There is no slowing down for Livingston Taylor.
If he isn’t cruising on his vintage BMW (with a sider car) or flying high above the clouds in his 1964 Cessna 205, six-passenger, single-engine—whoa, only one; he’s likely to be in a classroom at Berklee, scaring the hell out of newbies, who hope to learn the business of music from the master performer.
But it doesn’t end there; Liv Taylor, the not so laid-back-guy audiences love, usually occupies a stratosphere above conventional words and wisdom. For those seeking the bliss of self-actualization, allow me to share; he found it years ago. All kidding aside, Taylor is not shy about anything, and within minutes of meeting him, you soon learn that he can laser-focus and discuss any subject.
For the generations who don’t know Livingston Taylor, I’ll give you a short history lesson; then, we’ll get on with the show. According to his bio—something he seems to refrain from discussing in interviews, probably because he knows it well, and he doesn’t seem to enjoy spending time in the past—we learn that Taylor started jamming at 13 years-old. Raised in North Carolina, with a pack of siblings (you may have heard of them: Alex, James, Kate, and Hugh), music came easy to the clan.
At 18, realizing he could earn money with his talent, he began a career that includes scores of original songs about life, love, good times—and all the rest.
Taylor’s range crosses all genres: folk, pop, gospel, and jazz; he also performs with full orchestras. Having such talent means that he can probably create a song about a cup of coffee at a moment’s notice. (Sidebar: he makes a fabulous cup and is a great host).
Since his first paid performance, he always kept his eye on the future. From dark, cool coffee-houses of another era, to sharing the stage with artists, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac, Buffet and Tull, Taylor’s schedule never ends. If he isn’t teaching, performing, or working on a PBS special, (scheduled for 2020), he’s organizing a retreat for aspiring musicians and performers.
As a full professor at the world-famous Berklee College of Music, where he teaches Stage Performance (since 1989), few if any people in the business can keep pace with this youthful 69 year-old.
What makes Taylor unique and able to excel in everything he does is related to his clear understanding of people. His relaxed, on-stage presence, tames audiences; with a natural smile and warm personality, he owns the house. Using stories and anecdotes that build a long lasting bond, he has multi-generational families following his life and appearances.
You might be wondering what we talked about, well—just about everything. To keep it simple and on task, here is a small part of our free-flowing conversation.
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