Western alum receives a big 'slice of pie'

John Tayles a winner in online music competition

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

John Tayles

WOULD YOU STOP FOLLOWING ME? Western alum John Tayles always keeps one step ahead of his competition. Corny jokes aside, the skill has come in handy as he recently won a competition for cold hard cash to put toward recording time.

Western boasts some of the most talented students in the arts. This week, singer/songwriter and Western alum, John Tayles, takes the spotlight.

Despite his efforts not to play music, John Tayles has been doing so since age six.

“I wanted to quit all the time ... but my dad said I couldn’t make any decisions on that until I was 16,” Tayles says. “I’ve played piano since I was little, ’til I decided to pick up the guitar when I was 13. By the time I was 16, I was writing and playing both guitar and piano pieces.”

Tayles also won the lead role in his high school’s production of West Side Story and worked with a vocal coach to develop his full range and singing abilities.

Now, Tayles is more than happy his father kept him involved with music. Despite a short stint in Los Angeles to hone his songwriting abilities and practice in the studio recording demos, Tayles lacked experience entertaining a crowd. Still, he managed to score a few gigs at Western’s bars.

“I played at the Wave several times, but what really got me exposed was playing at Jack’s,” Tayles says. “To have the crowd sing every single word I was singing and being totally one with the crowd " it really got me out of my shell.”

With those performances, Tayles laid the foundation for his career. He met producer Michael Tompkins, otherwise known as Mikey T, through a mutual friend.

“The thing about Mikey T is that he’s really great in the studio ... really passionate and he knows his stuff,” Tayles explains.

Having worked with other producers, Tayles felt his previously recorded demos and songs didn’t turn out the way he wanted. With Mikey T co-producing, Tayles feels the four songs they’ve completed so far for his still-untitled debut album really showcase “what is [him].”

This is especially important for Tayles, who is described as having an “authentic, heart-on-his-sleeve writing style.” He finally feels he’s making music that is honest to him.

It’s Tayles’ heart-on-his-sleeve nature that is making it hard for him to hide his excitement.

On Sunday he was declared the winner in SliceThePie.com’s showcase competition. SliceThePie.com is a website that showcases over 6,000 bands and singers, allowing fans and labels to fund artists they enjoy.

Tayles will receive $30,000 to promote, record and develop his music, but there’s a catch: he must release an album within the next six months.

Tayles is more than ready to take on this challenge, as he’s been in the studio with Mikey T completing his album on and off since May.

Tayles says of the prize, “It’s a launchpad for going forward. [Being chosen by listeners as the winner] is a great story to tell labels, to tell management, to tell producers ... This is what happened in only a couple of weeks. So right now I just want to take this excitement and walk into every building or every phone call I have and really carry [my career] forward.”

John Tayles played last Friday at Jack’s. To hear his music, log onto www.myspace.com/johntayles.

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