most tend to stay away from anything about my personal life, relationships, likes, dislikes- useless info that can actually tell more about a person than the most profound musical question. I guess I really don’t know a specific question that is lacking, so it’s hard to give you a specific answer. I guess on our next interview, you can ask me some of the mundane questions instead. Haha
Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ I’m not into all the bells in whistles that some of the top state of the art facilities have out there. In my opinion, good music can be recorded in your bathroom with a handheld tape recorder. To be perfectly honest, I think a lot of the auto-tune and overly produced doodads engineers do to some artists’ vocals is criminal. It has completely ruined the raw beauty of what music is supposed to be. That isn’t music in my opinion anymore—it is just mass producing a product to sell albums and ultimately make money. Just provide me with some amazing creative and competent people (like I had on my “Magic” album”, a clean smoke-free environment, decent equipment, nice lighting and place to get coffee 24/7 and I am fine. Making an album is about making art- the rest of the stuff isn’t necessary.
Johnny or June ?
~ Wow! That’s like asking me who I like better- my mom or my dad? Haha. It’s tough because it is like comparing apples to oranges. Even though Johnny Cash has this “outlaw” image, he was always trying to do good for others and be a better person. I admire that even in his darkest days when he was trying to self-destruct on drugs, he still found salvation. Musically speaking, I like June Carter’s voice better but no one can dispute Johnny wrote some amazing songs that will transcend time.
Are you still nervous before going on stage and if so, do you use any "rituals" to calm you nerves.
~ I think the day that I am NOT nervous before I go on stage or do any kind of public performance (whether it be a concert or even a television interview) is the day that I will no longer be a good performer. Getting the “butterflies” is all part of the performing process. The adrenaline is essential for me to rev up my engines and give my all but once I take the stage, it all goes away. I tell people a lot of the time that it is like going on auto-pilot. I forget about little ol’ Doreen Lynn who is pacing backstage and become DOREEN TAYLOR who is there to bring the absolute best she can.
I have only one ritual before each and every show. I disappear to some quiet corner and say a prayer. All I ask is that I do the best that I can at that moment and for God to bless what I am about to do. For some reason, as soon as I finish, I feel a sense of calm over my entire body and a feeling that I am ready to take on the world!
What was the most memorable day in your musical career and tell us why.
~ Again, that is SO hard to boil down to one answer. There are so many amazing highlights that I hold very deep in my heart. Winning the “2012 Suggest Artist of the Year Award” from the ‘Song of the Year Songwriting Competition’ for my album was incredible. Being commissioned by the Golden State Pops Orchestra in Los Angeles to write and piece and perform it with a full orchestra was exhilarating. Seeing my new Judgment Day” music video for the first time after director Nayip Ramos had emailed me the final edit and tears were streaming down my face was pretty amazing. The first time someone recognized me on the street and asked for an autograph and the first time I heard my song “Last Call (for alcohol)” being played at the Lonestar Steakhouse while I was randomly eating dinner was surreal.
But honestly, the most memorable day in my music career so far doesn’t have to do with awards, records, money or fame. It has to do with why I write and sing in the first place. Getting my very first fan letter from a little girl who told me how much I have had an influence in her life was the most fulfilling moment of my entire career. She told me that I was her role model and that she really looked up to me. That is what this is all about. If I never sell another album again, so be it. The fact that I was able to make a difference in the life of that little girl is all the payment I will ever need.
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Answers given on january 30, 2013
phots by Bobby Quillard