Melvin Taylor is a well-known guitarist in the world of rock, blues and jazz. This self-taught master was influenced by many of histories true guitar pioneers including – Albert King, Jimmy Reed, Wes Montgomery, and Jimi Hendrix. So it won’t surprise you to know that Melvin’s ability has been recognized by many of his fellow guitar and rock greats. In fact, he’s appeared on the same ticket with Carlos Santana, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, George Benson, Al DiMeola and Chick Corea. He can count among his fans the likes of Mick Jagger and Patty LaBelle.
Melvin has performed in front of thousands of fans all around the world. Indeed, music fans in Argentina, Canada, China, Chile, France, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Turkey, the Ukraine, and of course the United States of America have all enjoyed his virtuoso guitar style, and breathtaking solos.
Beyond the Burning Guitar contains 23 original, instrumental guitar songs plus Melvin’s arrangement and adaptation of Beethoven’s Fifth. Melvin’s 2012 release, Sweet Taste of Guitar is a splendid accomplishment for this virtuoso – he composed, arranged, produced and recorded 10 songs. What really makes this project unique is that Melvin plays all of the instruments on the CD.
What are you working on right now?
Just completed my tenth CD – being released in early 2013. Last week I began a new project, working with a classically trained singer.
Where did the idea for starting your own production company come from?
After years of working as an artist for labels and producers, I decided it was time for me to take control of my own music and sound. My latest release is the third CD I have composed, arranged, recorded and produced.
How do you make money?
I make money from live performances, royalties from CDs and online sales of my music.
What does your typical day look like?
When I’m on the road touring and performing it’s traveling, hit city of the performance and set up, sound check, then back to the hotel to eat and sleep until performance time. When I’m not on the road I am constantly recording. I am fortunate to be able to play many instruments in addition to guitar so I can record my ideas on my own – compose, lay the tracks and get the basic ideas recorded. First track is drums, then bass, rhythm and basic guitar track, horns/keyboards and lead guitar.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am always thinking music. At night I dream music. I hear music in all daily sounds – car horns, birds, dogs barking, conversations – everything has a rhythm, tone and a certain key. Everything I hear gives me ideas. I enjoy all types of music I am completely self-taught – I play classical, jazz, blues, rock –everything.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
All the recent music trends have evolved from long ago. There are seven notes – each with a flat and a sharp. I hear songs from years ago that are incorporated into the latest music. Due to technology, digital & electronic sound many young performers are not aware of the music history that makes up their current day trends.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job was definitely working in a foundry/steel mill in Broadville, Illinois. Most of the longtime workers had lost fingers and limbs due to unsafe conditions. I worked there for one month and quit. The experience reinforced my belief that I had truly been given the gift of my talent. It became my life’s journey.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would want to be fortunate enough to enter a performing arts school at a young age. To learn to read and write music would have been cool.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Whatever your passion is, and mine is playing the guitar, I practice/play nearly everyday.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
A major failure for me was not surrounding myself with skilled and supportive management. I now have a wonderful core group of people. We are all very open and honest about all aspects of the business. It has made a tremendous difference in my life and music.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
One or two things I would change – no child would go hungry, and all kids would have the opportunity to go to college. I have come in contact with several great foundations through my travels – one in India, another in China. I hope to one day become more involved with these issues.
Tell us a secret.
I have never had a guitar lesson.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
My website is great www.melvintaylormusic.com. Loads of information about me and my career.
Facebook is wonderful to communicate with people all over the world. I spent many years in Europe and other parts of the world. FB is a fabulous way to stay in touch.
iTunes is simple and easy for me to get my music out in to the world.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Be Good To Yourself by Orison Swett Marden. It is full of great advice on how to become happy and successful.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Oprah Winfrey, her life story is amazing. She is smart and wonderfully generous. Stevie Wonder is a musical genius beyond belief. Taylor Hicks is an extraordinary soulful blues singer.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Today – a good friend and musician called me today. We were talking about some things that went wrong on our last tour. Of course at the time it was stressful, but now it was ridiculously funny.
Who is your hero?
My mother, Floydie May (Vaughn) Taylor. She was my heart – sweet, courageous, and my biggest supporter.
What kinds of guitars and equipment do you use?
My main guitar is an Ibanez SA 100. Amplifier is Fender Cyber Twin. Pedals – VOX Wah and a Tube Screamer
Are you married, and do you have children?
I am not married, and I have 3 kids.