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Blog

TAYLOR MCFERRIN - IMPROVISATION IS THE KEY

dean chew

Taylor McFerrin's taste in music is deeply rooted in hip hop as he grew up listening to a lot of hip hop producers such as DJ Premier and Madlib. Over time – while developing his own sound – he also got more and more into 60s and 70s soul, rock and Brazilian music. Despite being an 'electronic live act', McFerrin's sets keep the spirit of Jazz alive through extensive improvisation and an overall soulful feel. We are extremely excited to welcome him to our stage at SingJazz Festival 2016.

When and where to catch Taylor McFerrin?

Friday, 4 March 2016, 9:00 p.m. at Marina Bay Sands

For more info, feel free to check the SingJazz Festival website.

No tickets yet?

No need to worry, head over to the SingJazz Festival site to get your tickets and more info. Advanced tickets for the opening night on Friday, 4 March can already be purchased for SGD 85.

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For the ones who haven't heard of you yet, what should they know about you? Who is Taylor McFerrin?

That’s always a hard question to answer. I’m a producer first and foremost, meaning I play most of the instruments. On my instrumental music that I create, I also am a singer and performer.

I grew up listening to a lot of hip hop producers like DJ Premier with Wu Tang Clan, and Madlib, so those are really my inspirations to become a hip hop producer. But as I developed my sound I ended up getting more and more into 60s and 70s soul, rock, and Brazilian music. And I decided that instead of sampling I wanted to play my own instruments. I like to play everything on my records, but then I turn it into a modern day production. I think that you can look at the people that I’m kind of associated with, like with my label and my friends: Flying Lotus and Thundercat, or Hiatus Kaiyote. We’re all kind of a part of a soul music renaissance who are keeping that spirit going. But, also kind of keeping that modern version based on the hip hop and electronic production that’s involved ground up. I’m an artist that’s living in a different world and I’m just trying to bring a take on it to my albums and live shows.

You collaborated with Nai Palm, singer of Australian band Hiatus Kaiyote. The band is also part of our curated line-up for the SingJazz Festival. Are you looking forward to share the stage with them again in March? And what do you think of the other acts?

Yeah they’re really good friends of mine. I met them a long time ago when they were just starting out as a band. We shared a gig together and I actually ended up sharing their music with a lot of DJs that helped to get them out there like Gilles Peterson and DJs in LA. ‘Cause when I met them, I think they’d only been playing for 7 months as a band, but I knew all of my friends would absolutely love their music.

We have a really special connection; I really met them when they were starting out and tried to really help get their music out there, ‘cause I knew they were going to be a really big band. Because of that, we’ve really stayed friends, so it was really easy to hit up Nai Palm and ask her to be on my record. She actually recorded her vocals the first time she came to New York, I got really lucky!

BBNG is playing too, right? I think they’re really good, too. I don’t have a friendship with them, but I definitely know their music. I’m really excited to see their set. I’ve seen a few YouTube videos and it seems amazing. I heard their production and what they did with Ghostface and some other stuff as well, so I’m really excited to see them live – I have a feeling it’s going to be great.

Your dream collaboration?

That’s tough. The way that I make music is that I usually make everything on my own and then I start thinking of who I want to jump on and work with. I’ve always wanted to work with Erykah Badu, so I can say that that will be a dream collaboration. We have a lot of mutual friends, so it might not be impossible. I’m going to try to reach out to her at some point, that looks definitely up there.

What are you doing when you are not making music?

I’m really into sports! I watch a lot of basketball, probably too much actually. Lebron James is my favourite player, but I also just love the game so much. I’m usually watching out for most of the great players and teams. I’ve moved around a lot as a kid to different cities, so I never really had a basketball team that I follow my whole life. I just kind of gravitate towards all the best players. I watch football, too. I’m married, so you know, I’m home watching TV with my wife most of the time, or we go out and try to enjoy LA and the beach, or go hiking. Most of my time is spent doing music.

What are you currently listening to and what was your favourite record in 2015?

My favourite two records were definitely To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus’s You’re Dead. Oh, but that came out the year before. So Kendrick Lamar is number one.

Right now, there’s a guy called Anderson Paak who put out an album called Malibu last week that’s record of the year so far.

And what do you have in store for your performance at SingJazz?

When I perform songs from my record I like to switch it up from how it is on the album. I kind of do live remix versions of my songs, where I take parts of the songs. I do a lot of improvisation around the music, so every show - people come to - will always be different. I like to improvise a lot, I have that very old school 70s soul vibe. But, sometimes I also like to have the crazy beats. I try to adapt to the crowd, really, the kind of energy I’m feeling,  and let myself take on the life or the tone depending on the energy of the space and the audience.