Sally & Ben Taylor
Sally Taylor is an artist and musician. In 1998, reluctant to sign to a major record label, she formed her own, producing and recording three albums (Tomboy Bride, Apt #6S & Shotgun). She and a 5-piece band toured 180 days of the year. She thrived on the production elements of running a label and the creative elements of writing, recording, and performing. When she retired from the road at age 30 she moved to Boston and began teaching music. She is currently taking time off from The Berklee School of Music to work exclusively on ConSenses. In this effort she is dedicated to enlarging the scope of artistic collaboration, the recognition of art as a journey, and the exploration of human perception.
Sally Taylor is dyslexic. Far from being ostracized for her learning disability, her artistic family (Mother: Carly Simon. Father: James Taylor) welcomed the designation as if to say: “Great, you’re truly one of us now.” Around the time of her diagnosis, her mother started playing a game with her called “Essences” in which one player selects a person in their head and the rest of the players have to guess the individual by asking metaphoric questions like: “If this person were a house what type of house would they be?” “If they were a time of day what time would they be?” “If they were an animal… a car… a color… a tree what would they be?” and so forth. The difficulties Sally was having decoding meaning from words and sentences seemed abated by this game where she could communicate, through metaphor, her understanding of the world.
While at Brown University, Sally became interested in anthropology and the nature of human perception and expression cross culturally. Fascinated, especially by the senses, she began to explore the nature of the human experience as an artistic adventure. In her studies she came across an Indian fable: “The blind men and the Elephant” in which 5 Blind men come to their own concept of “Elephant” based on limited interactions with one. She identified immediately the metaphor of the fable. That human ignorance stems from blindly clinging to a perception of life that is incomplete. If we could let go of our perceptions being RIGHT, she believed, befriending only those who agree with us and fighting all who don’t, perhaps we, like the blind men might know more about the nature of something much larger. It is her wish, through ConSenses that we explore what happens when we listen to one another without words, share our perceptions without judgment, take a look through each other’s eyes and let go of everything we thought we knew.
Ben Taylor listens and thinks. A lot.
In fact, the word “word” is something Ben mulls over daily. It is, when you think about it, the only word that IS what it means. The meaning of “word” connects us – in any language – and this idea of communication is very important to Ben, as is the paradox of an individuated consciousness (think: ego) versus collective unconscious, that which unifies us all (happiness, fear, hate, love). Heavy? Not really, just a part of the ever evolving, highly intelligent, vulnerable, loving brain of Ben Taylor, musician, son, brother, friend and deep believer.
A self-described ‘late bloomer’ musically, Ben didn’t start singing until his early 20s. The hesitation is understandable, given the daunting example of success set by his parents, Carly Simon and James Taylor. While Ben thought of other vocations he could pursue — a wilderness guide, a martial arts instructor — he found himself unable to deny his draw to the family business. Ben has always had a true affinity for music, and not surprisingly, a love for words. “My scholastic career was not successful. My attention wanders, and I like to follow it. It’s a creatively lucrative process for me. My internal jukebox was always so much louder than my teachers.”
As a polymathic creative, Ben has a deep appreciation for time spent cultivating his craft in the studio, but knows full well he is nothing without his audience. “If you take being in the studio over playing live, you lose out. They are both important parts of the same process. You need to write a song, perform it in front of people and have an audience react. It helps me with the writing and presentation of the recorded song if I play it live before I record it. To me, you don’t really hear your song for the first time until you share it.”
Ben has spent the better part of the past 4 years working as a stonemason on Martha’s Vineyard, finding peace in nourishing his roots rather than his wings for a while. 2020 marks his Official Return to the world of music, gearing up to release a new, yet-to-be-titled album and bring his musical talents back to where they belong: the ears of the people.
His acclaimed previous releases comprise his debut album 2003’s Famous Among The Barns, 2005’s Another Run Around The Sun, 2006’s Deeper than Gravity, 2008’s The Legend of Kung Folk, Part 1 (The Killing Bite) and 2012’s Listening. If you’re looking for a real walk down memory lane, you can use the internet to find footage of Ben on Good Morning America, The Tonight Show, The CBS Early Show, The Bachelor, Last Call with Carson Daly and Howard Stern, as well as a small acting stint and appearances in the pages of People Magazine, Vogue and the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.