Meet Mike Taylor, West Philly’s Electrifying Fresh Prince
The up-and-coming musician chopped it up with VIBE about his sound, style and influence.
The stage is set for the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, and for Rostrum Records signee Mike Taylor, the opportunity to be invited to the most famous venue in the world, Madison Square Garden, is a feeling that is surely indescribable for someone who was just signed earlier this year.
Taylor, who was nominated at this year’s ceremony for “Best Electronic Video” thanks to his contributions on Afrojack’s hit “SummerThing!” saunters down the white carpet with a smile brighter than his pink-colored duster coat, which could barely reach the ground due to the singer’s towering appearance.
“I don’t think I’ve ever missed a VMA on TV, and now I’m here!” he gushes. “It’s really crazy.”
Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Taylor like most musicians developed his love for music at a young age. Big names from the Motown era such as Earth, Wind & Fire, Rick James and Michael Jackson are listed at the helm of his inspirations.
“I think Motown, Berry Gordy, Rick James are some of the best to do it, ever,” he grins. “Rick James is my favorite rockstar on the planet still!” I note that I can see a little bit of Rick James in him because like James, his hairstyle is both exciting and eccentric.
After moving to Los Angeles in 2011 and becoming a nightlife staple, he was able to work with DJ Vice for his song “World Is Our Playground” in 2013, and was featured at Mad Decent’s Block Party. In 2015, “SummerThing!” landed in the top 10 on Billboard’s dance charts, and success has continued to come Taylor’s way.
His newest single “Electric Church” fuses a thumping bass with a gospel, pop and electronic feel. “Let the spirit into your soul, let this music into your body,” he sings right before a feel-good drop that basically warrants a dance party.
His flavor comes from styles he was brought up on, such as soul and gospel, and to keep the energy going for fans of his sound, he weaves in elements of EDM and pop.
“I’m always grounded in soul music, because I think that most music and its elements come from soul,” he notes. When creating songs like his Gladius- produced joint “Body High,” Taylor reveals he uses personal experiences and perspective to come up with feel-good tunes for everyone to enjoy.
One of the biggest goals for Taylor is to make music that transcends genre and race, especially in this tough times, because he believes all we need to achieve togetherness is commonality.
“The first thing that we do is to bring people together, to have a collective consciousness and conversation,” he explains. “So you bring people together, and then we start talking about action and moving forward as a community and as humanity. That’s where we can start- we can make something that starts that really healthy conversation amongst different kinds of people through all walks of life.”