While not a household name, for three decades Gary Taylor was a sought after songwriter, producer and backing vocalist. More importantly, was been an innovator in the establishment of the the independent soul music movement -- a role model to young artists attempting to establish themselves outside of the world of the major record labels.
Taylor began his recording career with 1983's GT, a solid pop/soul album that featured the mid-tempo cut "Just What I Had In Mind." While the album was not a hit, Taylor showed his talent as both a songwriter and producer, and was soon finding work writing for such artists as Anita Baker ("Good Love"), the Whispers ("Just Gets Better With Time") and Carl Anderson ("I'm No Stranger"). It was five years before he would release his sophomore disc, Compassion, on Virgin Records, which, while not a huge seller, featured the underground hit "Tease Me," which continued to be a fan favorite for years afterward. Taylor's lack of well deserved success on major labels convinced him to pursue his recording career as an independent recording artist -- long before the emergence of the internet allowed independents to reach new levels of acceptance.
Over the next decade and a half Taylor created the template for a successful independent singing career through his half dozen releases on his Morning Crew Records. Known primarily for writing songs of love and relationships, Taylor departed from that mold with his 2006 release Retro Blackness, his most socially charged release that examined African American culture. As Taylor put it, the disc was a "soulful music celebration and heartfelt contemplation of a people and a culture." For a treat, check out the affirming "Lovin' My People" from that album. It and the album are just fantastic, and both were ahead of their time.
Taylor continues to perform live in both the U.S. and Europe. He has also continued writing for other great artists, including Lalah Hathaway, Will Downing, Vanessa Williams and Najee.
By Chris Rizik