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Columbia alum Liam Taylor offers escapism, groove in upcoming musical projects

Lukas Katilius
Musician and Columbia College Chicago graduate Liam Taylor, 22, poses for a photo in front of an art-decorated wall in a park near his home in Uptown, Chicago.

Music has led Columbia alum Liam Taylor across the world.

His musical journey began in theater programs as a child, later evolving into an interest in songwriting in high school. Originally from Texas, he moved to Chicago to attend Columbia as a way to rebrand himself as a performing artist and a focused songwriter. 

Taylor graduated from the college in the Spring 2023 semester with a degree in contemporary jazz and popular music and has released an array of music on streaming platforms, spanning across different genres and subject matters. 

Taylor released “control” at the end of January as the first single from an upcoming 10-track project due later this year. The next single from the upcoming project, “running,” will be released at the end of March, and takes influence from disco and house styles. 

Each of the four singles he plans to release throughout the spring varies in genre, as exploring different genres and styles is important to Taylor.

“Each song, especially the singles, are very different. The first one I put out was super R&B, trap, bouncy,” Taylor said. “This next one is a disco and house-inspired number. I didn’t want to make it the same.”

His upcoming project is a result of his time spent studying in Mannheim, Germany at the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg on an exchange program through Columbia his senior year. Taylor said his time studying in Mannheim was a major period of growth. 

“I was isolated to an extent that I was able to observe a lot and write a lot more,” he said. “The people who were there worked so hard. I felt like I had to level up and match what they were bringing to the table.” 

Taylor said major changes in his life, such as moving to Chicago and later studying in Germany, are often what prompted his most fruitful periods of songwriting. 

“Inspiration comes when it comes, and I’ve realized it comes when big shifts happen in my life,” he said. 

Taylor is slated to play Sleeping Village’s music venue this upcoming Sunday, March 3, in support of headliner Trevor Dean Stewart & the Sting, who specialize in blending contemporary styles with jazz, often reminiscent of 1970s and ‘80s R&B. 

Stewart, a fellow Columbia alum who graduated last May with a degree in music composition, first met Taylor while in elementary school in Texas before reconnecting with him at Columbia. 

“I’ve seen him develop as a solo artist over the years,” Stewart said. “I’ve been to a couple other of his performances and knew that when I was going to organize a show for my band, he would always be one of the first people I’d ask.” 

Stewart said Taylor’s performance abilities are what helped him make the decision to add him to the lineup. 

“His stage presence is the biggest part of why I wanted him to be a part of it, because he really knows how to command a room,” Stewart said. “What better way to continue the energy of a show than with somebody like that?” 

Stewart said that beyond Taylor’s stage presence, he admires Taylor’s vocal talent evident in performances and recordings. 

“His vocal technique is really unmatched by anybody that I know right now in Chicago,” Stewart said. “I’m definitely proud to have him associated with my band.”

In preparing for any live performance, Taylor said he considers what material will engage the crowd the most. 

“I just want to provide a little escape for a moment,” Taylor said. “I think that will be fun to see how people groove to some of the new music.”

Typhanie Coller, assistant professor of voice and coordinator of vocal studies at the college, was introduced to Taylor during initial auditions into the contemporary, jazz and popular music program. Throughout Taylor’s time at Columbia, he and Coller worked together through private vocal lessons.  

“Liam has always embodied star quality and has always, when performing a song, put his heart and soul and emotion into that song,” she said. “That’s something that we can guide and assist and encourage, but he just has that natural ability to just deeply connect.” 

After working with Taylor throughout his time at the college and seeing his artistic growth, Coller said she is excited by the future of his musical endeavors.

“I feel very confident that we will see a lot more things happening from Liam Taylor in the near future,” she said. 

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About the Contributors
Avery Heeringa, Reporter
aheeringa@columbiachronicle.com   Avery Heeringa is a senior communications major, minoring in journalism. Heeringa has reported on the college's unions and events on-campus. He is also the editor-in-chief of ChicagoTalks. Heeringa joined the Chronicle in December 2023.   Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota
Lukas Katilius, Photojournalist
lkatilius@columbiachronicle.com   Lukas Katilius is a junior photojournalism major. He has covered various campus and Chicago events. Katilius  joined the Chronicle in July 2023.   Hometown: New Lenox, Illinois