When Sydney, Australia-turned-L.A.-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Joel Taylor was born, the doctor turned to his mom and asked about his name. “Like Billy Joel? Is he going to be a piano player?” Given his birthright, it’s no surprise the answer to that was in the affirmative. Taylor’s grandfather learned to play boogie-woogie piano from Jerry Lee Lewis, performing with his brothers in Col Joye & the Joy Boys, one of Australia’s very first rock bands in the mid-‘50s, before becoming a noted manager, concert and tour promoter Down Under. Joel learned to play New Orleans stride from his mom – who learned it from her dad -- following in the tradition of Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Dr. John, Ray Charles, Elton John and his namesake. “’New York State of Mind’ was the first song I ever learned to play,” says Taylor, whose father was a cabaret lounge jazz singer that fronted swing bands in the mid-‘70s.
Joel always seems to be caught between his Australian legacy and his adopted home, leaving at the tender age of 18 to seek his fortune in Hollywood, where, again like his idol, plied his trade at local piano bars for a hundred dollars and the contents of a tip jar, interspersing his own originals with standards. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, he rented a room in Echo Park with noted, French, guitar-maker to the stars James Trussart and was constantly surrounded by a consistent cast of musical characters that added to the color of his burgeoning, musical narrative. At any given time, Joel could walk downstairs for his morning coffee and be greeted by the likes of ZZ Top, Jackson Browne, Lianne La Havas, John Oats and Robbie Krieger, John Densmore and Chris Robinson who he later sat in with for The Doors 50th anniversary. After years of absorbing these moments, being a working musician and perfecting his song-writing craft, Joel felt the pull to step out front as an artist and begin his solo career.
We were first introduced to Joel in 2017 when he debuted with his double single Two Sides. His unique blend of American soul music with modern touches driven by his deeply, emotional and soaring voice made his presence known as one of the new and exciting faces in the singer/songwriter world. "Two Sides", a piano driven, energized, ballad shined a spotlight on Joel’s masterful piano-playing while the B-side “What Good Is Love” gave us a beautifully yet heartbreaking, acoustic driven, love song. These “two sides” of Taylor are omnipresent in his work. To follow, Joel released “Give Myself Away” which he co-wrote and produced with Josh Cumbee and Afsheen (Madonna, Galantis, Chris Brown) and was mixed by the legendary Bob Clearmountain. He says that the song lyrically “is about being stuck, caught in a rut, or just really in a phase of transition that seems to take forever. “Musically I think it's a really good mix of a “good old pop song” with some nice modern elements in it. It’s a big soulful song that really lifts in the chorus- I threw every instrument I could play at it...and just saw what stuck!”
Joel’s forthcoming release, “Moment’s Notice” is where as he puts it…” this Aussie, Jewish boy is gonna take ya’ll to church”. Joel describes the song as “a gospel hymn about rebirth” that was inspired by his decision to move to the United States from Sydney a week after graduating high school, leaving behind a tense family environment that drives the story behind the song and it’s Lazarus connotations. The stomp and clap elements of the track powerfully drive the rhythm backed by Joel as a one-man choir to create a dark, southern, gothic yet uplifting feel. The forthcoming video for the song is an emotionally charged story that cuts deep, depicting a family drama in the desert and eventual escape.
Joel is looking towards putting the final touches on his debut EP due out in early 2019 followed by an album in early spring, touring and connecting with new fans through his music. “I’m really excited for my live shows this round, introducing songs and stories to new faces. Now I’m ready to play every hole in the wall and then some in order to share my stories with the masses”.