INTRO BY SERA SNYDER
INTERVIEW BY CAMI LIBERTY
A top-ten finalist for America’s Got Talent in 2010, Taylor Mathews has wanted to pursue singing his whole life. His first EP, “Head Over Feeling”, debuted in 2013 and made it onto the top 40 iTunes albums chart. His next EP, “Thales”, will be released later this month. Mathews has accrued roughly 38,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and surely his numbers will continue to increase as fans get a listen to his raw, and unapologetic lyrics on “Thales”.
How old were you when you first became interested in music? When did you realize that you wanted it to be your career?
TAYLOR: "Oh man! I truly don’t believe it was ever a choice just something that I woke up and decided on every day. I guess, in a way, that’s something like love. Sometimes we can’t choose who or what we fall in love with and music was one of those things for me. I first started playing drums and then picked up the guitar at age 13 and I’ve been enamored with it ever since."
How would you describe your music for those that haven’t heard it?
TAYLOR: "Based on my previous records people typically pocket me somewhere between Jason Mraz, The Script and Andy Grammer. However, I’ve kind of taken more of a kinship to a more of a soul/singer-songwriter/gospel sound in the last couple years. The records I’ll be releasing next are going to be a great deal more introspective."
You recently released your single “shallowman”, as well as a music video for it. How did the concept for the video come about?
TAYLOR: "Shallowman was, essentially, the birth of a new sound and writing approach for me, it was the first hard look I’ve taken of myself in a song and has really opened my eyes for what I could use music for. It has now become so much more of an honest, difficult and therapeutic representation of my heart and what I struggle with.
The shallowman single and music video is only the first of three music videos and singles to come. It’s the “based on a true story” dialogue between me and the listener."
You also will soon be releasing your next single “Run Like Hell”. Can you tell us a little about the song?
TAYLOR: "Run like hell has been a song in the shadows for me for the past couple years. It only resurfaced when we were talking about this EP. It’s all based around a similar time period and state of mind. You’ll notice that with the opening lines “I’m so good about making me feel so bad [about myself]…” that it’s the common theme of this EP and what’s to come on the full length record. I think truly that’s why we decided to invite this one into the fold, it helps tell a different perspective of my character and struggle. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s a bit more of an anthemic number versus the rest of the songs showcased on the record."
Where do you find most inspiration when creating music?
TAYLOR: "I find a lot of inspiration in the relationship I am in right now. I write a lot of music and, suffice to say, the ugliest bits end up being on my personal artist record, while the more loving material end up on side projects. These songs I’m releasing are probably not the most accurate, final or fair representation of my relationship but I think they’re the most valuable. Each of our failures and shortcomings we have teach us much more than the perfect, happy, warm moments or songs ever will. James Altucher says “Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure” and that’s exactly what I’m hoping to do with my records for myself and for others. I want to be more and more honest with myself and acknowledge the things I want to change."
We also heard that you will be releasing your new EP “Thales” this month. What can we expect from the EP?
TAYLOR: "To be honest, music is so subjective so I have no idea exactly what each person will retain from the EP when it’s released but I do hope that everyone finds truth in it. The scary and exciting part of being an artist/songwriter is that you have practically no control over how people will listen or connect to your music so I’d be foolish to set expectations for myself or anyone who’s listening, they have complete ownership."
Of the songs on the EP, which would you say is your favorite and why?
TAYLOR: "This such a mixed bag because I like them different on different days. However, performance wise, I’ve been loving “It Is What It Is”. The one that seems to connect the most within my friends, family and co-creators is “Someone Else” but that’s another story entirely for why that song is so emotionally charged and connects the way it does."
In the summer of 2016 you completed a fan-songwriting tour where you went across the country to get help from fans on inspiration for your new music. What was this experience like for you?
TAYLOR: "It was so, so, so fun. It obviously took quite a bit of work and planning but I love designing merch and experiences to make people feel unique and special. I have such a heart and focus on being able to connect words and melodies together so I wanted to be able to share that experience in the living rooms of the people that have supported me so far. I think it helps connect you to your listener and vice versa when they get a grasp on how you approach songs and why they become the way they are. It’s definitely a powerful and unifying experience and I would definitely do it again. I really just love being on the road and hanging out with everyone."
How did this process compare to previous ways you write songs? Was it more challenging?
TAYLOR: "I wouldn’t say it was more challenging I would just say it was different. It was more about breaking down the process of writing songs versus actually finishing any songs. Typically it takes several hours to write one song so naturally we couldn’t do that but what I loved about it was that it humanized the creative process. Instead of seeing 1-3 “creatives” in the room that are a part of the “music industry” I got the opportunity to see 10-20 humans and they’re raw, real reactions. That, in itself, was awesome."
Once the EP is out, is there anything else we can expect from you? Any shows?
TAYLOR: "Timelines and goals in the music industry sometimes err on the side of suggestive so I’ll most likely be just as surprised when something is happening as anyone else is! However, we are working towards a full length record that I can’t wait to share and hopefully that leads to a tour! There are a few different thoughts about who would be best to partner up with on the road and I’ll be excited once it all comes to fruition because being on the road is kind of everywhere I want to be right now."