Shawn Taylor, is a phenomenal singer and songwriter from a rich lineage of musical legends including funk-man Rick James, Opera singer Jessie Norman and gospel music pioneer Lonnie Norman.
The Younger Years
Like most singers Shawn’s start was in the church, but it was his kindergarten teacher that first noticed his natural ability to sing. Because of his teacher, his parents decided to admit Shawn into the LAUSD Gifted & Exchange Program where he received four years of formal training in vocal performance, drama and theatre (1993-1997). If it weren’t for this training, he doesn’t believe he’d have the love and passion for music and performing arts that he has right now.
In 1999, Shawn’s dad introduced him to Douglas Anderson School of the Performing Arts in Jacksonville, FL. A vocal performance major, he was introduced to music theory and received formal training in vocal performance. He then transferred and became a part of the music department at Englewood High School (2000). While there, he decided to join The Ritz Voices, a local all-city youth choir under the leadership of Deborah McDuffie (2002). Because of this experience, Shawn had the opportunity to sing behind artists such as Barry Manilow, John Secada, Peabo Bryson, Jody Watley and Damaris Carbaugh. In summer of 2003, Shawn and The Ritz Voices competed in the McDonald’s Gospelfest and performed in an Ashford & Simpson Tribute Show, both of which were held in New York, New York. Furthermore, Shawn competed as a finalist in the NAACP ACT-So competition, held in Miami, FL which he ranked top 10 out of almost 90 contestants.
Starting out as a Vocal Performance major, Shawn’s college career was pretty awesome in that he obtained a music scholarship at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (2003). Proudly, he became a member of the Tour Choir, which as a freshman was not an easy feat. During the same year, he was cast as an ensemble member in the Broadway musical “Ragtime”, which was produced by and held at the University of Alabama.