Columbia alumnus featured in Sweet Tap Chicago show

Members of the Chicago Tap Theatre perform in “Sweet Tap Chicago” at City Winery on Sunday, Mar. 11, 2018. 

By Kendall Polidori

Uniquely choreographed tap dancing is set to a mix of rock, soul and R&B for Chicago Tap Theatre’s Sweet Tap Chicago show.

Taylor Mallory, a 2010 music business alumnus, is the main vocalist and emcee for the show, which returns for its second year to City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., March 10.

The show features covers of musicians such as The Smashing Pumpkins, Curtis Mayfield, Chaka Khan and more.

This year there will be new pieces and a live projection of the show to allow the audience to see the technicality behind tap.

“Part of what makes Chicago Tap Theatre unique is [that] we only perform with live music,” said Mark Yonally, founder and artistic director of Chicago Tap Theatre.

Yonally founded the show to bring jazz and tap back to a music venue.

Yonally said performing at City Winery allows for closer audience interaction in a more intimate space.

“The band we have is just killer, and [Mallory] is a major part of it,” Yonally said.

Last year was the first time Mallory performed for Chicago Tap Theatre, and since then they have requested to work with him many times.

After graduating from Columbia, Mallory signed with record label Level Next Music.

Since being with Level Next Music, he has branched off and worked on a number of different projects. Mallory has performed with High Society Orchestra and Bluewater Kings Band, along with acting in commercials and doing voiceovers.

“As a vocalist, my job is to make sure I perform in my own unique way,” Mallory said.

Mallory performs alternative R&B as a looping artist, where he creates the music live on stage using a series of loops, which repeat sections of sound material.

Mallory said his degree gave him an understanding of how things are set up logistically. He said Monique Maye, associate professor of instruction in the Business and Entrepreneurship Department, taught him how to market himself in the entertainment world.

“Look at him now,” Maye said. “He is doing great things.”

Maye said Mallory had a plan and knew exactly what he wanted to do with his music. She said the course, entertainment marketing, taught him to see himself as a brand to market and emphasized the importance of communication and networking, which helped him connect with like-minded people who shared the same interests as him.

Mallory said everyone in Sweet Tap Chicago is also like-minded. According to Mallory, everyone is passionate about music, their careers and are full-time musicians. Mallory said the show is an opportunity to expand and challenge artistry.

“[Our production] works together to create music that grabs the audience,” Yonally said.