Hillsboro musician Kit Taylor releases solo album
Hillsboro pianist and songwriter Kit Taylor experienced two devastating blows in 2016, but both have propelled him to do what he does best — write music. Taylor released his solo album "LOVE + PAIN" in June, featuring some distinguished musicians.
The album is a collection of catchy pop songs, "taking inspiration from the Michael Boltons and Katy Perrys of the world," Taylor said.
The album features established musicians such as Jennifer Batten — who performed for years as Michael Jackson's guitarist — and David Torn, the guitarist for John Legend and Madonna. The album was co-produced, engineered and mixed by Taylor's friend and mentor Bob Stark, who has worked with Esperanza Spalding, Pink Martini, Everclear and more. Finally, it was mastered by Bernie Grundman in Hollywood, Calif., who is responsible for Michael Jackson's "Thriller."
"The odds seemed slim of all of this happening as I look back," said Taylor, who lives in Orenco. "It's a pretty cool outcome, especially given that I'm writing pop music in a suburb of Portland. I love Portland; I will always be an Oregon guy. But as you can imagine, musicians here don't think much of Michael Bolton — which is pretty sad, in my opinion."
Taylor was drawn to playing the piano when he was just 5 years old, and began songwriting at the age of 10. When he attended Clackamas Community College, he met the people who would become his bandmates in the soul band "Intervision."
Taylor met Stark at the community college when Stark recorded the school's jazz choir albums. He later produced Intervision's three albums, and has since encouraged Taylor to record his own compositions. Taylor has recorded two piano solo albums, but "LOVE + PAIN" is his first big production.
"This is some of the most amazing pop music I've heard come out of Portland in decades, from one of the most dedicated and talented musicians I've ever worked with," Stark said.
Aptly named, the album flows from the love and pain Taylor experienced in 2016 when his father died and his girlfriend walked out on him.
"My last words to him were, 'I'm gonna make you proud,' right before he closed his eyes," Taylor said. "I know he was thinking, 'I'm already proud of you,' but that's what I wanted to say."
The last song on the album, "Strip It All Away," is actually the result of a dream Taylor had about his father.
"I actually dreamed that song … it's for my dad," Taylor said. "In my dream I was actually singing it to my dad, and I woke up and wrote it."
Taylor considers himself a songwriter and producer above all, and he only sings the lead on three of the album's 10 songs.
"I write in all styles, and if I have a song that I feel like doesn't fit my voice, I use a voice as an instrument," Taylor said. "I want to find a voice that fits."
Knowing his strengths and preferring to be somewhat behind the scenes, Taylor's dream is to write for Disney, he said.
"Disney still knows how to write great music," Taylor said. "That would be a dream, either placed with artists or picked up by someone like Disney. I would consider that successful."
Those close to him do not believe the dream to be far-fetched.
"Based on two recent meetings Kit has had with international music and publishing companies, we think big things are potentially in store for him," said attorney David James.
"LOVE + PAIN" is available in CD or vinyl form at kittaylor.net, and is available digitally on iTunes, Spotify and Pandora.
You can also catch Taylor live, playing the jazz piano every Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Chinook Winds Casino Hotel restaurant.
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