ESSENCE.com’s “New and Next” column spotlights the brightest new talents we think you should know. This week we meet rising soul jazz artist and beatboxer Taylor McFerrin.
Who is Taylor McFerrin? The son of vocalist Bobby McFerrin, and grandson of baritone Robert McFerrin Sr., Taylor McFerrin is of an elite musical pedigree. Being raised by a famous singing father has had it’s obvious benefits for the 30-year-old Brooklyn-based musician, but he’s also wanted to carve out his own musical path. As a teen he always loved hip hop and started making beats for friends in high school and quickly developed a passion for producing. “I made a concentrated effort to feel like I was taking my own path with music,” he tells ESSENCE.com. “I never really did any vocal stuff – my music was all about production, which is like the total opposite of what my dad is into.”
The McFerrin sound: A multi-instrumentalist one-man band with a penchant for making music with his mouth much like his dad, McFerrin’s sound has always been an experimental mash-up of ’60s soul and jazz blended with progressive hip-hop, dubstep and whatever he’s inspired by at the moment. “It’s all about mixing together whatever your influences are,” he says. For his debut solo album, Early Riser (out in the fall), he adds singer to his already stacked resume. “I’m getting some help with some producer magic,” he jokes about his singing, noting that he has yet to approach his father for vocal lessons. Early Riser will also showcase his production skills, perfected since he began making music for himself and other artists in 1998. “I consider myself part of a new era of production where we’re using a mix of analog equipment and modern production styles to create something that I would consider to be very of the moment, musically,” he says.
Where you’ll see him next: McFerrin joins legendary UK Nu-Soul singer Omar for the “Brilliant Corners” Concert at the historic Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, New York on June 2nd. He’ll also release Early Riser in the fall.
Watch Taylor’s video for “The Song I Promised” and let us know what you think: