Erie-based Elle Taylor releases first album, ‘Taken Me a While’

Categories:  Music    The Arts
Wednesday, November 17th, 2021 at 12:37 AM
Erie-based Elle Taylor releases first album, ‘Taken Me a While’  by Julia Carden
Elle Taylor performs in Erie. Contributed Photo.

ERIE, Pa.Elle Taylor, 37, made her mark in the music industry with her first indie-folk albumTaken Me a While, released on Oct. 26. During a chat with the Spectator, Taylor reflected on her life as a single mother, her artwork and her future as a musician.  

Taylor was born and raised in Erie, where she showed an interest in music and writing poetry from an early age. Following her graduation from Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy in 2003, she attended Edinboro University and earned a bachelor's degree in psychology. Now she is as a behavior counselor at Sarah A. Reed Children’s Center, where she works with young children and adolescents with mental health issues.  

According to Taylor, she has always been interested in art in one form or another. “I’ve always been a writer since I was a little kid. I always wanted people to actually read it or listen to it,” she said. 

Aside from being a singer-songwriter, she also creates collage art with magazine clippings and other pieces of art she comes across. While collaging began as a hobby dating back to 2008, she later began to display her art in new ways. Taylor designed the cover art for the “Taken Me a While” album herself 

Taylor credited much of the inspiration and drive to begin to play new instruments and create art of different mediums to the work she does with her students at Sarah Reed.  

“My ex-husband bought me a ukulele when I was like 26. I just couldn’t figure it out, so I put it in the closet and didn’t touch it for years,” she said. “There's a lot of downtime with the kids at work. I remembered my ukulele one day and thought we could all learn it together.” 

A former co-worker of hers taught her a few chords, and the rest was history. In 2018, Taylor planned a fundraiser to raise money for music education for her students at Sarah Reed. As a result of the fundraiser, she was able to purchase ten ukuleles that have since been available for her students in her classroom.

Taylor explained the instant connection she felt once she taught herself the ukulele, “I was hooked. I couldn't stop playing. I started writing songs with old stuff I had written years prior.” She later taught herself to play the guitar. From there, she went to every open mic she could find in and around Erie. For the first couple of months playing gigs, she only performed covers songs. But being out in the music scene sparked her creativity, driving her to create her own music. 

I made a ton of friends out in the music world in Erie. I felt really inspired and motivated. It’s been a really interesting journey, she chuckled 

Taylor described her busy schedule, consisting of her position at Sarah Reed, spending time with her children and friends, and making time for her art. When asked how she balances it all, she simply replied, “it’s busy.” 

“Anyone who has kids or just anyone who has a lot going on, you still have to find time for the things you love. If you don’t, you will burn out on life. Doing the stuff that you love is what's most important in life. You have to find time for those things or you’ll lose it,” she said. 

"Taken Me a While,” the album

Taylor explained her experience creating and releasing “Taken Me a While” as, “super, super therapeutic.” The twelve-track album features a few solo tunes, with a handful of other local artists popping up throughout including Teddy Rankin, Nick Warren, Monica Lewis and more. 

While Taylor is a longtime musician, the process of releasing an album was new to her. In the years leading up to her recent album release, she recorded a few demo songs and posted them to her YouTube channel. The decision to record an album, however, was a spur-of-the-moment decision. Malito Proto, a friend of Taylor’s who rents out a recording studio space for local artists, was offering a special discount on recording sessions in February that sparked her interest. 

“I went in and recorded ‘Long Con’ and ‘You’re the Best Song’ for fifteen bucks. I just kept going and going until I had a full album,” she explained. “It was so fun. I’d never recorded in a studio before. I’d only been sitting on my porch or my bathroom floor using an app on my phone.”

She also mentioned a few of her inspirations, including Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys, Amy Winehouse and Bob Dylan. Winehouse and Wilson both famously faced troubles with mental health issues while in the public spotlight. Taylor admires the artists for channeling their struggles and transforming them into something beautiful.

According to Taylor, the first six songs of the album entail grief, loss and hurt, followed by songs detailing hope for the future, crafting a user experience for the listener. Taylor designated “You’re the Best Song” as the most important song from the album because it is about her children. She also noted “Taken Me a While” as the most meaningful song in terms of emotional growth she experienced while recording.  

The third track on the album, titled “Life by the Sea,” explores Taylor’s ideal lifestyle: she lives on a beautiful island, owns a coffee bean farm, performs gigs every weekend and has her art on display in local shops. It is also the only song on the album with a music video. Created by Sean Morphy, the video takes us through Taylor’s dream life, displayed through her collage art. 

She explained that while that lifestyle is fun to think about, it’s more of a fantasy. For now, she will try to emulate that ‘life by the sea’ in her hometown. “The problem is I can’t have that, it’s just a dream. I can only create that right here where I live in Erie, Pa,” she said. 

Although her first album came together rather quickly, Taylor wants to take her time with what comes next. “Taken Me a While” can be streamed on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube. Elle Taylor’s collage art can be viewed on her Instagram page (@elletaylor71), and at the Tipsy Bean Coffee Shop in Erie. Contact information is available on her website.

Julia Carden, Music Editor and Social Media Director | @EdinboroNow 

Additional Photos:

Elle Taylor performs in Erie. Contributed Photo.Taylor pictured in her collage art in Taylor plays the ukulele in the music video for
 

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