Interview: Doreen Taylor finds new direction musically with 'Happily Ever After'
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Billboard charting adult-contemporary singer and songwriter Doreen Taylor has recently released her sophomore album, Happily Ever After. Produced by well-known producer, Larry Gold, (known for his work with Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Justin Timberlake), her focus with this album is on her wide vocal range, with many elements of pop and soul. Doreen has invested in many endeavors, including degrees in opera and vocal performance, charitable work, and Broadway performances. We chatted with Doreen about the new direction with her music on her new album, her giving back, and much more. 

AXS: You just performed a sold-out album release show in Philadelphia, benefitting the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Congrats! How did that go?

Doreen Taylor: It was a wonderful night all around. We had an incredible crowd all there to celebrate the release of my new album Happily Ever After and we spared no expense to make it an unforgettable night for them! In all my years of professionally performing, I cannot remember a time where there was more love and support in one arena for me. There were many unforgettable highlights during the show, but I think my personal favorite was when I unveiled my new song “Unstoppable”. I had written that song for my good friend, the late great champ, Smokin’ Joe Frazier as a tribute to him and all he had meant to me. I created a beautiful dedication and video montage honoring him at the show (which I kept very secret- only a handful of people knew I was doing it) and Joe’s daughter Weatta and song, Derek were in the audience. It was so moving and received a standing ovation. I will never forget how special that moment was (and will always be) to me.

AXS: Paying it forward is near and dear to your heart. How does it feel to be making a positive change in people's lives?

DT: I have really been blessed in my life with amazing opportunities and I just think it is one of my missions in life to pay those blessings forward to help others. If this world is a little better off after I leave it, then I know that I have lived my life in the best way I can. Being a spokesperson for so many incredible organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs of America, GLAAD, Bullies Keep Out, National Parks Conservation Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, etc has been a wonderfully fulfilling part of my life.

AXS: Did you go in with a vision of how you wanted your sophomore album, Happily Ever After recorded, or was it an entirely different process?

DT: Happily Ever After is a complete departure from my first album Magic. Although Magic was very successful, I had never intended it to have the success it had. I just really wanted to go into the studio and lay down my original songs. I had a few years off between Magic and my new album Happily Ever After and I was able to mature not only a songwriter, but also as a producer and vocalist. The bar was raised exponentially making this new album. I worked with numerous brilliant musicians and arrangers like Randy Bowland and Larry Gold, and we recorded the album in a very old school way; with live musicians, live string players, etc. We were able to capture a great blend of retro and modern musicality and I have been thrilled to officially cross over to the adult contemporary/pop/R&B genre with this new album.

AXS: What was it like working with renowned Larry Gold? 

DT: He is in one word- amazing. To have someone work on your album that has worked with almost every great artist of the past 40 years (Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Aretha Franklin, etc.) is a dream come true. We have developed a really great rapport and we work great together. He brings out the best in my songwriting and I trust his opinion explicitly. I will forever be blessed that he and I were able to make Happily Ever After together.

AXS: You have made several high accomplishments (Broadway, performing, two degrees, etc). Is there anything else you'd like to accomplish?

DT: I have worked so hard professionally over the years that I have really let my social & personal life slack. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great group of people that I really care about, but I would like to start focusing a little more on the personal side of my life. I don’t know if marriage and babies are in my future, but it is something that I am starting to look at a little more seriously now. People always say you can’t have those things in this industry, but I have never been one to say the word “can’t”. I believe I could find an adequate balance to have it all.

AXS: Who was your first concert, and do you have a favorite?

DT: I remember being a kid in middle school and sneaking into a club to see “TOOL” in the 90’s. I had zero business being there at any age, but it was such an incredible experience and I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. Even today I love the Lithium channel on Sirius and the darker sound of the grunge bands of the 90’s. It just spoke to me. I am not sure that show was my favorite musically speaking, but it was definitely my favorite because it had opened up my eyes to a whole new world. I had NO idea on that day that I was going to be doing the same thing someday (just a VERY different musical style! Haha).

AXS: What was your first album on cassette, CD, and/or vinyl?

DT: My first cassette I ever bought myself was “Slippery When Wet” by Bon Jovi when I was in 2 nd grade. It had been out awhile (released in 1986) but it was brand new to me and I loved “You Give Love a Bad Name” so I bought the whole album. That album changed my whole perception of what music was. Up to that point, the coolest tunes I listened to were on the Muppets! Haha.

AXS: Which five bands or albums would you not want to live without?

Thriller by Michael Jackson, any album by the Beatles, Depeche Mode, Lady Gaga ( I am sure I could live without her, but I think she’s pretty amazing) & Phil Collins/Genesis

AXS: What was the last album you played?

DT: No kidding, my own album – Happily Ever After. I guess you probably didn’t want that answer, but that’s the 100% truth.

AXS: Do you have a guilty music or entertainment pleasure?

DT: I really don’t. I am so busy making my mark in the music industry that I have little time to focus on much else, but I guess I can say that I really enjoy watching Corey Feldman do his thing. I am not sure why, but I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next. I don’t know what his whole thing is about- but it intrigues me. I’m rooting for the guy! If nothing else, he really seems to love making music.

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