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Quick Blurb About ME!

HI! I'm Danielle ~

I’m a one-eyed, one-eared, flying purple people eater ...and I’m forever young at heart! I love cartoons and spaghettios and random games of duck duck goose. I think connecting to inner youth keeps us happy and spontaneous - seeking adventure each day! I want excitement and fun in my life and goofiness is exactly what the doctor prescribed!

I started my musical journey holding the hands of beautiful, headstrong Disney princesses and I still love those fair maidens today. I’ve given everything I am to music - I’ve weathered incredibly tough times, been issued several “minor” noise violations, lived in my car and even chosen music over refrigerated food.

Music is the air I breathe. It gives life to my deepest emotions; giving them a voice that can be understood in any language. One of my favorite things to do is to turn out the lights in my studio, light a few candles, have a glass of wine and let go. Let the music flow out of my fingertips onto the keys. I make music for every day life. For the happy moments, the disappointing moments, the feme fatale moments and the sexy, beautiful, heartfelt lovey dovey moments.

Photographers capture life with film, I capture it with sound.

I hope you love my music as much as I do. I hope it carries you through your day and acts as a soundtrack to your world.

It's All About The Chase! 

So I just finished filming my newest music video this past weekend. It was sooooo much fun! Tons of work, but really really fun!

The song is called, 'The Chase' and it's all about chasing dreams. I think too many of us get stuck in the mundane routine of everyday responsibility and we forget that we have a choice. We can absolutely live the life we want! I wrote this song as I myself took that journey. :) 

As posts below will tell, I quit my job and made the jump from worker bee to solo butterfly! It's been an up and down whirlwind of excitement and I am so happy to be doing what I love. I think we all deserve that so I wrote this song for all of us - for the dreamers that want to become the doers :)

The song will be released on March 31st and I truly hope you love it!

Now it's your turn!! Share your journey with me on social media!! Just hashtag #ItsAllAboutTheChase for a chance to be featured in my next music video!!

Cheers!

Singing and Cocktails 

So... as a full time musician, I sing a lot! I mean... a LOT. So much so, that I recently discovered some of my technique failures and had to struggle through my singing. I sing an average of 17 hours a week and it started to wear on me. So... I did a lot of research on super fast recovery and came up with a recipe to live by. It keeps you recovering during times you maybe can't stop talking/singing for a full 24-48hrs (which btw, is the absolute BEST thing you can do for yourself.)
Reminders - WARM UP and WARM DOWN when you're done singing. Trust me, I've learned the hard way. :)

Ok... here are the steps to live by and my "Singer's Cocktail":

Morning:

20-30 second gargle (do not swallow)
*1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of warm water with 1 tablespoon of honey.

Throughout the Day:

Take two Advil to aid the inflammation and drink five 16oz bottles of water -- in each one, put:

Two droppers of Sage Extract in bottle one
Two droppers of Turmeric Extract in bottle two
Two droppers of Marshmallow Extract in bottle three
Two droppers of Licorice Extract in bottle four
One dropper of each of the above extracts in bottle five



After dinner: 

Traditional Medicinals' Organic Throat Coat (two tea bags) in 8oz of hot water. Drink as many cups as desired. 

Stop 1 hour before bed.

Spray throat with "Singer's Saving Grace - Professional Strength - NO alcohol"

Right before bed:

Brush teeth and gargle with one 2oz of warm water mixed with one dropper of Sage, Turmeric, Marshmallow and Licorice Extracts and 1/2 tablespoon of honey.

Finish with a spoonful of honey and 6 drops of pure Propolis Extract. 

And.... rest your voice as much as possible :)

It's a lot I know, but it's keeping me going! Hope it helps you like it's helped me :)

Cheers!

What We Do For Our Dreams 

This time last year I was fully employed as a Bank of America worker bee. I gave my 40+ hours every week to "the man" and was well compensated for my soul sacrifice. Now please don't misunderstand, BofA was a fine company to work for … good benefits, steady pay … it was safe and easy. And I was still able to give a little to my music; I performed on the weekends and on occasion would find the creative spark needed to produce new material. But my momentum was trapped in molasses … I found myself constantly struggling to move forward because I wasn't fully committed, I wasn't "all in." 

In early 2012 I was told by a very reputable management company that while they were interested in me,  I needed to quit my job before they'd take me on. The rep told me that they didn't want to commit to my career because I hadn't committed yet. Hearing this was beyond frustrating. It was a Catch 22 hurdle that I just couldn't figure out how to get over.  First of all, I was committed, I loved being a musician … AND… I needed my job - I needed the money to keep pushing my music career forward. How was I supposed to survive and pay bills if I quit? I honestly couldn't figure it out.. I couldn't see past the difficulty and the basic math. So I let that opportunity pass me by. I set the "quit my job" idea on the "someday" bulletin board and kept on drudging through molasses. 

I continued to give my 40+ hours to BofA and I worked even harder to move myself forward musically. I made headway too ~ started booking better gigs for myself and even caught the eye of some influencial music folks in the big kid Music Biz club. :) But being the hungry for success critter that I am, I wanted more. I wanted to be further down the "paying my dues" path than I was. But I didn't know what more I could do. I was still scared to leave my comfort zone ~ still didn't have faith that my music would carry me.

Then, last August, I traveled. I went to Italy and saw an incredible part of the world! Food, music, wine and general beauty coursed through my veins! I was reignited with passion for life and had an incredible soundtrack for the journey. 


Listening to the Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles, I realized that I was stunting my own growth by being afraid of the unknown. The vocal and lyrical maturity of Sara's work made me want to commit more time, more energy… more of myself to my music. 

So, while having a delicious latte in Capri,

I decided to quit my job. I gave myself a few months to prepare and boom ~ I quit. 

Now, I know I've mentioned this before in a previous blog (Learning To Trust) … but my commitment didn't stop there. Quitting was the beginning. 

Since January of this year I've been moving at full speed ~ I perform at least 4 days a week, practice at least 2 hours a day (often times more), I write at least 1 new song a week and I run all of the behind the scenes stuff that goes into being employed as a full time musician. 

I actually work a thousand times harder than I did when I was working 40+ hours for BofA. Every moment of every day is devoted completely to moving forward. I follow my heart and back up the passion with calculated moves. I ignore the rules of engagement and do what feels right - but most of all, I'm not afraid to fail, I'm not afraid of the unknown. I believe in my music and I do what I can to get better each day. Going for your dreams means that you're traveling in uncharted waters ~ you're paving the way for yourself; not following the masses. So your entire world is unknown … you can't be afraid of that… if you are, then you'll never move forward. 

Dream chasing isn't reserved for any specific group/career path, anyone can do it. :) My good friend Katie Nathey (Check her blog out here: http://upcycledtreasures.com) is living proof of that as well. She's a DIY blogger and is making big waves in that community. She too works hard every day. She does what she loves and embraces the unknown. 

As Cinderella once sang, "A dream is a wish your heart makes." Dreams are worth chasing - but you'd better be ready and willing because that chase is a long one.

What is Art? 

Well.. I guess that depends on who you ask.

.... please.... "lend me your ears..."

To me, art is an expression of thought and emotion. A way of communicating who you are, how you feel and what you believe. I think art should propagate a reaction of some kind. Sometimes that reaction is positive, people love what you've done, what you've put out into the world... other times, you'll get a backlash of negativity because people will judge and hate your work. I suppose that's the nature of the beast. But I also suppose that's how you know you've created art.

Look at Miley Cyrus... today versus her Hannah Montana days. Miley ... love her or hate her... makes a statement with her work. She broke out of the G-Rated world and ... like a pendulum, swung to the absolute opposite side of the image spectrum. Like her or not, she definitely got a reaction from the world. She, just like so many other musical artists has shaken the mold... broken the perception she perhaps felt relegated to. Lady Gaga does and did the same thing - changing the ideas of beauty .... bringing an idea of soul deep beauty to the pop world. So while she may seem weird to you...  donning a suit of meat or painting her face a myriad of hues... she too, shakes up the conception of "norm" as an accepted art form.

Musicians have an amazing opportunity to shape conversation... and if they're lucky... influence lives. I want to be an inspiration, I want to have a voice and speak to things that matter to me.

That's an easy thing to say... it's definitely a different thing to do.

I'm currently prepping for the production of a new album... and I'm pouring myself into it. I'm writing and speaking on issues I believe in. Pushing my own limits and trying to break down the walls that I, at one point or another, decided would be the limit... walls that I was ok hiding behind. No matter how large a space I feel I have to create in.... I admit... from time to time I still feel those finite lines.  Lines drawn in the sand by my own fears of public perception and rejection. Art pushes back... and in my experience ... sometimes takes the artist to new places... luring them out of their comfort zones to a realization that if you're brave enough... there are no limits.

That's what my latest demo blurb is about... My new song (that will be officially recorded in a few months) is about stepping out of your comfort zone. Being brave enough to bare yourself.. completely... whether you take that literally or metaphorically. Be brave enough to bare it all .... and then be strong enough to stand on your own, judged by others. You may be showered with love ... but you might also hear a cacophony of  criticism.



I think in the end... all you can do is be true to yourself... true to your art....   then let the chips fall where they may. :)

We are all beautiful and we all see the world differently. We may not agree with one another, but those brave enough to speak up, will have the ears of many.

I'm standing here.... bare before you... do I have your attention? Can you handle me naked?

Learning to Trust 

One of the most important things I've had to learn as an independent musician .. is to trust myself.

I know that might sound like a no brainer or a casually cliche statement... but it's totally true. When I started out... back in March of 2008 .. I had no idea where or how to begin my musical journey. I researched my face off, googling like a fiend and taking countless notes.. slowly plotting out my every move. I talked to anyone and everyone that would listen and eventually started networking (on a crazy baby scale). I decided that I wanted to play the piano.. an instrument I'd loved forever but never really took on. I wanted to sing and write songs... again, I didn't have a clue how to do that... I just trusted that I could.

I managed to get my hands on a beautiful old upright ~ with the help of three freakishly strong friends, I manuevered the piano into my tiny apartment. Each night after work I would play... hours upon hours.. I listened to musicians like Elton John, Jon McLaughlin and even Thelonious Monk. I was looking for rhythmic fodder... examples for me to imitate, practice with and eventually grow to create with. I was so desperate to learn that I'd have my piano tuned almost every other month just to hear the guy tuning it play amazing works of art. The second he'd leave my house I'd sit down and try to duplicate what he'd just done.  It was a great learning experience for me.

Then came songwriting. Holy moly was this insane for me! There are literally hundreds of ideas on songwriting and though I've learned that there are general formats/formulas to follow... coming up with your unique style is an art on its own. I'd like to think I've gotten better at crafting my songs.. but I KNOW I still have a lot to learn. :)

When I first started writing, I was heavily influenced by my classical background. As a result.. my melodies were overcomplicated, my piano lines were so intricate that no other instruments could really fit into the song.. and .. I was moving in a hundred different directions on the "genre" front. I was trying.. but I was lost. I didn't know what box I wanted to fit into ... what artists I would maybe be played on the radio with. I loved singing all kinds of music so I just tried it all out. R&B, Pop, Country, Jazz Standards, Rock.. I was all over the place. I eventually found my individual voice and style and decided to take my show on the road.

Again, another hurdle. I didn't know how to sing my melodies and play the piano lines I'd written. I couldn't split my brain in two like that. I was nervous on stage, self conscious and unsure of my right to a spot in the light. I'd managed to get a band together and was pretending to be the leader... but I didn't know where I was leading us. I just trusted that I'd figure it out ~ thus, my favorite independent musician motto was born. "Fake it 'til ya Make it." And that's exactly what I started to do.

I practiced so much more ~ playing my piano 'til all hours of the night... trying to separate my hands from my mouth. Working out my own technique for splitting my brain into two sections~ One that could focus on the words, rhythms and melodies of my songs, and the other that would focus solely on the notes and timing of my piano lines. It was definitely a skill I had to work at. My late night practice sessions eventually brought the cops to my door.. a few noise complaints later, I was evicted and living out of my car. Everything I owned was stuffed into a storage unit .. it was really depressing. But I made sure my piano was the last thing we packed so that I could still visit my unit and practice. ;) I felt more determined than ever.

I kept pushing forward, reminding myself that if I didn't quit, if I kept going.. I would make something of myself. My music would be the platform I could stand on to speak to the world. I joined every music group I could. I looked for artists that were doing what I wanted to be doing.. especially picking local talent that was further along the path than I was. I figured, if they'd been at it longer than I had and I could do what they were doing at an earlier point in my career, I was bound to make bigger waves as I got further down the road. I read books and went to conventions. I listened to artists that I loved and wrote down the structure of their songs... picked apart the things that made the hook so catchy, took note of what the tempos were... I was studying up and putting what I'd learned to practice.

I saved my money for over 10months to be able to record Don't Turn On The Light Though it was only 5 songs, I put every bit of myself into it. I worked with amazing musicians, a wonderful production team and moved forward even more. I learned how my lyrics could become more impactful. I learned how to make the chorus stand out more. But most importantly ... I learned to take criticism.

Writing a song is kind of like giving birth (I would imagine)... if someone doesn't like your baby, if they think it's ugly or vapid... that can tear you up inside. You love your song... so you want to defend it... but sometimes, your song could be better, stronger..... altogether  more. Hearing my work get torn apart was rough for me. I struggled with trust in a big way. I wanted to trust the producers I'd brought on to make my music better, but I wanted to trust my gut too. Were my thoughts all of a sudden invalid? Did I need to set aside my vision and intent to make way for theirs? It was a difficult internal process for me. And what I learned was that I needed to walk the line between ego and intuition ~ another pairing I had to separate. My intuition would know when to push for an idea…  setting aside my ego would allow for new and better ideas to be heard. It really ended up being a win win.

After my EP was released... I thought I'd soar to stardom. Haha ~ obviously that hasn't happened yet. (don't worry, I'm still workin' at it) ;)

My EP was good, I even got some amazing attention from it. I signed a few publishing deals, grabbed the attention of some industry big wigs and even secured an incredible mentorship with Don Grierson

But again, I found myself lost. I had to trust myself and keep moving forward. I worked with Don and learned even more about songwriting ~ moreover HIT songwriting. What makes a hit... can I write one? Who do I admire? Why do I admire them? If I read their lyrics without music... would they make sense. This was such a profound lesson for me. I went back to the drawing board.. writing and composing.. this time separating lyric and music so that both could stand on their own. I learned to simplify and focused my energy on a singular path.

Eventually I found myself face to face with a moment that has completely changed my life. I realized that although I was committed to making things happen for myself, to writing great songs and sharing my music with the world... my internal convictions didn't match my external actions. I was still spending more than half of my life working to progress someone else's dream ~ Giving over 40 hours a week to the corporate world. So again, I had to take a leap of faith and trust myself. Trust that I was good enough, that I would work hard enough to keep myself employed as a full time musician. Without a second thought I quit my corporate job and leapt into the deep end of the professional musician pool. It was quick ~ like ripping off a bandaid ~ and I was a little scared.. no doubt about it. But I realized that there's no "good time" to change your life. You will always find an excuse.. a reason NOT to go for it... so just take a deep breath and jump. :) That's exactly what I've done~ and I couldn't be happier.

Though I know I haven't reached my goal as a musician yet, I trust that I will. :) To quote the most incredible animated conscience of all time....  "If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme."

Life is what we make it... so let's make it everything we could ever hope for! :D

Throwback Thursday 

So since the advent of Instagram and the ability to hashtag (the year 2011 seems about right), #TBT has been in full force and I have totally missed the boat! So.. I'm gonna blog about my 'Throwback' moments on random Thursdays :) This is something you'll only get to see if you check my site regularly so.. hopefully you tune in for my kiddie moments :D
Ok on to this week's TBT ~

I don't know if it's common for little folks to want something their entire life… but I did. I wanted to be a musician for as long as I can remember. The desired forum for performing my music changed and evolved as my horizons were broadened, but I ALWAYS wanted to do music :D

I first took up the clarinet in Third Grade.. my Mom had been a clarinet player in her youth and I wanted to be just like her! So I picked up the horn and started learning about music. But playing the clarinet wasn't enough for me… I wanted to expand my knowledge and experience different parts of music. So.. in Junior High (I went to Patrick Henry Middle School in Granada Hills) I joined 'Drumline.'



Now if you've seen the movie 'Drumline' … let me just say the Jr. High version is comparatively mild sauce. Our group consisted of maybe 15 kids ~ each of us banging on some percussive instrument like we were Sheila E or something :D It was a BLAST! And.. being the total Disney dork that I was/and still am, my love for animated movies expanded to include the super fun flick: Fievel Goes West (Universal film). The movie was great and the songs were so much fun to play! I was kind of a mini wizard on the glockenspiel .. if I do say so myself ;) … and I LOVED playing "The Girl You Left Behind." It was an upbeat song filled with crazy runs that made me wiggle my fingers like a banchie.



Learning the glock taught me where all of the keys on the piano were, reinforced my knowledge of basic scales and.. it introduced ideas of horizontal fun when it came to music ~ a notion I still heartily embrace today! :)

Catch me later for more TBT Fun!

Hello world!  

Yay! It's official! My new website is up and running and so is my blog section! I'm so excited to share my music and now my life with you!
I guess the first thing you should know is that I'm a weirdo - haha - a good one… nothing scary I promise :) But still … you'll probably end up reading something bizarre from time to time.

Also.. for those of you that end up reading my blogs.. I tend to use ellipses a LOT …

Sign up for my email list (on my home page) to get updates and exclusives from me … and definitely keep an eye out 'cause great things are on their way! :D

Love.Peace.Grease
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Jun5

Danielle Taylor at a Wedding!

Private Event

 

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Jul12

Danielle Taylor at Cooper Garrod

Cooper Garrod Vineyard, 22645 Garrod Rd, Saratoga, CA 95070

 

Only 25 minutes from San Jose or Palo Alto or 50 minutes from San Francisco, Cooper-Garrod is a family owned and operated estate winery. Located on hillsides above Saratoga, the vines capitalize on the sunny days, moderate nights, and long growing season of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Tasting Room open daily.

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Aug14

Danielle Taylor performs at a Wedding!

Private Event

 

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