Born to A-list professional musicians, if talent were computed by association alone, then it would be understandable why Shawnee Taylor is as blessed as she is.
Shawnee works with a who’s who in the world of dance such as Erick Morillo, Junior Sanchez, Todd Terry, Richard Grey, Harry Romero, Jose Nunez, Sandy Rivera, Greg Cerrone and more. Needless to say with the overflow of talent she possesses universal acclaim is seems almost a formality. Subliminal Records’ Erick Morillo knows he’s fortunate.
“She’s the best!” he enthuses. “I mean with a talent like hers how can you go wrong? The thing that impresses me most about Shawnee Taylor is not only that she has a great voice but she is a kick ass writer and a wonderful person too. A triple threat. And that’s rare in this business. It’s usually one or the other.”
Music is in Shawnee’s blood, literally. Born in LA but raised in the vibrant melting pot that is New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, Shawnee’s father, as jazz bassist, paid the rent by playing in chat show king Johnnie Carson’s band while her mother sang with the legendary John Coltrane and dapper crooner Lou Rawls. When her parents weren’t practicing themselves, the house was never silent as Ella Fitzgerald, Chaka Khan, Nina Simone and others took up the slack, belting classic after classic from the Taylor family record player.
Her schooling only served to germinate the seeds of talent that were planted at home. While in boarding school she became musically proficient, learning how to read, write and arrange in classical, opera, jazz and choral while her theatre coach helped nurture her dynamic stage presence. At Hampton University in Virginia she shone in a nationally renowned gospel choir.
It was during a weekend break from boarding school that Shawnee ran into DJ Romain who heard the teenager casually singing a tune in a Manhattan record store. That chance meeting led to Shawnee’s weekly trips home to record. Through Romain, her retinue of producers increased to include Todd Terry, Sandy Rivera, Roland Clarke and Michael Moog amongst others and non-stop writing and background work that saw her through her college years.
It was Shawnee’s work on the Tanagachicks’ remix of Brasil Over Zurich featuring Dimitri and Tom that first acquainted her with Erick Morillo. By the time she had sung on Kid Creme’s Austin’s Groove and Richard Grey’s Do What You Wanna Do, Morillo knew that Shawnee Taylor was more than just a session singer. She was a solo star and by signing her on Subliminal Records, he aimed to prove the point.
“I only write about things I know, things I’ve experienced” states Shawnee and I think that makes for a better song and better performance from me. I love music that has elements of jazz, pop, disco, lounge and some darker things. I may be a house music artist but the bottom line is that I’m an artist and that means unlike a lot of producer driven music the personality of the person singing will be totally reflected in every second of every track.”
Her most recent tracks from this year include the spectacular collaboration with Erick Morillo and Eddie Thoneick on Live Your Life and Stronger released on Subliminal and D:Vision Records respectively. Another single is the infallible Where You Are in collaboration with Harry Romero, Junior Sanchez and Alexander Technique.
It seems Shawnee Taylor is set for stardom, if she isn’t there already!