How and when did you get started creating music?
I’ve always loved music, but I really started creating music when I was about 11. I would take the melodies of my favorite songs and re-write my own verses and hooks to the instrumentals. Then when I finally got my first little Casio keyboard and started coming up with my own chords? You couldn’t tell me nothin’!
Name 3 of your greatest musical inspirations.
Hands down, Quincy Jones. He was one of the main reasons I played trumpet, and began producing and composing. I actually got to tell him that in person earlier this year, and it was absolutely surreal.
Missy Elliot; for her amazing writing style and effortless authenticity. When it comes to being 1,000% percent yourself as an artist, I truly believe she was way ahead of her time.
And, of course Ms. Lauryn Hill; who inspired me to speak the truth, and not feel the need to conform to the masses all the time. You can say some real “ish” and people will still feel the track!
For someone who has not heard your music, what would you tell them to expect?
I really would say everything I do is pretty genre-bending. You really can’t put it in one box! But, expect it to have a groove, possibly some horns, be very melodic, and knock! I’m very influenced by Soulful House, R&B, Jazz, Hip-hop and Pop music. Once you hear it, you’ll get it!
For those who don’t know, you played the trumpet and competed nationally from a very young age. Do you still implement your horn playing skills in your music?
I actually do! Although now I like to use it as seasoning; a little sprinkle here and there!
In addition to producing and your artistry, you are also an international DJ. How did you get your start in DJing?
So, funny story…for those of you who don’t know, H.S.P.V.A does not have any sports teams. So instead, I joined the DJ Team! I became Captain of the DJ Team my Junior year and we would play a bunch of events around the city, school “happenings”, and even our prom. There couldn’t have been a cooler thing to be a part of.
Has it been more difficult or easier for you to create during the quarantine?
At first it was extremely difficult. Coming fresh off of tour, all of the uncertainty of “what’s going to happen next” was definitely getting to me. I truly felt paralyzed for a while. But, once I decided to push through that initial feeling, I’ve been able to create more now than ever before.
What is your creative process like?
Honestly, it depends. Sometimes I’ll hear a bass-line in my head and start with that; sometimes lyrics, sometimes it’s just a mood that I want the chords to convey. It’s wherever the spirit moves me.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
There are so many amazing artists out right now that choosing one would be hard! Production-wise I think Masego, Kaytranada, Disclosure, and I could create some magic! Artist-wise I’m really digging Sinead Harnett and Phony Ppl. And, of course I’d have to put on for the city and collab with Megan Thee Stallion and the Queen, Beyonce. That is an absolute must!
If you could open a show for any artist, who would it be?
I think it would be really dope to open for Calvin Harris. He is also a DJ/Producer/Artist and lowkey, he is pretty soulful! He also tends to have a super multi-cultural audience.
What is the most useless talent that you have?
I don’t know if this is useless…but fun fact, I did used to really be into karate and martial arts growing up. I even got a gold medal in the Junior Olympics for it lol.
Do you feel social media has helped or hindered your musical career?
At first I was very anti-social media. I come from the school of thought where you should “let your work speak for itself.” Unfortunately, that’s not the age we are in anymore. So I’m just now learning to be comfortable sharing my life with the world. But overall, I think it’s a great tool and can be a great help when you learn how to use it effectively.
There is a stigma that an artist must “leave” Houston to become successful. Do you agree or disagree with that statement?
That is a tough one. I absolutely agree that there is a stigma, but in this digital age you truly can showcase yourself to the world now more than ever, without ever leaving home. Although people think there are a lot more opportunities in cities like New York or L.A., when an artist truly has leverage, opportunities will come knocking at your door…you won’t need to go somewhere else to find them.
Also, I believe there is so much talent in this city. We have been tapped for our culture for decades, and yet, we have not created our own business structures to rival those of the east and west coast. I think we are way overdue for that and it’s up to US to create it. WE can’t build our own, building someone else’s.
What’s next for you?
My debut project! I’ve been working all quarantine on some heat for you. My first single, “Smoke” drops next Tuesday, 9/15! Be on the lookout for it!
What are ways that our readers could support you?
Support me by supporting artists, period! Pay for art, pay musicians, and show them that you truly appreciate the time they’ve put into their craft and skills. We all know the world would be a pretty dark place without them! Oh, and put a reminder in your phone for “Smoke” which will be available on all platforms on September 15!
Where can we follow you and hear more?
The best way to follow what I’m up to is on IG @TayPowers and Taypowers.com