Renaissance, Man. Caught up with Johnny Taylor III, a.k.a. Taylor Made By The God on his latest release Valley Drive.
Listen closely to Johnny Taylor’s debut full-length album under his new moniker Taylor Made By the God and you’ll notice the voice on Valley Drive is of someone who’s done the internal work. This is hard to do for many in general, let alone this year, and to make it happen when you’re coming from the ground up with the goal to remain a wholly independent artist, you need to know how to preserve. As a filmmaker, who has spent most of life working multiple jobs to aid my creative efforts, I understand, and Taylor delivers an overview of how it’s going with point-blank insight.
There’s something very chic and very boutique about Valley Drive and Taylor the artist, and I’m not just referring to the fact that Taylor is also a literal fashion designer (see: Look At her Dance and Signature Garment). It’s a cinematic record, which leaves much anticipation for what’s in store for Taylor Made Television, and at 27 minutes, it’s a sharp read. But what I love most about Taylor’s music is the space left for contemplation, outstanding on tracks like Exactly and 6 Months Later.
Airy from the Intro, we land on an old school track to set the course, welcome a little distraction, remain on track, take stock of our unique place in our space, try to heal some lingering wounds, and “arrive” at a harmonious Outro into whatever’s next that at any other point in time might feel like an ominous end to such a self-assured record, but in this case? fits perfectly for “these times”.
ID: Tell us about the process of making this album.
JT: I just took my time. Living more in the moment helped a lot. Life outside of work got tough to balance. When I got right I got back. I love film, so I’m always producing like it’s for a premiere. Writing became natural with going through life. I recorded most of the album in West Chester before the pandemic. When COVID hit it unlocked something. That time away from work created more space to produce. Re-recorded some of the album, added some songs & gave it the art it deserved. I made this album with some of the best energy around, so when you get away take Valley Drive.
ID: What’s up next?
JT: I’m working on another project (Cæm 4 D.R.U.G.S.) for next year. Very different. Taylor Made Television just launched on Instagram. More on that soon. ALLNIGHT R&B Mix Vol. 2 on the way. More visuals & art work coming. Love You Right film in theaters soon.
ID: Anything else you’d like us to know?
JT: Pay attention.
ID: Finally! What tracks / albums have been on loop for you this year?
JT: Snoh Aalegra’s last album hasn’t left my rotation.
Ari Lennox bodied “Bussit”.
“Side PonyTail” by Big Bank Beisha.
“Palm Angels” by Armani Caesar.
“Hit Different” by SZA, because finally.
Noname’s “Song 33”.
I love Jhené Aiko’s “On The Way”.
Marsha’s contribution to The Game’s “I Didn’t Wanna Write This Song” gets me every time.
The Intro to Chloe x Halle’s “Ungodly Hour”
Victoria Monet’ “Jaguar”
Theophilus London “Bebey”
Brent [Faiyaz]’s last album
Freddie Gibbs “Alfredo”
& a lot of Griselda.