Columbia College Chicago senior CUP (Contemporary, Urban, & Popular Music) major Liam Taylor has seen his music career take off in no small part to a mix of talent, collaborating with others, building his experience through performances at Columbia, and his ability to pivot on a dime to seek new opportunities.
A native of Dallas, TX and a graduate of Booker T. Washington HSPVA, a performing arts high school where he had a focus in theater, Liam began his ascent into music at a very young age. “I started playing classical piano at the age of 5 until I was about 10 years old. As far as singing, I’ve been singing all my life. I was a huge musical theater kid, so I have seemingly always been on stage. I didn’t start taking singing and songwriting seriously though until my later years of high school.”
Having a strong support system or “tribe,” that will encourage, and support one’s endeavors is extremely important to success in any industry. For Liam, his friends played a significant role in his growth as an artist. “I remember the first song I wrote, I showed to my friends during lunch. Their reactions were incredibly supportive, gassing me up, and telling me I should consider taking this seriously.”
When looking at colleges, Columbia College Chicago was the clear choice in Liam’s mind for several reasons. According to Liam, “Quite honestly, the CUP (Contemporary, Urban, and Popular music) program was what stood out to me. Lots of music schools in the States focus on classical music and theory, but I wanted a program that was geared toward contemporary and modern music. Plus, I learned I would get lessons in songwriting and producing, and that sealed the deal. Also, the second I visited Chicago after my acceptance, I knew Columbia, and Chicago in general, was going to become my new home.”
At Columbia, Liam has excelled in the classroom while also playing gigs in and around the school. In December 2021, he was one of the musical performers for the “After, After, After Party,” an event that benefitted the efforts of the school radio station WCRXFM, in assisting the Greater Chicago Food Depository, a food pantry program that provides free food to people struggling with hunger. Additionally, he is the featured artist on this week’s WCRXFM’s Sessions @33, which he was privileged to participate in. “I was blown away. Gagged! I was so honored to be chosen to perform. And months after recording it, I realized how lucky I was to be a part of the entire process! This series is EXTREMELY important for students. I legitimately got an entire 20-minute performance recorded in such high definition, with a beautiful audio mix as well. It’s not every day that independent artists get an opportunity to have a high-quality performance they can share with the world!”
In terms of his musical and writing style, Liam finds inspiration from a wide range of areas. “Sonically, I love artists like Amber Mark, Remi Wolf, Steve Lacy, Kali Uchis, all groovy R&B vibes. I also get inspired, not only by my own life events, but the stories of others. Music is telling stories with different pitches, so I always try to include inspiration from my surroundings.”
This semester Liam is honing his craft overseas by studying music design at the Pop Akademie in Germany, which has further solidified his future goals. “It’s been such an eye-opening experience, and in my two weeks here I’ve been able to play with such fantastic musicians. When I come back, I am graduating, and I was recently employed by one of the biggest cover bands in Chicago, Greenlight. So those are some of my plans for 2023. I’m also releasing my debut EP, “how’d i get here,” before the end of the year! I am excited to share that body of work with the world. From here on out, just more and more music to come! And after graduation, my producer, Sam Vallianatos, and I might move to LA or Europe. We're just excited to see where this journey takes us.”
Sessions @33 is a brand-new series featuring Columbia College Chicago music artists performing a 4-song set in an intimate performance space at WCRXFM, Columbia’s very own radio station. In addition to the artists getting exposure, students from various departments . Please support these fantastic up-n-coming artists, as well as the collaborative efforts of the students involved behind the scenes, by watching sessions on YouTube, as well as listening to the podcast version on either Apple or Stitcher.