Through introspective cabin retreats, emerging NYC-based singer/songwriter Taylor Bradshaw has honed in on his personal voice as an artist. During that time, he feels he has finally found his cohesive artistic vision, and has created a full length album that shifts to a soulful brand of indie folk-pop. Bradshaw’s music is not only self-expression for him, but he hopes to help others process their own emotions through his songs, bringing catharsis to both him and his listeners.
Releasing his admittedly “all over the place” debut album Twine in February 2020, he squeezed in a bunch of high-profile DIY house parties and club shows (including a big release party at Littlefield in Brooklyn) with some high energy full band rocking. At every gig he played, he realized that despite the high intensity of his show overall, the two tunes that seemed to resonate most with his audiences (mostly the folks in the back of the room, he laughs) were the softer acoustic ballads “Twine” and especially “Laura,” which currently has more than 150,000 streams on Spotify. He started feeling that this vibe best reflected his truest, most authentic voice as an artist. Since then, he has focused his writing sessions on the indie folk style that includes a lot of beautiful atmospheric touches, thoughtful and heartfelt storytelling and, when the emotion calls for it, his stunning falsetto.
Bradshaw’s instincts regarding his new style were confirmed with a series of post-lockdown shows at an underground speakeasy in NYC, where he presented some of the acoustic songs he had been developing in a low pressure environment of encouraging supporters. “People love to rock out and party for sure,” he says, “but what really captures them is singing a song with a story they can relate to.” His songwriting pace accelerated this past winter when he gathered his recording equipment and hightailed it to the Catskills upstate for a dedicated creative retreat.
Fully immersed in the natural surroundings with no outside distractions, he didn’t quite meet his goal of writing a song a day, but he sparked a dynamic wave of great tunes that continued in the months after he returned to his digs in Harlem. One of the songs he wrote up in the woods, “The Final Night,” is sure to make the final tracking on his currently in the works followup album. Bradshaw, who self-produced Twine, is working with an outside producer for the first time, traveling up every few weeks to Bethel Woods, NY (home of the Woodstock Festival) to work with Julian Giaimo, whose specialty is indie singer/songwriter and bluegrass artists. Bradshaw appreciated his “acoustic mind and songwriter vibe” and the way he is helping the singer hone his craft, guide the recording process and pick the best songs for the project.
Bradshaw has whittled the possibilities for the album down to 20 songs from countless more and is engaging with his most engaged fans via social media, messaging and texting for input into the creative process. He counts his personal influences as everyone from Johnny Cash and Simon and Garfunkel to contemporary alt country greats Tyler Childers and Zach Brian and singer/songwriters Keaton Henson and Frank Turner. But he always asks his fans who they are listening to and enjoys being turned on to new artists all the time.
“I want to help other people process what’s going on in their lives through creativity and self-expression,” Bradshaw says. “Hearing someone else process their emotions and sharing their journey is a remarkably therapeutic action. I want to feel these emotions and process them through creativity, rather than letting them sit bottled up inside. And I want to facilitate that catharsis in others. I will continuously try new creative pursuits and share the journey. Everything can be learned, and I want my audience to feel that they too can participate. I’m excited that I am finally focusing on my own authentic musical style. My first album was fun to make, but now I’m really focused on what feels right for me – which offers me a greater opportunity for musical storytelling that connects with people.”
“Taylor Bradshaw blissfully used his down time to take stock of his developing artistry, listening and responding to an inner creative voice that told him that the great audience responses to his acoustic ballads – even in an otherwise rockin’ show – were wisely pointing him in an inspiring new direction. While his debut album Twine was a solid, multi-faceted showcase for an artist finding his way, Bradshaw’s new, all acoustic material reflects the kind of focus, maturity, storytelling and intimate, ethereal vocal sparkle that is bound to set him on a more powerful and fulfilling trajectory as an indie folk artist in the years to come. Besides offering him the opportunity to share his amazing lyrics and the range of his voice, the songs he ultimately has on his sophomore album will be in part chosen by the fans that love him best. This shows that he’s an artist that isn’t just there to entertain his audience but develop a long-lasting relationship with them. It will be exciting to see the impact of Bradshaw’s beautiful new vibe in the coming years.” – Jonathan Widran