Taylor Cullen is a 15-year-old singer-songwriter from Roseville, Calif., who is back to her former hometown to perform during the Kansas Freedomfest scheduled for this weekend.
1. How did you get started with writing and performing music? I've always had a passion for singing but am actually a shy person. If you asked me what I wanted to be when I was older I would say a singer and song writer and have worked hard to achieve that goal. I wrote my first song when I was 9 years old and have never looked back, filling many song books with lyrics. You will never hear those first songs I wrote, but I remember thinking how good they were at the time! I did my first talent show in third grade; a duet with one of my friends. I remember being really nervous but I had the time of my life being up on that stage performing. That was when I knew I loved being in front of big audiences and was able to not be that shy person I am in private. I started writing about personal experiences and things teenagers like myself always deal with. About two years ago, I started teaching myself how to play piano and guitar so I could add music to all my lyrics. After learning guitar and piano, I was able to learn how to compose music to accompany those lyrics and make a real song. I randomly entered the West Coast Songwriters competition for singer/songwriters and seemed to make an impression. I was introduced to my current producer/career consultant at Creative Music Services, Eric Chun, after my performance that evening and have been working with CMS since that time. It has been a whirlwind since this all happened over this past summer and I am loving every minute of it. I have done numerous performances, recorded my first demo CD, and learning the in and outs of the music industry. Things are happening very quickly for me and I will be finishing my sophomore year in high school this year at an independent home school so that I can devote more time to my music. 2. How would you describe your style? I like to think that my style is sort of country-pop. It’s not really full-on country but it definitely has some strong roots there. I think a lot of people that are not country music fans can like my music because it also has pop influences. I draw influence from many genre of music such as country, folk, pop, acoustic style sets and you will hear pieces of all those types of genres in my music. 3. You lived in Leavenworth and still have family here, though you currently live in California. What will it mean to you to come back and perform here? Honestly, it means the world to me as Leavenworth is one of my favorite places to be. I get really excited at any chance to come back to see family and friends! I wasn't born here, but have strong family roots with both my parents graduating from high school here and much of our family still living in the area. Living in California is great, especially for my music career, but my heart is in Kansas and to be able to perform back in Leavenworth is an honor. 4. How did you get involved in the Kansas Freedom Fest? One day my mom came to my room and told me about this great country music event being held back in Leavenworth! We did some research and were able to get in contact with the promoter for the event. We sent some information on me to him to look over and he agreed to give me some time. Once I found out I was going to be able to perform, I am pretty sure I screamed from excitement. I am thankful to the promoter for giving me this great opportunity and being able to help support a great cause. 5. Is music something you see yourself doing full-time? What does your future hold? There has never been anything I loved more than doing music. I've always wanted to be in the music industry and be a role model for others, even without the fame and riches. If I can make a decent living doing what I love, I'm going to take that chance. I hope that someday you will turn on the TV and I will be accepting a CMA award or something like that! I know it will take a lot of hard work and I am willing to do that. I am lucky to have a great group of people supporting me. Starting independent high school next semester will give me more time to focus on my music and I will keep perfecting my abilities with the hope of getting discovered. I have recently submitted some songs to be able to perform at the upcoming North Association Music Merchants show January 2013 in Los Angeles. This is a very large music industry event and a big opportunity to be be able to perform there as well as possibly pick up some endorsements. Maybe one day I can come back here to Leavenworth again but this time as the feature act.