1883 Magazine

We headed to the beach on London’s South Bank to meet the UK’s latest rising star Joe Taylor. After moving from his home town of Leeds to London the singer songwriter kicked off his music career by writing collaborations with the likes of Wilkinson, Karen Harding & Artful Dodger and Dyro & Low Steppa. Joe has since released his debut single ‘Battlefield’.

Before his string of dates in the US and taking to the stage at next week’s The Great Escape in Brighton we caught up with Joe to chat about soul music’s come back, his influences and the meaning behind the track ‘Battlefield’.

First of all, congratulations on the release of your debut single. How does it feel to get all your hard work out there into the world?

It feels really good! It’s all a bit strange right now but its going really well. I’m chuffed with it.

The single has been released through Bakery Boy Music which is a brand new label. Does it feel like you’re both starting the journey together?

It does. My good friend Pearse - who is my manager – it’s his label which he has just started up. It’s all very new and fresh. It’s exciting to be a part of something which is upcoming and new. The music really fits well with his vibe as well so its really cool.

You describe your sound as contemporary soul. What inspired you to mix that modern RnB twist into the sound?

Vocally, I am a soul man through and through. I grew up with Motown and soul music. The idea is obviously how to get that into a really fresh sound. I’ve definitely got a soul vocal through and through and then you add that into the niche pop production. That’s how it came about.

Which artists do you draw influence from the most?

I’m a massive fan of David Ruffin, The Temptations – all the early stuff and I’m really into modern productions too. I’m into a guy called (Grades) at the moment. Big new age pop productions and then I hit the soul side of that as well which I think is a really good mix you know? It’s a bit fresh, it’s a bit cool.

Do you think soulful sounds are making a comeback? You’ve got artists like Rag n Bone man who are very popular at the moment.

I love that whole aspect of this new age of music where you don’t have to be a pristine pretty boy or pretty girl pop group anymore. They’re really bringing in rough, raspy ready – even in the image as well. It’s not about being a beautiful person who sings perfectly. That’s not what music is about to me. It’s really about expression and being yourself. If you want to be rough and ready as well as vocally I think that’s a beautiful thing. I love the fact (soul music) has made a comeback. I think I’ve got the timing just right with that sort of thing.

So does that open up the door to more creative freedom?

Definitely, definitely. You don’t feel boxed into this condensed pop-box. You can explore so many avenues.

Battlefield is a track relating to past relationships. Do you use your own reflections of life to influence your song writing?

One hundred per cent! It’s funny – the best sort of things you come up with in two seconds flat. I can sit there and play by myself for hours and hours as a song writer and it doesn’t really prevail to much. But with Battlefield that came out in five minutes, even the lyrics as well. To me that really says it means something.

For his latest news head and info on The Great Escape to www.facebook.com/JoeTaylorMusician

Interview by Nicky Lee-Delisle

Photography Ferran Verges 

Grooming Lynda Darragh 

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