060318- Arts Center Tunes Up for Spring Concert Series Maryland Gazette
050901- Sound Foundation Presents Creative Alliance
050505- LIVE Section: Cheap Date The Baltimore Sun
050301- Angela Taylor wins Songwriting Contest Peabody News
050301b- Peabody celebrates Alan Kefauver & 20th Anniversary of Peabody’s Recording Program Peabody News
030926- Fundraiser Features Melodic Sounds of Angela Taylor Severna Park Voice
030820- Taylor Pulls the Strings Towson Times
030813- Taylor Made Baltimore Guide
030801- Dear Readers Music Monthly
030619- Sing a Song for Bowie Bowie Blade
030109- Be-Cool Picks Angela Taylor The Washington Post
021106- Food for Thought The Morning Call
021101- BeCool Ad Campaign EQ, Keyboard, other national mags
020814- Oh say! Can you see... The Baltimore Guide
020604- Interview with Billy Zero XM Satellite Radio (Audio)
020601- "Strong" Response to Debut CD Johns Hopkins Magazine
011206- Rams Head Tavern concert features Bowie girl's music Bowie Blade
010919- Best of Baltimore 2001 - Best Solo Music Artist City Paper
010901- Capitol Groove: Angela Taylor Unsung Hero
010801- CD Review: Angela Taylor * Songs for Strong Girls Music Monthly
010630- Angela Taylor to perform on "Food Nation with Bobby Flay" July 17th Food Network
010618- Angela Taylor Appearance on Love and Money (Quicktime Movie)
010201- Angela Taylor 432miles: Independent Music Magazine
000619- "Best of Baltimore" Angela Taylor to Join JHU Peabody Preparatory Faculty Peabody Conservatory
000101- Who is Angela Taylor? University Reporter
991005- In the Spotlight: Angela Taylor The Retriever Weekly
990930- Angela Taylor to sing at Walters Art Gallery Johns Hopkins Newsletter
990915- Best of Baltimore 1999 - Best Solo Music Artist City Paper
990902- Canton woman to sing at State Fair The Baltimore Guide
990902- Last weekend for the State Fair The Baltimore Sun
990722- Alumna comes back for jazz concert Greenbelt News Review
990604- She writes the songs, and sings them, too Prince George's Journal
By Mary Helen Sprecher
A career on both sides of the music industry and an upcoming concert makes Angela Taylor into Canton's coming attraction
Angela Taylor has a distinct memory of trying out for her high school musical-and being shot down.
"I remember they said, 'You really need to work on your singing,'" she laughs.
And the musical was…?
"Oh." She frowns, then puts one hand over her eyes, thinking. She sighs, tries again. After a few seconds, she gives up. "You know, I don't even remember." She laughs. "I just can't even remember it anymore."
Taylor wasn't exactly emotionally scarred by the incident. "I just kept on truckin,'" she says simply.
These days, the Canton resident is doing more than simply truckin'. Her debut album of original rock/pop music, "Songs for Strong Girls," was released in 2001, and she's preparing to launch a second CD this fall. In 2001, she was named "Best Female Vocalist" in the Music Monthly Readers' Poll, and won Music Monthly's "Best Regional Album." She's sung the National Anthem at Camden Yards and was a finalist in the Lilith Fair Talent Search. Taylor also has her own website, www.angelataylor.com and her own record label, Skinny Girl Records.
From her high school musical rejection, Taylor went on to earn dual bachelor's degrees in flute and recording engineering from the Peabody Institute, and a master's in computer music from Peabody.
She teaches flute and voice at the Chesapeake Arts Center and computer music at Peabody.
(A quick primer: computer music is the technical side of the music industry. It encompasses recording studio techniques, digital audio, using a specialized computer program to create music scores and more.)
It may sound dry, but it comes in handy-particularly, according to Taylor, if a musician wants to make a living in the music industry, as opposed to working a full-time job in a completely unrelated field in order to pay the bills, and squeezing music in on nights and weekends.
"I would advise anyone who really wants to be a musician to take lessons on their instrument," she says, "and to practice every day. And after you're good at your craft, you should take some time to learn the music business side of things."
Taylor initially explored computer music because it sounded interesting. She stayed because it was interesting. These days, she uses her technical skills on her own music, in which she composes, performs, records and mixes as recording engineer on her own record label, and makes some money music editing and sound mixing for television shows such as "America's Most Wanted" and "Top Cops."
"Some days, I tell myself, 'I wish I could concentrate on singing,'" she says, "but singing really is the black hole of income. I use the income from "America's Most Wanted" to finance my concerts."
Concerts consume cash. There is the venue to rent, musicians on a salary, overhead expenses that are incurred. Even with income from ticket sales, bills remain, and need to be paid-particularly if one wishes to continue performing.
"The musicians I'm using are mostly Peabody people, and everyone needs to be paid," she says.
For students who dream of making a living singing, graduation is a reality check. Unless one has connections in the music business or a good deal of money, it's hard to get noticed. That is a rude shock to people who haven't given much thought about how to get along outside the conservatory.
Taylor falls back not just on her technical expertise, but on her classical training. She has 20 years experience playing solo, chamber and orchestral presentations on the flute, and 10 years experience singing not just in classical recitals (she studied opera at Peabody) but in rock bands such as Lust and Termite. She is a composer in several genres as well.
If the secret of her success is diversification, the secret of her music is its own form of diversity-the use of classical elements, such as strings, to create a layered backdrop for her three-octave voice. Her upcoming concert, scheduled for August 23 at Chesapeake Arts Center, she says, will feature the sound she has come to be known for (described on her website as 'alternapop.')
"It will be the first concert where I'll have a string orchestra along with a rock band," she says, looking excited and pleased at the prospect.
Classical influences are returning to rock music after an absence of more than 20 years, gaining favor over the synthesized sounds that became popular in the 1980s. It's a trend Taylor likes.
She is fascinated by all genres of music and has wanted a music career as long as she can remember. She is bothered by the fact that many schools today are dropping music programs because of budget cuts. Children who study music in school, she states, have higher verbal test scores and do better in math. Not only that, but it is a fun and interesting subject that can open doors to new careers-or, at the very least, awaken constructive interests.
"If you take away all the fun part of school, what reason do kids have for going?" she asks, looking disturbed. It's a sore point for her; one of her greatest influences was her high school band teacher.
Her most important musical influence these days, she says, is Sheryl Crow, who is also one of her favorite artists. She also listens to John Mayer, Fiona Apple and Avril Lavigne, among others.
Growing up in Prince George's County (she attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt), did she go for any of the expected teenager bubblegum music as an adolescent?
Not a chance.
"I listened to WHFS," she laughs, "in its old format. The way it used to be- kind of quirky alternative music. That was when you'd have to put on the six-foot antenna to get it."
Today, the closest thing to the old WHFS, she says, is WRNR out of Annapolis. When she can get it, that is. ("When I get out the six-foot antenna.")
Which brings up the question, why not go to a city that is more music-oriented? Why not, for example, put down roots in New York? Or Los Angeles? Or even Nashville? Why live in Baltimore, a comparative backwater?
Taylor laughs. It's a question she has heard before. Lots of times.
"Our friends in New York are always trying to convince us to move there," she says, "and my husband and I have had job offers in other places. And every once in a while, we do talk about it: 'Should we move somewhere else or stay here?'"
The decision always ends where it starts: in Baltimore.
"My family is in Prince George's County," she says simply, "and his is in Bel Air. So we live here."
But isn't there always the possibility that there will be better opportunities in other cities? More chances for that big break?
Maybe, she allows. Perhaps. But living in Baltimore-in Canton-surrounded by neighbors and friends, isn't so bad, really. And with one album under her belt, another on the way, a concert coming up, a full roster of students at Peabody and Chesapeake and a busy schedule of technical work for "America's Most Wanted," she is making a living, and she's doing it the same way she makes her music: by diversifying, by adding new elements, and by leaning on the classics.
"Sometimes," she says, "you're just creating opportunities out of thin air."
Angela Taylor performs at the Chesapeake Center for the Arts, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park, on Saturday, August 23, at 8 p.m. Info: 410-636-6597. Angela Taylor's website is www.angelataylor.com
©2003 The Baltimore Guide, ©2003 Angela Taylor
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