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Artist Spotlight: Gianni Taylor is R&B’s next sensation

You heard it here first: Hollywood transplant Gianni Taylor is your new R&B obsession. Currently holding down a stellar opening gig for Marc E. Bassy on the Gossip Columns Tour, Taylor is ready to bring his silky vocals and honest lyrics to new audiences across the country and around the world. Despite his self-professed nerves before his set, Taylor won the room with a few short bars, setting the tone for a fantastic night. Atlas sat down with this rising star before his Arizona show on Saturday to talk about his start in music, Andre 3000 and the master plan for the future.

Where are you from and what got you started in music?

I’m from Chicago, IL. As far as getting started with music- when I was in high school, I got a Mac computer for my birthday and I was just messing around on GarageBand with a few of my friends and we ended up just making a bunch of songs. They were terrible but we had a lot of fun making them and eventually we burned them onto these CDs and would sell them at school. We made like $300 a piece off of them so it was like ‘alright, this is kind of cool, we had fun making this and actually made money doing it.’ Let me just see how good I can get at it. We just kept trying to find ways to get better and better and ended up falling in love with making music so here I am now.

Where do you draw your musical inspiration from?

Literally everything. It could be as small as being at a store and overhearing a conversation or if it’s a phrase that sticks out more than something else that someone says in a conversation. Experiences that I’ve been through, experiences that my friends have been through- I kind of just draw from whatever. I love making music and writing it — I write like 3 songs a day — just because it’s therapeutic for me, but I draw it from wherever I can.

You’ve released several songs in the last few months. Are you working on an album right now?

Not necessarily an album. In the future for sure but right now I’m just focused on making singles and just trying to release the best and the most honest music that I can.

Who’s your dream collaboration?

Oh that’s so tough- maybe Pharrell or Andre 3000. Andre 3000 was actually one of the first artists where it was like okay, I would love to do music and be an artist. I saw the “Hey Ya” video before I would go to school and I was like ‘oh my god this is so sick.’ I love that kind of stuff. Childish Gambino is also a huge influence of mine- I think he’s dope. The fact that he can just win a Grammy and then turn around and win an Oscar- that’s cool to me. I would love to expand beyond music someday. Those kind of artists are awesome to me.

What does the big picture look like for you? What’s the master plan?

I want to sell out arenas one day and I want to do it with my best friends. Everything that we’ve done so far has all been organic. Everyone that I travel with, everyone that I work with is all a friend first and then we end up working together and I plan to keep it that way. I don’t think that I have to change and I want to prove that.

Story by Olivia Khiel