Photographer: Araya Doheny Photography
Hair & Make Up: Allison Noelle

Taylor McIntosh is a singer-songwriter (and dancer!) with a passion for all things music. Experimenting on the guitar or the piano and coming up with unique music videos for his singles are passions that have brought him to work with renowned musicians and producers. We caught up with Taylor to ask him about his music, including his latest release, “Clair in the Moonlight,” a track inspired by his family.

Showstopper Magazine Online: What drew you to music? How would you describe your songwriting style and/or process?

Taylor McIntosh: While I’ve always loved music and considered it a big part of my life, songwriting was what ultimately got me obsessed with music. I didn’t even write my first song until I was 16. I hadn’t even tried singing. When I was younger, I tried, but I always thought I wasn’t terrific and always thought of being good at singing as something you are born with naturally.

The crazy part is I don’t know why I decided to write a song; I think deep down, I always felt like maybe I could but was just too scared even to try. Which is silly because why be scared to try something? My dad is a songwriter, so maybe seeing him write and sing growing up made me feel like I could do that. He has been a big inspiration for me and my songwriting, as well as good competition. Songwriting doesn’t have a straightforward process; anything can be used for inspiration.

Songwriting doesn’t have a straightforward process; anything can be used for inspiration.

Often, I think of a song title or an idea, which helps get the ball rolling. Then the next time, I’m messing around on the guitar or piano and come up with a cool melody. Even movies and TV have inspired me. Also, having a person you can bounce ideas off has been a fantastic way to create good songs and learn as well. Collaborating with my dad has been fun, and it’s something most songwriters and musicians don’t get to experience. Although there is something unique about writing a song by yourself, it can be very meditative and reflective.

SMO: Your new single “Clair in The Moonlight” just released a couple of weeks ago. What made you want to create a song based on Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune”?

TM: The piano has been a big part of my life; when I was younger, my parents put me in lessons. That’s where my love for music started to grow. I had a rough relationship with the piano because I quickly began not to enjoy playing anymore. It became a chore rather than something fun to do. Even though I was losing love for the piano, my parents pushed me to keep playing and find new ways to practice and enjoy.

Through that process, I found classical music. Even a period in my life where I was obsessed with classical music, [and it] was the only music I would listen to most days. However, there was one song that my family always talked about and was their favorite, “Clair de Lune.” My grandma was always telling me to learn “Clair de Lune” because it was her favorite piece.

There was one song that my family always talked about and was their favorite, “Clair de Lune.”

It became a goal of mine to one day learn how to play it, which I ended up doing! The sad and hilarious part is I forgot how to play it, but I could play it for my grandma one time, at the very least. One night, the idea came to me in a spur-of-the-moment divine universe kind of thing, and I knew that I had to write a song incorporating “Clair de Lune,” which became a love song with a story based around “Clair de Lune.”

SMO:Do you have a favorite line from “Clair in The Moonlight”?

TM: The first line in the song is one of my favorites because it is a small acknowledgment to Claude Debussy, who composed “Clair de Lune.” “We were singing in the moonlight; Debussy couldn’t even tell us why.” Another great line is in the bridge, and it has fun wordplay that gives the nod to classical music and helping create the sort of spacey atmosphere I was going for. “We could make this love a classic, all the planets could align.”

SMO: You’ve released several songs in 2021. How do you think “Clair in The Moonlight” fits in with your other work from this year?

TM: I think this song is perfect because it is so different from the other songs I’ve released. One of my last songs, “Money On Your Deathbed (feat. Richie Sambora),” had way more of a rock feel, with some hip hop and pop elements. Having a rock legend like Richie feature on one of my songs was an absolute dream come true. Having someone like Richie shred on one of your songs gives you total bragging rights to your friends. One of my other releases, “Sorry Comes Too Easy,” had more of a live-band pop feel which I think gave it a unique sound but still felt modern and for the times. That was one of my personal favorites I’ve released.  It tells a clear and vivid story that we all can relate to. Right now is the perfect time for “Clair” to be released because it has a total summer vibe. It feels like a song you could dance to on the beach or blast while driving on the freeway, in a convertible with the top down.

I think [“Clair in the Moonlight”] is perfect because it is so different from the other songs I’ve released.

SMO: What/who has been your biggest musical inspiration this year?

TM: That is a tricky question because there are so many people and things that have inspired me. First and foremost, my dad has been my biggest inspiration in my music career and in the process of trying to be a good man. One of my fondest memories is when I was little. Instead of asking my Dad to sing me a lullaby, I would always ask him to sing me one of the songs he had written. It was one of his songs that showed me the emotion that music can inflict on a person. He sang me a song that was so touching I cried! Which had never happened to me before. John Mayer has become one of my all-time favorite artists this year. He is truly an incredible songwriter who understands the art of conveying a story through words and sound. One of my favorite records by him is “Still Feel Like Your man.” Bob Marley has also quickly become one of my favorite artists and writers ever! “Waiting in Vain” is one of the best songs I have ever listened to. I think what makes his music so unique is it instantly puts you in a mood. The moment his music starts playing, you feel like you’ve been transported to another space which is just truly amazing.

SMO: You’re also a dancer. Do you bring your breakdancing and songwriting together in any of your projects?

TM: The closest I get to combining dance with songwriting is if I write a song to make it more of a dance track, but there is another way I can combine music with dance. If I’m doing a music video, I frequently include some dance moves, and if I’m performing, I can dance. My breakdance crew and I competed on World Of Dance, which was on national television. What’s kind of funny is that there was a period where we were considering doing a dance where I would be singing, which would have been fantastic. Ultimately, we decided against that, but I think it could have been incredible, especially since Jlo and Ne-Yo were there.

Why settle when you can achieve something incredible?

SMO: What are your goals for your music in 2021?

TM: My biggest goal is to build up my fan base and create a community where we all can connect. My supporters are so amazing, and they bring me so much joy. They make me want to work harder, I want to make music that they love to listen to, as well to tell stories we can all relate to. I think it’s incredible that I can talk about my experiences and how my supporters relate and understand and connect to my music. I’m trying to write and make music every day, and I think the goal for this year is trying to get a song on the radio. It’s a very tough goal, but why settle when you can achieve something incredible? I also want to start performing more now that live music is starting to come back. Performing live is where I feel the freest. It’s a space where everyone can connect through song together and enjoy entertaining others. Finally, I have one more goal for not just this year, but I [have wanted] to collaborate with the Biebs for probably many years! Justin Bieber is one of my inspirations, and I think it would be so dope to be able to collaborate with him on a record.

Taylor’s new song, “Clair in the Moonlight” is streaming now on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and more. You can keep up with him @taylordmcintosh on Instagram!

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Veronica Good has been with Showstopper Magazine since 2016. When she isn't keeping you updated on the latest trends, she is at home with her many pets or probably playing The Sims 4. Veronica has a BA in English and an MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, and her work can be found in Archarios, Tempo, and Scapegoat.