Interview: Toronto's Juvon Taylor

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(Ed Note: On July 15, 2013, I walked into the Aroma Espresso to meet with Juvon Taylor. I buy my London Fog and make my way to the comfy-cushion chairs where the 21-year-old, 6-ft something, is sitting comfortably with his guitar. I came across his material on instagram, where he had a video of him doing a rendition of Tyrese's 'Sweet Lady'. The moment I met Juvon, the instant that we acknowledged each other, was the moment I knew that I was about to interview a young star.) You've brought your guitar! Of course, this is my best friend haha.

That's awesome. Based on your live performances I can see how that could be, you two are inseparable! So tell how this all came about. It started off when I was at a subway station playing the guitar very modestly before I entered the train. Melanie Fiona was with Robert Rathe, and she said that she liked the way I sounded and I didn't even recognize her. We talked and she got my contacts, and Robert ended up getting me in touch with a couple of managers, as well as contacts, at Universal. Eventually he introduced me to Mark Pellizzer, who does it all. He is a producer, songwriter, guitarist, pianist, he literally does it all. He works closely with The Messengers and he got a cut with Chris Brown called Don't Judge Me and My Inner Ninja with The Classifieds. We started to bang out all my songs and we have been working together since then.

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So is Mark your manager? No, we work together. The whole manager concept is iffy, it can either make you or break you. You just need to have a team that you trust. I am young. I am working on getting a team, that is more important to me.

How was your visit at Universal? It was Ok. It solidified for me that I don't want to go to a label. Not right now anyways. I am comfortable with my music and my fans speaking for me, not a label telling me stuff I don't want to hear.

I have creeped your music, and based on what I've heard from your work, you dabble in Hip Hop, R&B, and Folk. Which of the three do you enjoy the most? It is interesting. What I like performing is R&B. What I like to listen to is Folk, Death Metal, Rock, and elements of Hip Hop. I personally don't like listening to R&B. I consider my self an alternative R&B artist, so elements of other genres inside an R&B voice. That's how I view it.

Is there a reason why you don't like R&B? I feel like where R&B was too corny. Stylistically the writing was not up to par and very basic and juvenile. I looked up to K-Ci & JoJo and Keith Sweat growing up. But for me as Juvon Taylor, I liked to definitely bring something different. My writing style is based on real experiences in my life and I want to communicate to my fans in a different manner, instead of the usual boy and girl fall in love/out of love story. I really like to go more in depth with my stories.

Since you have been writing all your life, how has your writing style grown with you over the years? I have been writing for all my life. It started off with a journal and eventually moved towards rhymes and raps. I started to develop my voice when I was 14 and decided to lean towards singing rather than rapping.

Speaking of singing, you have done a bunch of covers that can be found on YouTube and you have a fairly large following on them as well. My personal favorite is Chris Brown's She Aint You. Which of the covers that you did spoke most closely to you? Crawl by Chris Brown. Not sure why.

Do you feel like you relate to Chris brown? I liked him a lot when I was younger and when he was younger as well. Lately I have not been a fan cause his genre is constantly changing and isn’t consistent. Its funny because I was just in L.A and didn't realize that the people I was working with down there, The Messengers, actually wrote that song.

Whhhatttt! I told them I did a cover and it was a surreal moment. They started listing off all these songs that they had written and I was like HOLY CRAP!

That's insane! What were you doing in L.A? I was finishing my EP King of Hearts, that will be out this year, and trying to break into the writing scene to work with The Messengers. They are from Toronto as well, but stationed out of L.A.

How many songs can we expect on the EP? It is only going to be five songs, but I’ve recorded about 50. There is a story to my EP and I wanted to make it short and sweet. The love I am getting from Toronto so far is nuts. I am so grateful. I can't imagine what will actually happen when I start releasing stuff. I have only been doing shows since November and it has been crazy.

Check out Juvon at the Hard Rock Cafe on August 30th. Beast mode!

Figure It Out, Del

ISCREAMMUSICDel Mahabadi