Interview

Singer/Songwriter & Actor Taylor McIntosh On Working With Tommy Marolda, New Single “Clair in the Moonlight” & More

jamo magazine
Photos: Araya Doheny Photography Grooming: Allison Noelle

18-year-old Taylor McIntosh is a multi-talented dancer, musician, songwriter, and actor who is also a very brilliant piano and guitar player. His many achievements include having several songs produced by the Grammy nominated Tommy Marolda, collaborating with legends such as Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi, and many others.

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Aside from the piano and guitar which you are very talented in playing, are there any other musical instruments you play or enjoy playing?
Piano and guitar are my main instruments I play. I’ve also dabbled in drums when I was younger so I know how to play a little of that. Also learning how to produce music has taught me how to use drum machines. I now am trying to produce my own music so that requires a whole other skill set.

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What is the story behind how Grammy nominated Producer Tommy Marolda came across your songs and started producing them?
My family and I were trying to find a producer to help us with our music but it never really panned out with the right person. My mom decided to look on the internet for producers and ended up coming across Tommy. She gave him a call and we went to go meet with him and right away we hit it off. I played one of my songs for him and he said he loved it and thought I had a lot of potential. He’s super talented and truly has a musical gift, so it’s been a great learning experience being able to work with him.

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You collaborated with Bon Jovi’s guitar icon, Richie Sambora, on “Money on Your Deathbed”, on a scale of 1 to 10, how nervous were you to work him?
Money On Your Deathbed was recorded during COVID, so Richie recorded his stuff in his home studio and we recorded everything else in Las Vegas.  I just remember the night we got the call that Richie loved the song and wanted to be on it.  We were jumping up and down, high fiving.  It was really exciting.  I hope to work with him more in the future.

Following up on that, what was the experience of working with a legend such as himself like?
Because of COVID I didn’t actually get to meet him in person but I was just happy to have him be a part of the song.  I’ll say he worked really fast and got his parts done quick.

You have also worked with several other icons such as Electric Guitarist Ernie White and Saxophonist Steve Golden, have you gotten used to working with such legends who are also experts in their field?
No not at all, every time I’m just in awe with how talented they are. Ernie features on a lot of our songs and every time he plays, I am just so impressed. He’s so good that it’s hard not to want to have him play on every song. We always say how much we “love” Ernie.  He brings songs to life.  One of the best guitar players you’ve never heard of. 

Steve Golden has played with all the legends from Frank Sinatra to Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, so getting to work and meet with him was just an honor. We were actually in the studio together and it was incredible how he came up with the perfect parts so quickly.  Tommy would say he wants to hear something different and Steve would immediately adapt and make it perfect.

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Your new single, “Clair in the Moonlight”, is set to be released on 8th May, what should we expect from this song and how excited are you to release it to the public?
My new single “Clair in the Moonlight” is a song that I’ve been working on for a while and has an amazing upbeat summer vibe that I think is perfect for this year. I wrote the song about a famous Classical piano piece by Claude Debussy called “Clair de Lune.” One night I was trying to write and had a moment where inspiration struck. I thought it would be really cool to write a song with Clair de Lune in it, that then gave me the idea to write a love song using Clair de Lune as the setting.

If you could pick one artist to collaborate with out of Justin Bieber, John Mayer, and Ed Sheeran, who are you choosing?
That’s a really tough question to answer because I would love to work with all of them. They’re some of my favorite artists of all time, hopefully one day I could work with all of them. If I had to choose right now, like if I don’t choose the world would explode, I think I would choose to collaborate with john Mayer. He’s just so talented and has been one of my biggest inspirations.

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Your breakdancing team, “Break Ninjaz”, came 5th place worldwide which was the highest finish for U.S in almost a decade, was it always the goal of the group to achieve success for both team and country?
I don’t know if it’s always been the goal but I do know that when the opportunity presented itself, it became one of our biggest goals. In fact, we were really trying to win the whole thing but to be there was a great honor by itself. I think we would all want to go back someday and try to win. I had such a fun time with everyone and it was awesome being able to go to France for the first time.

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How long does it usually take your breakdancing team to perfect a dance routine?
It depends a lot on the situation, as well as the deadline because it could take months just to create one routine that’s really locked in. I know for World of Dance It took us like 2-3 months at least to just to have two routines looking clean.  Hours and hours of practice, 5 days a week.  It was exhausting but it ended up being a lot of fun. 

Your breakdancing team made an appearance on NBC’s “World of Dance”, how was the whole experience like from being invited to the show, to practicing a dance routine for it, to being on the show and performing?
Prepping for the show was really stressful and exhausting. We were practicing all the time for hours and hours trying to get our routines perfect. The actual show itself was really fun, I personally didn’t have as great of an experience because I got really sick while we were there and the whole time. I had to try to stay focused while working long hours. I thought performing the routine was really fun but I’d say the best part was just getting to hang out with my friends and work together. I guess the little moments is what I enjoyed the most. Also, I cracked a funny joke that ended up being on the broadcast so I got some good facetime I wasn’t expecting.

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You have starred in quite a few short films, which one out of them would you say you had the most fun acting in?
I would say that I had the most fun acting in Hollow Me. It was one of my first roles I did and it required a lot of me which I think pushed me to try to be a better actor. Plus the crew I worked with was awesome, they were all great people who I had a blast being able to work with. I got to experience multiple roles in this one short film so it was just super fun getting all that experience so young. I was 15 years old and the role called for a ton of different emotions and experiences.  Most of which were really bad.  I had to really tap into everything to make it work.  It was pretty cool though afterwards to realize I could express all these different feelings via acting. 

You have also acted in local stage productions, do you have bigger goals of performing on larger stages in the future?
Maybe, you never know. If the opportunity presents itself, you might see me on the live stage. As of right now I am focusing on music, film and TV roles. Although I do think it would be fun to get back into some theater stuff. I do love the theater.  I have been to New York and experienced those amazing performers up close.  What an inspiration.  In New York we saw Finding Neverland and The King and I.  In other cities I have seen Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, and Wicked.  The feeling you get at a live theater performance is hard to describe.  Very emotional and inspiring.

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 Rabiatu Mohammed
Rabiatu Mohammed

is 21 years old and is currently in her 1st year of studying International Business at Middlesex University Dubai. She is goal-driven and enjoys going out as well as exploring new things.

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