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Showbiz Today Star of Tomorrow
Singer/songwriter Sally Taylor
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Sally Taylor is the daughter of James Taylor and Carly Simon, and she's got the voice to prove it. She is an independent artist though, refusing to take the safe route and capitalize on her parents name by signing with a major record label.
Instead, she offers her albums only through her Web site or her live concerts. Out now is her second album, "Apt. 6S," named after the apartment number she grew up in.
Taylor, 26, describes her musical style as a combination of folk and rock, which she aptly calls "frock." She recently played at New York City's "The Bitter End," a historic venue for emerging musical artists.
CNN met up with her there to talk to her about her artistic choices, her family and the meaning of her album title.
CNN: How many shows do you do a year?
Sally Taylor: We do about 150 to 200 shows a year and they are pretty much all in these type of small venues -- at least 90 percent. We travel pretty much eight months a year. We took some of last year off and made an album -- the second album -- but that is pretty much the only time we take off.
CNN: I imagine part of the reason you get out and tour, meeting your fans face to face, is that you are an independent artist in the true sense of the word. You decided not to go with a major record label, you released your albums yourself; you sell them at your concerts and on your Website, sallytaylor.com. Why?
Sally Taylor: Well there are a couple reasons. I think mainly because I really believe in creating myself, not only as person but as an artist. And I don't feel like really being manufactured and created by a major label. Second of all, I sort of feel really passionate about learning everything that goes into a business before I delegate that responsibility to someone else.
CNN: Your first album was called "Tomboy Bride," this is your second one. Why did you name it "Apt. 6S"?
Sally Taylor: Well, it's called 6S as in South. When I was a kid growing up on the Upper West Side (in New York City) in my mom's house, I thought that my mom was telling the grocery guy to come up to apartment "success." I was then hearing it through a kid's mind and through a kid's ears as "success."
The idea of moving into somebody's already pre-manufactured apartment, pre-manufactured success if you will, never really seemed appealing to me. So when people came to me with offers saying "Don't you want to be successful?," I'd say "Yeah, I do, I am successful. I am being my own person in my own apartment, my own house that I am going to live in." And why would I live in somebody else's house that doesn't exactly match who I am as a person? I want to move into a house that I have decorated and built from the ground up.
CNN: Your apartment could have been considered "Apartment Success" for another reason. Your parents are Carly Simon and James Taylor.
Sally Taylor: You know, they always told me to follow my heart and I think that was sort of the main lesson that I took from them that has contributed to remaining an independent artist. Primarily because I think neither of them was pushing me towards a path that would create me and make me successful.
In fact, when I was a kid, I used to write these songs and I used to sneak into my mom and dad's room. They had this tape recorder where they would record their little demos and stuff. I figured out pretty soon that if I pushed the record button and the play button together I could get my voice on to the tape. So I used to run in there and press play and record when they were gone and they used to return and come back upstairs and I'd quickly hit stop and run out of the room. But there are all sorts of songs right in the middle of their demos and songs from the '70s. They'd be like "oh, I really like this" and then all of the sudden there is me at 6 years old screaming some song.
What ended up happening is I asked my mom "can you show me how to write a song?" and she said "Sal, if you're meant to write songs you'll just know how to do it."
And I was really frustrated at age 6 because I really wanted to be a singer/songwriter. I really wanted to learn how to do it. Now, looking back, I am really grateful that she didn't pre-program a way of writing into my head. That is a huge gift that they have given me.
CNN: You have a Web site, sallytaylor.com, where you not only sell your albums, but you actually have your own diary where you put entries detailing your visits to the various cities on your tour. Fans can go on to your Web site and actually speak with you.
Sally Taylor: You know, since I was a kid, I have been writing in a journal every day. My mom let me read her journal from when she was 15 and I thought, when I have a daughter, I really wanted to have a journal that she could basically look in and know what was normal, as I as an 8-year-old felt.
So I used to write "to my daughter when she was 8," then at 9 years old, "to my daughter when she was 9." So that is how I started writing. But I really enjoy writing. So when I got out on the road a few years ago, I thought, I need to keep an account of everything that we are doing. I also thought it might be interesting for the people who come along with us to our shows -- who can't come with us on the van -- to be able to sort of come in the band with us. We all very open people -- I am definitely the most open. So I just open their lives.
CNN: Tell me about the song called "4 Kim"
Sally Taylor: "4 Kim" is actually the single of the album. Kim was a close friend and we had this horrible falling out, and I wrote her this letter just saying I am so sorry, but she wouldn't talk to me. I called her up and she wouldn't call me back.
So finally I wrote her this song. We hadn't seen each other in a year and a half and it opened up her heart and we are friends again. That is sort of what I think music is there for. If it is doing it's job, it can really open up your heart and make you see yourself a little more clearly.
"4 Kim" is hugely important to me because that's my ideal, to be able to write a song and have the person that I wrote it for really take it to heart and have it change their lives.
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