If talent were computed by association alone, then it would be understandable why Shawnee Taylor is as blessed as she is. Born to A-list professional musicians and a house music recording artist since the age of 16, not only does Shawnee work with a who's who in the world of dance such as (her label head) Erick Morillo, Jose Nunez, Todd Terry and more. In fact, while proud to be house music's diva, she is recording her own album on Subliminal Records.
Needless to say with the overflow of talent she possesses universal acclaim is seems almost a formality. Subliminal Records' Erick Morillo knows he's fortunate to have her.
"She's the best!" he enthuses. "I mean with a talent like hers how can you go wrong? The thing that impresses me most about Shawnee Taylor is not only does she have a great voice but she is a kick ass writer and a wonderful person too. A triple threat. And that's rare in this business. It's usually one or the other."
Music is in Shawnee's blood, literally. Born in LA but raised in the vibrant melting pot that is New York's Hell's Kitchen, Shawnee's father, as jazz bassist, paid the rent by playing in chat show king Johnnie Carson's band while her mother sang with the legendary John Coltrane and dapper crooner Lou Rawls. When her parents weren't practicing themselves, the house was never silent as Ella Fitzgerald, Chaka Khan, Nina Simone and others took up the slack, belting classic after classic from the Taylor family record player.
Her schooling only served to germinate the seeds of talent that were planted at home. While in boarding school she became musically proficient, learning how to read, write and arrange in classical, opera, jazz and choral while her theater coach helped nurture her dynamic stage presence. At Hampton University in Virginia she shone in a nationally renowned gospel choir.
It was during a weekend break from boarding school that Shawnee ran into DJ Romain who heard the teenager casually singing a tune in a Manhattan record store. That chance meeting led to Shawnee's weekly trips home to record. Through Romain, her retinue of producers increased to include Todd Terry, Roland Clarke and Michael Moog amongst others and non-stop writing and background work that saw her through her college years.
It was Shawnee's work on the Tanagachicks' remix of "Brasil Over Zurich" featuring Dimitri and Tom that first acquainted her with Erick Morillo. By the time she had sung on Richard Grey's "Do What You Wanna Do" and "Set You Free" by Todd Terry, Morillo knew that Shawnee Taylor was more than just a session singer. She was a solo star and by signing her to an album deal on Subliminal Records he aimed to prove the point.
"I only write about things I know, things I've experienced" states Shawnee and I think that makes for a better song and better performance from me. There's no concept for the album (to be released on Subliminal Records summer of 2003 with tracks produced by Erick Morillo, Jose Nunez, Todd Gardner, Al MacDowell, Harry “Choo Choo” Romero and Si Storer) other than
the fact that I want it to be indicative of who I am musically and personally.
“You can also expect to hear elements of jazz, mid-tempo R&B, loungy stuff, and some darker things. I want to push the envelope. I may be a "dance music artist" but the bottom line is that I'm an artist and that means unlike a lot of producer driven music the personality of the person singing will be totally reflected in every second of every track."