Kit Taylor is a multiple indie-award winning pianist and songwriter currently based out of Portland Oregon. Kit has studied under great names like Nashville songwriter Craig Carothers (Trisha Yearwood), platinum-certified songwriter Marv Ross (Quarterflash, Geffen Records, "Harden My Heart"), engineer and producer Bob Stark (Esperanza Spalding, Pink Martini, worked on three Grammy™ award winning albums), and many more. He has been nominated for several different independent songwriter awards including two John Lennon Songwriting Contest Nominations. It is Kit’s dream to one day write music for Disney™.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music?
I've been writing music since age 12, but several things happened that prompted this full-on dive into the music industry. One was finally realizing what I wanted to do, which was be a songwriter for Disney. I will spend the rest of my life trying to achieve that goal. I love everything about their films and music. Number two was the death of my Father in early 2016. He loved my music, and I know he is watching and proud of the work I'm doing. And around that same time I got my heart broken pretty severely. I'm still fighting my way out of that pain, and it influenced many of the tracks on this debut album. Both of those experiences are why it's called "Love + Pain".
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Lol this is a tough one. I've had quite a few. One crazy thing would be getting to work with Jennifer Batten, the guitarist for Michael Jackson, my all-time musical idol. If not for MJ, it's quite possible I wouldn't even be doing music for a living. Winning my first songwriting award in 2008 was pretty surreal, considering the number of applicants (50,000 +). Other than that, I haven't had a lot of crazy, crazy things happen. I'm a pretty chill guy, a homebody. I just want to work hard, write music, and hopefully make money doing it.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Definitely seeing this album come to light. I always used to tell people, "I could write a beautiful hit album if I wanted to!" but never really 'got around to it'. I struggled with some laziness when I was younger, but I've finally grown out of that, and now just work nonstop. Seeing talents I knew existed come to fruition has been incredible. Of course I couldn't do it without my producer, mentor and friend Bob Stark, and a few other close friends that have supported me no matter what, you know who you are.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
It varies. I have dreamt songs and woke up at 3AM to write them. I have watched a TV show and been inspired by an idea that I turned into a song. Or heard a chord progression that I tweaked and turned into a song. It's really up in the air. One common thread is that if a song is a keeper, it comes to me within seconds or minutes. If I have to work for more than 30 minutes at coming up with a verse/chorus, I know it's not working.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
I'm so glad you asked this question. It is brutal out there. I truly believe my music is on par with the best stuff you hear on the radio and the best stuff put out by Disney. But every indie-artist thinks that!! So setting yourself apart is the biggest issue. Also, Adult Contemporary music is not the biggest seller, aside from Disney, which is why they are who I'm focusing on. Without sounding like a music snob, contending with the sheer abundance of mediocre music that artists don't spend a lot of time on is the biggest issue. When Spotify and YouTube receive hundreds of thousands of uploads a day, how can any artist expect to stand apart? I mean, when the song "Time To Say Goodbye" that I co-wrote with Marv Ross (who sold a million records with Quarterflash) has 134 views on YouTube, there is a problem. That's an issue I'm still working through. I spend hours and hours a day writing and tweaking and trying to get better, and I will do so for the rest of my life. So when I see artists churn out crappy sounding singles every week, it gets under my skin. Sorry to get on the soapbox.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
It would have been Michael Jackson, may he RIP. But I would say Michael Bolton. To be his pianist, or to have him record one of my songs, would be an absolute dream. For whatever reason, he is made fun of by jazz and music snobs everywhere. I don't know, maybe it's the incredible voice and handsome and charismatic demeanor that people don't like? I'm not really sure, but I'm a huge fan, and I know he's laughing all the way to the bank.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
I don't play out a lot being mainly a songwriter. But on the occasion when I do put together a show, I expect musicians to come prepared. If I have to do a rehearsal, there is only one, and the musicians have the music ahead of time. If they don't have their stuff together, they are out. I have charts and tracks, and I expect players I hire to come with it learned. As far as preparing to play keys for someone else... it's practice, practice, practice, until the music has become second nature. When I accompanied Shoshana Bean (Broadway) in 2013, I took a week off work and practiced 8 hours a day. That was some of the hardest music I've ever played. "The Wizard And I" has like 7 key changes lol.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
I would say "Half A Man". This is it's third iteration, and hopefully the one that sticks. The chorus has stayed the same all the way, but the hook has switched from bass, to guitar, and back to bass. In 2010 we recorded basic tracks for the tune, but it got shelved. I then joined a band called Safire, and we released it as a single with new lyrics in the verses and with guitar as the lead instrument. Now finally for this album, Bob Stark put together a brilliant track, and we got Madonna's songwriter and guitarist, David Torn, to lay some parts down and do a solo. It's pretty phenomenal.
What's coming up in the future?
Just a hell of a lot of promotion and trying to meet the right people. Or trying to figure out who those people are. Everyone knows my dream, it's just a matter of getting them to listen to and like my music. If you put me in a room tomorrow with Max Martin, we could deliver you 10 hits in a day. If you asked me to write you a soundtrack for a Disney movie, ala Elton John or Phil Collins, I'd have it done in three months. So trying to get out of my shell and find people who believe in me is the next step.
Tell us where fans can access your music.
Firstly, my website, www.kittaylor.net. They can get news updates, plus download the tracks directly, and the profits go to me, instead of a percentage going to whomever. Also, a couple others below: Spotify iTunes