On October 20th, Taylor Barton will be releasing her album Spiritual Gangster. In this interview with the singer songwriter, Barton tells Baeble a bit about the origins of the release, the inspirations behind it, and her aspirations for the future. - David Pitz
Chances are you have heard, met, or worked with Taylor Barton: a smart, multi-talented, singer-songwriter, writer, playwright, poet, dancer, and producer. She has spent over three decades traversing the arts and culminated into a 21st century Renaissance woman. Born in Baltimore, Maryland she started her musical training with piano lessons at age six. She enrolled in the Peabody Institute at age thirteen where she studied dance until her high school graduation. Music and lyrics were always her passion and while frequenting the local bars in Fells Point (home of Homicide filming) she was fascinated and inspired by her hometown heroes, Tom Waits, Lowell George, and John Waters. Moving to NYC she carved out a career with her intelligent, clever, and quirky perspective on life.
During a fortuitous appearance on Saturday Night Live, she met bandleader GE Smith. Smith later became her husband,co-producer, and partner in their independent label, Green Mirror Music. Smith was instrumental in jump-starting Barton's songwriting by putting a guitar in her hands, and exposing her to an array of legendary performers from Dylan to Garcia, and everyone ultra-talented thereafter. She has clearly succeeded in creating a distinctive body of work that is highly accessible - very unique and original.
Vanity Faircalls her voice beautiful and seductive. Rolling Stonecalls her beguiling and raves about her recordings. Frank Hadley of The Boston Herald describes her voice as achingly superb. David Sprague of Newsday she waxes poetic without slipping into pretense and uses decidedly non-hallmark phraseology. She has created her own musical niche, and can't be pigeon holed with her signature dreamy melodic rhythms.
Barton's music is memorable, haunting, and deeply mysterious. Evolving out of the early nineties NYC downtown scene, Taylor mixed urban sensibilities with rootsy rock, and the result is hip folk-pop. Barton captures a wealth of knowledge and spirit in her music delivering evocative landscapes of both body and soul. Her live shows are also intimately polished.Philadelphia's Cutting Edge: she charms her audiences with a chameleon-like versatility, using gutsy theatrics that are never overdone. Vastly prolific, she has released five CD's in six years. Rolling Stone embraced Dry Land: sweet vocals and far-reaching. AMG called it her best yet. She is debuting her new band Wicked Felina by releasing her sixth CD Taylor Barton, Vapor, featuring her colloborative efforts with the lovely harpist Erin Hill this sping.
Her single, Not the Kind You Keep charted on AC stations and was featured on NBC's 'ED'. Other songs have been featured on Saturday Night Live, Conan, and Disney soundtracks. Her four previous releases, received rave reviews as well. She is the recipient of ten consecutive ASCAP Popular Panel Awards that she received in 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, and 1994. Her solo discography is Dry Land, 13 Break-ups, Skinny Kat, Thoroughbred.
Taylor Barton has also written five full-length plays. Her plays have been produced in NYC at Naked Angels, The Village Gate, La Mama, Musical Theatreworks, and The Woman's Project. She is the author of an award winning play, The Eric Clapton Breakfast Club. Her debut novel Hotheaded Saints is in stores now.
"Mystery, mayhem and humor ensue in Taylor Barton's fabulous Hotheaded Saints.--Adriana Trigiani Best selling author of Big Stone Gap, Lucia, Lucia and Rococo. Taylor Barton has drawn a compelling and fascinating portrait of the underbelly of the Hamptons and the interior life of a woman in search of redemption in it." --Rosanne Cash Singer, Songwriter, Author of Bodies of Water and Penelope Jane.
Since 2002, after adopting her daughter, Josie from China, Barton has gone global and immersed herself in supporting worthy causes. For the better part of the last year she worked pro bono on Songs For Life, a charity CD with all proceeds going to the relief of 14 Sub-Saharan African states afficted with HIV. and worked on producing a world concert, Prelude to Peace; a concert for Peace for the Middle East. She just co-chaired the fifth gala for PAX, Mom's aganist gun violence; she is an avid supporter.
Taylor Barton has performed on Conan, Saturday Night Live, VH1, Bravo's Broadway's Best, After Breakfast, Mountain Stage, BET, World Cafe, Acoustic Cafe, WoodSongs, Westwood One Radio, House of Blues Radio, and ABC radio, WFUV, and more. She was a featured artist at theR & R AAA Summit, as well as theCMJ and Gavin conventions. She divides her time between NYC and Amagansett, NY where she lives with her husband and daughter.