Adam Taylor is adorable, but he would never admit it.
His dark, unkempt curls and boyish good looks totally belie the wit and wisdom of his music. The young troubadour from Lancaster, PA, is celebrating his 20th birthday by setting off on a road trip with singing partner Kate Young, playing several dates across Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, beginning December 6th at the Ephrata Main Theatre in Ephrata, PA.
"I love traveling," he says. "I write all my songs in the car. I love driving. I love the journey, the adventure."
Taylor claims the likes of Charles Bukowski and Tom Waits as his influences. He is mature and inquisitive for his age, and it shows through his deeply perceptive and observant lyrics. His melodies are deceptively simple--widely influenced by rock, folk, bluegrass, and ragtime.
Taylor's first EP, Play the Piano Drunk, was recorded while he finished his senior year of high school. He covers such topics as media obsession, body image, and raging jealousy, all with a melodic ease that's indicative of his constant effort to be a successful musician.
"The people who are successful are successful not because of their talent. Talent is the icing on the cake. Persistence: that's what breeds success."
Taylor has learned a lot about hard work, especially from his older brother, Chad--a founding member of both LIVE and the Gracious Few. Adam Taylor says the brothers have fun learning from each other and sharing their similar opinions on how a record should be made. Chad Taylor produced both Play the Piano Drunk and Adam's forthcoming LP, due out in March 2011.
"Chad was kind of the first person to give me tough love.... What I learned from him is that... if you want something, if you truly want it, you'll work for it."
Taylor is also quick to note that his success thus far is due to more than just his own hard work and talent. He openly credits his band members--Kate Young, Mike Giblin, Jason Hoffheins, and John Fritchey--with helping him create the sound that is Adam Taylor.
"My band name is my name, you know? I don't want it to be about me. It just so happens that my face is my brand."
Taylor spends a lot of time promoting his brand. He actively posts on his own Facebook wall and engages fans, whom he calls only "friends", about topics ranging from his own music, to short films, to politics. He says it all begins with good content.
"If I create something cool, and you like it, you'll share it. That's what engages people. I try and create conversations."
He began a conversation with his friends in mid-October, about which Christmas songs they liked. In less than a month he announced that his free Christmas gift to them was finished. Taylor says he decided against doing a cover of a Christmas song to avoid being "trite". He released the download of an original track, "Mrs. Mistletoe", as well as a video, at noon EST on November 26th -- Black Friday. He describes his song as "damn catchy". He's absolutely right.
At the end of the video, he asks his audience to make a donation to Lancaster-based Music for Everyone, a non-profit that helps fund music education in schools and in the Lancaster County area.
"Music budgets are being cut everywhere in schools," he explains. "Extra-curricular activities like my middle school jazz band are what made me who I am today. I think music was my very first step to opening my mind, and I think it is for a lot of people. The world's next Bob Dylan is sitting in gym class right now, and I'm not okay with that."
Friends and fans spread the word about "Mrs. Mistletoe" quickly across Facebook. Taylor says he's pleased with the number of downloads so far and is "blown away by the response."
Ultimately Adam Taylor hopes people will listen to his music and share it with their friends. "I want to write the record that people listen to when they've got their friends in the car, shouting every lyric with the windows down."
Adam Taylor (with Kate Young) will be performing with Granville Automatic December 6th through December 14th. For more information on Adam Taylor, or to purchase tickets, visit www.adamtaylormusic.com.
Monday, December 6, 2010 at Ephrata Main Theatre, Ephrata, PA
Tuesday, December 7, 2010 The Pour House Music Hall, Raleigh, NC
Thursday, December 9, 2010 Lexington Brewery, Asheville, NC
Friday, December 10, 2010 Smith's Olde Bar, Atlanta, GA
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 New Faces Night at The Basement @ Grimey's, Nashville, TN