Posted On 07 Oct 2016
Meet the NY-based Pop Singer/Songwriter Stewart Taylor! He recently released his debut EP following the release of his breakout single “Liberation.”
After performing several years in the underground Boston and New York club scene, Stewart released his aptly title six-song EP, “Underground.” Produced by up-and-coming producers Chris Leon (Justin Timberlake, Wiz Khalifa, Matthew Koma) Drew of the Drew (Brayton Bowman), and Ben Camp (Tove Lo), the EP is a taste of what Pop/R&B music sounds like in today’s New York underground music scene while effortlessly blending an urban edge within the music and balancing Stewart’s pop roots.
An accurate representation of where Stewart Taylor is and has been in his life, Underground is a musical autobiography of love, sex, heartbreak, and self-acceptance. Having been through hardships over the past year and overcoming adversity and rooted in the self-empowerment of coming to grips with oneself, which Stewart’s songwriting definitely reflects upon that. Where Acrobatic and Sex/Weapon work off of the playful side of Stewart, he also interjects the EP with the LGBT pop-anthem Unforgiven and More, as well as the heart wrenching break-up ballad of Withdrawal.
As an active voice within the LGBT community, where his coming out story was featuring in the New York Times bestseller, It Get Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living.
Follow Stewart Online Here:
Learn more about Stewart in the following All Access interview here:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are entering the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for you and your music?
Growth and chaos come to mind if I’d have to describe this year. Life in New York City is every bit as electric and crazy as I always heard about, and if you’re finishing a record like I was, it makes for an even crazier experience. I think I’ve always thrived on chaos when it comes to writing and making music though, so I can’t say that it’s been a bad thing. It’s just been lots of writing, recording sessions, rehearsals, shows and gigs in nightlife to fund everything.
The main highlight of this year was getting my new EP Underground out this past August. I spent over a year working on it and crafting the sound with my co-writers and producers. There’s no better feeling than finally getting to share your music with the world and seeing people connect with your message. The live shows I did at Pianos and The Bitter End in support of the EP were definitely highlights for me as well.
There was never a time when I didn’t want to be a performer or a musician growing up. I was drawn to art and music at a very young age, and I can remember singing to myself and coming up with my own songs as early as four years old. If I wasn’t writing songs and recording them in a cheap cassette recorder, I was doing musicals at school and theater camps every summer. Sometimes you get a calling very early on in life, and I was lucky enough to get mine when I did.
What was it like finally releasing your debut EP, “Underground”? How did you get to work with the producers Chris Leon, Drew of the Drew and Ben Camp?
It was incredible to finally release my first proper EP, Underground. I scrapped nearly an entire EP last year because it just wasn’t cohesive enough. I was still at Berklee College of Music trying to graduate and figure out my sound, and other than my first single Liberation, the EP as a whole wasn’t going in the direction that I wanted. So I moved to New York last August to work with new producers and dove further into the writing process.
Now I finally have a body of work to stand behind that I’m proud of and that I feel best represents who I am. I met all of my current producers Chris Leon, Ben Camp and Drew of the Drew through different co-writers of mine in my Berklee circle. We hit it off after being introduced to each other, enough for me to move from Boston to New York to work with them all year!
Can you talk about putting this collection together? Where did the inspiration for it come from?
I always write from a very autobiographical place, so the inspiration for this EP came directly from my relationships and what was going on in my life at the time. I definitely got my heart broken over the past few years and have overcome a lot of adversity as an openly gay man and artist, so this record is a pretty accurate representation of where I’m at in terms of love, sex, heartbreak and self-acceptance.
What was it like sharing your coming out story with the New York Times bestseller “It Get Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying and Creating a Life Worth Living”?
It was very nerve-wracking but ultimately very empowering to get to share my coming out story in the “It Gets Better” book and campaign. My voice teacher approached me about being in the book after watching me come into my own as a teenager and embracing my sexuality. The entire campaign was an attempt to show young people in the LGBTQ community that life CAN and WILL get better if you don’t give up.
I was heavily bullied all throughout my childhood and teenage life for being a singer and for being gay, and almost got kicked out of my own house as a kid for being gay. But I didn’t give up. I kept singing, I kept writing, I got into music school and made great friends and relationships by carrying on and being myself. Sharing my story made me feel very vulnerable at first, but it was absolutely worth it. The book became a New York Times Best Seller, and kids all over the world have reached out to me since its release to tell me how much my story and my music have helped them. That’s the most rewarding part of what I do.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
My favorite artists are Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Christina Aguilera, and Lady GaGa. These artists have had a profound impact on me on a personal and musical level. Prince, MJ and Xtina inspired me to start dancing and are the main reason why my voice has an R&B edge. My Mom’s best friend listened to a lot of Madonna when I was a kid and I’ve been a fanatic ever since she made me my first mixtape. Then when Lady GaGa came onto the scene almost a decade ago, I felt like there was finally a modern-day artist who understood me and said what I wanted to say. All of these artists empowered me and made me proud to be different. I emulated all of them throughout my childhood and they’re still a huge source of inspiration to me.
Needless to say, I’d love to work with someone like GaGa in the future and open for her on tour. Hey, a boy can dream!
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you unwind from it all?
When I’m not performing or working in the studio, I love to go out and see my friends perform on the Lower East Side. I never stay very far away from nightlife or the creative scene, and I love sitting back with a drink and watching talented people do their thing. It keeps me inspired.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
The message of my music is to be who you are, live the way you live, and to never let anyone else’s prejudice or judgement stand in your way. My life has always been about overcoming some kind of struggle and becoming stronger because of it. Whether or not it’s getting through a bad breakup, depression, or learning to accept who you are, I’ve been there. I hope my music empowers people in those moments and reminds them that they’re not alone.