By: Beatrice Bangura
Soul Crooner and VH1 “You Oughta Know Artist”, Russell Taylor hit the D.M.V recently to promote his latest album, ” War of Hearts.” We caught up with Taylor to get his thoughts on the state of r&b, what inspires him and more:
How did it feel being chosen for VH1’s “You Oughta Know” spotlight?
It was an amazing feeling and it gave me a shot in the arm so to speak. As an independent artist the journey is a challenging one. We look for ways to always get out there and I had friends like Johnny Swinn who were chosen earlier in 2013 and it had me thinking I wanted this opportunity. Slowly it happened and I ended up getting chosen along with three other artists. It’s was a real push. I felt like I had to push myself harder.
What do you think about critics and other musicians like Bobby Valentino claiming R&B and Soul music has gone all the way hip-hop?
I see where they are coming from but I think they’re a lot of R&B and soul singers out there. Most of them are independent artists and they’re not really getting any play on the radio. I also think that because of the rising cost of having live instrumentals in the studio to record, that was done with. You get rid of the live instrumentals and the music changes. The melody etc changes and then you have the same type songs that keep getting recycled on the radio. Sounds very different today but there’s a reason for that. We’ve been trained to accept how it sounds likes now, like Anita Baker used live instrumentals and you could feel it in her music.
If you weren’t a musician, what profession would you be in?
An attorney. I was on the track to law school but with divine intervention it was like no I think you should go this route. I could touch more people and do more by being a performer.
Who inspires you musically?
Nina Simone, Donnie Hathaway are the old school artists. Today I love Tamar Braxton, Laura Mvula. Nine Simone/Donnie because they’re like origin of the sound I love. They gave so much emotion and feeling just from their voice. I work towards that goal. I love Tamar braxton because she’s so R&B. She gives me a Jodeci, 90’s vibes and I love it. Laura is overseas and I love her sound. She’s an example of stepping outside of the box. You can tell she has gospel background but can also hear her african culture in her music. She’s taken R&B and making it her own.
So we’re going to play a game. I’m going to say two things and you have to tell the first one that comes to mind without thinking of the answer.
Winter or Summer? Summer
Hip-Hop or Pop? Hip-Hop
Luke James or Trey Songz? Luke James
Rihanna or Beyonce? That’s a hard one. Can I say both? I like them both for different reasons. Ok If I have to pick one I’ll say Rihanna.