When Jessica Taylor performed on stage with a band for the first time she reveled in the energy and a connection unlike any she has experienced anywhere else.
Except perhaps at Mason.
Taylor is a freshman music technology major at George Mason and is a University Scholar in Mason’s Honors College.
With 100,000 streams on Spotify, Taylor is on a fast track to her goal of a successful career in the music industry. She sees her time at Mason as an opportunity to advance her skills as a singer, songwriter and producer by taking courses in music theory, keyboard playing and voice lessons.
“I’m really excited to get to use the awesome practice rooms and further myself and my music,” said the Greensboro, North Carolina, native. “I genuinely think that classes are going to help me, and they will be challenging.”
Taylor said these courses will supplement her creativity.
“Voice lessons will help for live performances and being able to just control my voice; keyboard instruction will enable me to study sheet music and play the piano more professionally and efficiently; and music theory cover notes and scales, and just helps your music be more unique and complex,” Taylor said.
“My songs span a lot of genres because I’m still figuring out what I like best,” said Taylor. “I don’t prioritize lyrics or a chorus. If everything sounds good and has a groove to it, then I’m happy with it.”
Taylor said her biggest musical influence right now is Still Woozy, a pop artist who she said makes catchy tunes. Woozy’s music inspired Taylor by encouraging her to “embrace the idea that music can be abstract and you can still get across the point, and feel more freed.”
There are plenty of other musicians who inspire Taylor, namely Jon Bellion, Taylor Swift, and her supportive dad, a guitarist/bassist who sings and writes music just like Taylor.
“Jon Bellion has been an inspiration of mine for a long time, since eighth grade, because he also self-produces,” said Taylor. “He just uses his voice as an instrument and makes music you want to move to.”
Taylor began her musical journey in fourth grade, writing songs as a way to express herself. Her songwriting led to discoveries in producing. Eventually, she started producing in the sixth or seventh grade on GarageBand, a digital audio workspace mobile app.
Prior to coming to Mason, Taylor attended Weaver Academy, a performing and visual arts high school in North Carolina.
“I auditioned for music production there, and got in. From then on, songwriting and producing were intertwined,” said Taylor. “I was able to record my vocals over the tracks and put the two pieces of the puzzle together.”
Taylor said college life has been an adjustment.
“It has been the biggest emotional roller-coaster because I’m five and a half hours away from my family and we are really close,” said Taylor. “I’m really missing them, but it’s a lot of freedom. And it’s been fun to meet new people.”