Caleb Taylor Takes Things One Note At A Time
Written by Vocalo Radio on September 7, 2021
Originally from Danville, Ill., Chicago-based soul singer Caleb Taylor is the epitome of a self-made artist.
As a vocalist, Taylor possess remarkable range and power; as a guitarist, he consistently crafts luscious instrumentals and grooving solos. Having taught himself how to sing, produce, play guitar, bass, drums and piano, Taylor is pretty big on self-reliance and encourages others to look inward to find their true calling.
Taylor’s hard work shows, and listeners have noticed. His track “Favorite Time of Day,” released in September 2018 on his third album Afford It, has over 14,700 plays on Spotify. He’s also been featured on Vocalo’s In Rotation playlist on four separate occasions — most recently, with his single “Want & Need” in August 2021.
We caught up with the Caleb Taylor about his musical history, new projects and the ideologies driving his art.
For how long have you been playing guitar? What got you into the instrument?
I’ve been playing guitar for eight years now. I was a writer first and started on piano, so I started a band with two guitar players. I noticed the songs I wrote with guitar were more catchy and that I could catch more things by ear on guitar, so I switched to focusing on it because it was more natural.
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue songwriting?
I started songwriting right out of the gate because I had a lot to say but wasn’t one to really talk about my problems with friends, so before I was really confident in my singing voice I was confident in my pen game.
Tell us about a moment in your musical history where you felt particularly proud of an accomplishment.
A man once told me my song “Dear Dad” had him crying in his car, so he stopped and called his dad who he hadn’t talked to in a while. He thanked me for giving him the courage through the song.
Your social media accounts include videos showing your songwriting and recording process. What motivated you to give followers these behind-the-scenes glimpses?
To be honest, I just realized not too many people have the talents I have, so when I’m famous I want people to know that I always had these talents, and no one is writing my hits or making me a star because stars aren’t made, they are found. The universe was created once.
Tell us about your single “Want & Need.” What was your inspiration for writing it?
The concept really came from the constant situation of being with women I wanted — attractive as ever to me — or women that I needed — good for me — but never both, so I realized I wanted to be that, [be both] for someone. I wrote the hook and beat and had the concept for some time, like maybe nine months. Then I had a few writing sessions to finish the first verse, so me and Amon Fuller, aka Dante, knocked it [out] over Facebook live. He’s a day-one collaborator, so the chemistry [that’s] there makes things easy.
Honestly that experience can’t be put into words. All I will say is I knew I was there doing something bigger than just me, and that is powerful. Rhyan is really doing someone special over at Red Guerilla, and KC Wavey is one of the most talented artist/writers I’ve ever heard, met or worked with.
You posted on Instagram recently your album is completed. Do you have an intended release date?
No release date yet. The listening party is Sept. 23. We’ve got 40 tickets, and I will [be] dropping the EP that day. Four tracks from the album will be on there, and I will be playing tons of unreleased songs that will be released throughout the rest of the year.
What can fans expect this project to be like?
You can expect guitars and falsetto like you’ve never heard them. That’s the entire focus of the sound for the album.
What’s the most ideal setting to listen to your upcoming album in?
It’s great to cook to. That’s how I love to the listen to music!
What’s one thing you hope listeners will take away from this project?
Just how much you can make from a little.
How has living in Chicago shaped you as a musician?
It’s made me focus more on myself instead of collaboration mainly because there’s so much sharing of ideas, at times it’s easy to get lost in what everyone else is doing, and you forget what your ideas are like and how they feel and how to be confident in them.
What is your favorite aspect of the city? Least favorite?
I hate parking, bro. First thing Ima holla at somebody about when I’m famous. Favorite thing is all the food spots.
What album or artist have you had on repeat lately? What do you like about it/them?
Your Spotify bio is just the quote from essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, “That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. Every good man is unique.” What does this quote mean to you? How, if applicable, do you strive to exemplify this ideal of self-reliance and avoiding imitation?
This quote means, “Bro you don’t [have] nobody but you and God, and that’s on Gawd.” I taught myself how to play guitar, bass, drums, piano, how to sing, engineer, produce — but only because I was passionate and I was drawn to it, which is the unique part. What genuinely [piques] your interest normally ends up being that thing you’re just good at naturally without trying. That’s your gift. If you follow your gift [and] everything that encompasses, it will unfold for you because it was made for you to use anyways! It just shows how important pursuing purpose [and] self reliance is. [It’s] natural when you’re in that lane because you realize you have everything you need.
Who is one musicians you see these ideals in?
If you could go back in time and give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be and why?
Power is overrated, control is key. One note at a time.
What has given you hope through the challenges that have come with the past year?
Music and family. Above all, God.
Anything else you want to share?
I’m getting a neck tattoo of the album name, so this really needs to work or I’m gonna be answering the same question for years to come!
Interview edited for length and clarity by Erik Anderson & Morgan Ciocca
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