Shooby Taylor inspires me.
Not only do I love his music, but I respect what he went through to make his music. Any artist or teacher today can learn from the example of Shooby Taylor.
This video, containing a collection of his performances originally overdubbed on cassette tape, is cued up to ‘Take a Closer Walk with Thee”:
I don’t know much about Shooby Taylor, other than that he made a handful of homemade recordings between 1970-2010 or so.
Here are the most important things I believe creatives, artists, and teachers can take away from Shooby Taylor’s example:
- Despite getting the hook at the Apollo theatre and likely being widely misunderstood and under-appreciated, he persisted to make his music for whomever it might resonate. How many people are brave enough to share their work like Shooby did, without holding back?
2. He made use of whatever resources were available to him. He apparently scatted over the top of pre-existing recordings onto cassette tapes.
Regardless of your skill set or access to technology, training, accompanists, or other resources, how can you create and share your work by simplifying and using what you have?
3. Through his persistence, making recordings over time, he developed a personal language. This video includes transcriptions of his scat syllables:
- He was able to insert himself into any musical scenario. That’s how strong his artistic voice was. That’s how fearless he was. That’s a reflection of his conviction, i.e., knowing exactly what he wanted to say. Here’s his take on Mozart, as an example:
Anyone who makes art or teaches art can learn a lot today from the example Shooby Taylor set years ago.
Shooby Taylor leaned into is own creative voice. He was unapologetically himself. His work is an inspirational legacy.
Thank you Shooby!
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