Alum talks music industry, gives advice

By Alexandra Kukulka

Taylor Mallory’s father noticed his son’s musical talent when he was singing in the laundry room at 5 years old. Soon, it was evident to the Mallory family that their son had a unique ability no one else in the family had. Later on, Mallory decided to start a contemporary gospel band called The Boys with a few of his church friends.

Mallory graduated from Columbia in December 2009 with a degree in arts, entertainment and media management and has been busy in the entertainment industry with Level Next Music and Lily’s Talent Agency ever since. He has had the opportunity to write, produce and sing songs as well as a video jockey for Akoo TV, created his own music and food show and act in commercials.

The Chronicle sat down with him to talk about his start in music, his accomplishments and his advice to students.

The Chronicle: In what ways did your group, The Boys, help you get to where you are today?

Taylor Mallory: That is really where I got my start, and I have never looked back. We used to have intense rehearsals. Our management at that time really taught us discipline, which is really the key to my artistry today.

The Chronicle: What inspired your latest song, “You Do It”?

TM: The song “You Do It” is really just talking about someone [who] really does it for you. The person [who] makes you smile. The person [who] motivates you. The person [who] makes you just want to get up in the morning and live your life. It is more than, “I love you.” There is a lyric in the song that says, “He who finds a wife shall find a good thing.” It is like he who finds that great quality in a person. That would be the person you would marry.

The Chronicle: How did you get the chance to be on Akoo TV?

TM: I have been with Akoo TV for about a year now. I got that through my talent agency, Lily’s. It is the largest out-of-home television network in the country. It reaches about 44 million viewers, and it is really unique because they put it in shopping malls and universities. There is a station here at the University Center. Basically, I am a video jockey. I do introductions to music videos. I do scoops, news and information. We give out really cool hookups and prizes. I think they just gave out an iPad and a $100 gift card.

The Chronicle: How did your show “Music Burger” come about?

TM: “Music Burger” is a food and music entertainment show. I like to put food and entertainment all under one bun. I started that about two years [ago]. I really do love to cook. That is a part of my artistry, too. I said, “Why not teach people how to eat really great food while bringing on some local Chicago talent and presenting it to people?”

The Chronicle: What do you do on the show?

TM: It is basically like a cooking tutorial. One of the episodes I did a quesadilla burger. The second episode, I had Cajun style red beans and rice. With the whole mix of red beans and rice, I brought in a disc jockey who mixes. I just show them how to cook and then I bring on an artist to perform.

The Chronicle: How do you like being in commercials?

TM: The first commercial I did with the American Forces Network was spoken word. It is interesting because I incorporate spoken word into my performances when I sing. That piece was really cool. I got a chance to actually be myself on camera.

The Chronicle: How do you balance all of these art forms?

TM: I think that throughout this whole experience, the balance is my spirituality. I feel like with me doing music and acting, that’s great. But if my spirit is not right, then all that stuff is imbalanced. Every morning, before I do anything, I listen to Joyce Meyer, a Christian speaker, and I try to get into my world. I must say that my team, Level Next Music, all support each other outside of music. And if I did not have the support system from my parents that would be very hard because I feel that in this type of industry, it is risky. They have stuck with me and I feel like that is how I don’t lose myself.

The Chronicle: What advice can you give students who are balancing different art forms?

TM: I encourage any student who is having that struggle of, “Oh, I want to do this, I want to do that,” to [do] a self-evaluation of what [they] really want to do and what is realistic. I always say, “Make your passion your profession.” Whatever you have passion for is what you should be doing. I know that when you are in college, you are still trying to figure it out, but I just encourage any student to go through the journey and experience the college life and the network here at Columbia and find [your] passion.