VIDEO: Cleveland Rocks Shop Talk with Taylor Lamborn

Cleveland Rocks: PPF’s own Ryan Laubenthal sat down with Taylor Lamborn, a local singer songwriter and member of our Music Incubator Program, to talk about her upbringing, musical journey, Cleveland and everything in between. She will be performing as part of our Waterloo Makes Music: Songwriters in the Round on February 5th in the Cleveland Rocks Shop (CRS) with Clare Feorene and Morgan Mecaskey. Here’s a sneak peak of the full interview.

CR:PPF: I have with me, Taylor Lamborn of a group and various solo projects. Is that right?

Taylor: Yeah, uh huh.

CR:PPF: We’re going to talk a little bit about about music and where she’s from and all this other stuff. So, thanks for joining us. 

Taylor: Thank you for having me. 

CR:PPF: So, let’s just get started. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Taylor: I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. I came to the Cleveland area after college and have kind of been exploring the world of music ever since. I picked up a guitar for the first time when I was in 9th grade and I learned how to communicate through, you know, songwriting and so as a songwriter, I really just kind of try to explore my authentic self and give words to what I’m feeling that day. I fell in love with the blues scene here and that’s where I really grew as a guitar player. It took my musical journey on a fun new little path and I haven’t really looked back since so. So, yeah.

CR:PPF: So, is guitar your first instrument?

Taylor: Voice was. Yeah, I was always just a singer. I wasn’t necessarily always a good singer but I was always a singer and I learned guitar as a means of kind of like accompanying my voice.

CR:PPF: Would you say that you prefer working in the studio or performing?

Taylor: Oh, by a long shot, performing. For me, I connect most with music in like ephemeral moments like where I can…you know, have a conversation with an audience and authentically like feel the emotions that the song is kind of like bringing it out in me.

CR:PPF: Are you the same person in general on stage as you are like sitting in front of me or do you tend to adopt like a persona or demeanor that’s different from your resting self when you’re on stage?

Taylor: What a cool question. I’m actually in a phase of my life where I’ve been reflecting on that a lot. My first album is called ‘Honest Enough’ and everything that I have done as or created as a performer, I have strived so … in such a focus way to be authentic. That’s what I wanted so badly. But I’m, you know, in a new chapter of my life where I’m realizing that … this is wild… that I’ve never really truly known my authentic self. So, it’s funny because I think I’m realizing that we all wear masks everywhere we go, right? So, I thought I was being authentic and now I’m at a place where I can really actually be authentic, or I’m working towards it.

CR:PPF: If you couldn’t play music, how else would you express yourself? Like what would be your second choice if you couldn’t play?

Taylor: I was actually an art major in college and that’s been fun to re-explore recently. I’ve kind of picked up the paintbrush again. I like drawing. But yeah, I like talking, having conversations, meeting people. I love teaching. I do that as well and I think I learn the most when I listen. I’m interested in a lot of things. I don’t know if ever want to fully just to define myself as a musician either.

CR:PPF: Have you ever been in a creative slump and if so, how do you get out of that?

Taylor: So many times. Yeah,  I mean there have been times that I haven’t written a … I can remember specifically, there was a time frame that I didn’t write a song for like over a year and it was wild. I actually kind of like fell out of love with music and that was super hard for me. You know and then I had to kind of work my way back to it. There’s this idea of like just ‘giving time time’ and without like fully knowing what I was doing, that was my way of getting back to writing. Just like accepting that it would take a little bit of time and redirecting my focus to something that I could connect with so that when I returned to the guitar, it felt fresh.

CR:PPF: If you could play a show with any musician, who would you pick?

Taylor: Okay, Bonnie Raitt.

CR:PPF: Okay.

Taylor: Yeah, that would be cool.

CR:PPF: So what artist or album do you wish that more people would get into?

Taylor: I think that what would really benefit people is just going out to see those $10 ticket shows all over Cleveland and I’m not going to give you a specific name cuz I’ve got 40 I could spat out right now, but I’ve seen more and heard more remarkable music on small stages in Cleveland than I have anywhere else I’ve traveled.

CR:PPF: What is your favorite thing about Cleveland?

Taylor: That’s also a very long list. Um…

CR:PPF: Maybe, not your favorite. You could just go with something that you really really like about Cleveland. 

Taylor: I love the community. When I moved to Cleveland initially, I knew I wanted to pursue music. And prior to moving to Cleveland, I did like a whole road trip and I went through the cities that you would think I’d move to as an aspiring musician. So I went to Nashville and LA and you know, I didn’t feel that same like welcoming vibe that I got when I came to Cleveland. And Cleveland was just going to be like a stop cuz all my college friends are here and everything else and then I went to all these open mic nights and jam nights and you know, I went to the 10×3. Brent Kirby took me under his wing and he was like “Oh, play your songs, Share.” You know. You don’t get that in Nashville. Everyone’s looking at you like your competition and you guys are all fighting for the same plate. In Cleveland, it’s like ‘Come eat at my table. Pass the bread.’ The one thing that Cleveland is missing is my family. I very much would love to be closer to family but they are all over which is what the teleporting thing is. So if I could like split my body into 20 pieces and end up in Baltimore and Upstate New York and Florida and Colorado and LA and Oregon and all the cool places, then I would do that. But Cleveland’s got a good airport.

CR:PPF: That is true.

Taylor: So, I think I’m going to stick around here for a little bit.

CR:PPF: Some guys playing a theremin with a chicken, like, there just…

Taylor: With a chicken?

CR:PPF: Yeah, like a rubber chicken. Oh okay, I’m sorry. I should have said rubber chicken.

Taylor: I mean I wouldn’t put it past someone to bring a live chicken on a stage though.

CR:PPF: No I wouldn’t, not in Cleveland.

If you could go back in time and say anything to yourself in high school, what might you choose to say?

Taylor: Ooh… Slow down. Go easy on yourself.

CR:PPF: Is there any surprising skill that you might have that, you know, your music doesn’t really explain or something?

Taylor: Yeah, I can go outside and pick you a bouquet of four leaf clovers.

CR:PPF: Hone in on a four-leaf clover…

Taylor: Yeah.

CR:PPF: Wow. 

Taylor: I don’t know how. My brain just sees patterns really well and it’s like ope, there’s another one.

CR:PPF: What about something you absolutely cannot live without?

Taylor: Water.

CR:PPF: Fair enough.

If you could spend a year in the hyperbolic time chamber – which is a fictional location in which one year passes for just a single day in the real world – what would you do with that year?

Taylor: Ooh… It would be cool if I did something really obscure.

CR:PPF: Have you ever done any performances that you regret?

Taylor: It was in the fields somewhere far away. I’m not going to be too specific about it, but every single person in my band got food poisoning. 

CR:PPF: Have you ever been in trouble with the law?

Taylor: Yeah.

CR:PPF: What seemingly unreasonable hill will you die on?

Taylor: I would say that like all bars should have like a lengthy non-alcoholic menu, so that people that want to come hang out and support the music, or whatever event going on, can also financially support the bar without like being uncomfortable.

CR:PPF: You get to be mayor for a day… 

Taylor: Don’t test me.

CR:PPF: What do you sign into law?

Taylor: Ooh ooh ooh …Okay, this might be the hill that I’m … that it’s illegal to cut down trees without going through an application process. 

CR:PPF: That does seem like an unreasonable hill. I could feel somebody saying ‘What do you mean, I own this property. I should be able to take this tree down.’

Taylor: Yeah,  but no. I will… I will go hard for the trees in Cleveland. We’re Forest City, man.

CR:PPF: You win a free trip to space, do you go?

Taylor: No. 

CR:PPF: No, and why?

Taylor: Cuz that’s dumb.

CR:PPF: Do you have a favorite drink?

Taylor: 12-year-old me would have said milk.

CR:PPF: Oh yeah?

Taylor: Mmhmm, but I’m not 12-year-old me anymore.

CR:PPF: Do you have a chord that you particularly like?

Taylor: *plays*

CR:PPF: Do you have a favorite animal?

Taylor: Um, my dog is on my shit list right now. He used to be it.

CR:PPF: Do you have a favorite microphone that you like to use?

Taylor: I like to focus on the moment. This microphone is right in front of my face, so it’s my favorite right now.

CR:PPF: Do you have a favorite flavor?

Taylor: I’m so boring,  Vanilla.

CR:PPF: Do you have a favorite Muppet?

Taylor: No.

CR:PPF: That’s fine. Muppets aren’t for some people. Just a weird question.

Taylor: I should. Miss Piggy is a muppet? Yeah okay, we can say her … or Animal.

CR:PPF: Yeah, Animal is a lot of fun.

Taylor: Yeah, he’s wild.

I figure it’s more fun to play a new song.


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