INTERVIEW BY CYNTHIA HORNER
Three-time Grammy Award-winning producer Troy Taylor, who has been in the business for three decades, is concerned about the state of R&B music. The CEO of Songbook Entertainment has had a stellar career and has not only produced such classic artists as the late Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin but also Boyz II Men, Trey Songz, Tyrese, and more.
Most recently, he’s recently produced singles on Jacquees, YK Osiris, and Elijah Blake’s new projects, bringing their talents to light. The super producer, who grew up in New Haven, Ct., and now lives in Atlanta, hails from a musical family, and through a meeting with a Motown executive was offered an opportunity to showcase his talents. Two of his songs wound up on Boyz II Men’s debut album, “CooleyHighHarmony,” and as they say, the rest was history. But although Taylor has worked with some of music’s biggest and brightest stars, his association with Trey Songz has been an ongoing impactful musical collaboration that has lasted for well over a decade.
Q: You’ve done some awesome work in your career and your discography is filled with memorable songs that have stood the test of time. These days you are producing many newer young artists who are more associated with today’s hip hop generation. What was it like working with Jacquees who has claimed himself the King of the new R&B music?
A: Jacquees is a leader for his generation.
Q: You worked with Boyz II Men and B2K they were new. Is there a difference between the “new” from back in the day to the new young artists that we hear on the radio these days?
A: Those artists had someone to make sure they were on time and on point. (Some of the) newer artists don’t listen to nobody. They are easily distracted. You have to be patient with their attention span.
Q: There used to be a mystique about music but now the goal is to keep putting something on social media. Back in the day you didn’t hear music until it was going to radio. What is your take on this trend?
A: Back in the day you didn’t even play anything until it was properly mixed and mastered. Gratificattion is what they like now. How people feel about it now, right away. You like that, you like that? If you like that, mission complete.
Q: What are other differences that you have noticed?
A: You can have your own page and put out music and that’s less time that you have to put in. Also you can have a million followers but they may not be real. Also, the record companies are making a lot of money with the streaming. They are making back all the money they lost over the years. I’m into artist development and there are people who came from me who came up that way.
Q: What are the problems that artists who were around back in the day have faced?
A lot of artists bought houses and cars but when the business changed it kind of messed them up because you have to keep your property up. The music business went down for the producers because we don’t get the fees that we used to get. The producers get the low end but the artists get to do shows and it shows they could have paid you for the track. You could pay me if you want to. The record companies say that they don’t have the budgets. So it’s hard. I’m trying to get my story out and let people know what they need to know. A lot of people don’t know what to do.
Q: I recall that back in the day some artists like Stevie Wonder would wait three for or four years before putting out music.
A: Now artists feel they need to be out there. They get anxious.
Q: I remember that back in the day it was rare for the public to know what producers looked like. It’s good to connect your face with all of those hit records you produced.
A: Yes. There are a lot of people who know my name but don’t know my face. Some people don’t know my story even though I’ve been 30 years. I now do a lot of Master Classes where I am able to tell young artists a lot of information, including how to get your money.
Q: Do you have a favorite song that you have produced or are all of them your favorites?
A: They all have different personalities and if they think one of them is my favorite, they’ll get mad at me. It just feels like that. (LOL)
Q: Trey Songz was such a big success story for you when he first emerged on the scene. How old was he when you met him?
A: He was a teen. My former partner wanted me to hear him. He didn’t blow me away but there was enough tone in there for me to say, “let me show you what you are trying to do and see if you could follow along.” And he actually did.
Q: I felt he had a lot of charisma and personality.
A: Yes, He learned through artist development. Trey, Chris Brown and Ne-Yo are some of the last artists of that generation. Look for new music with Trey Songz in 2020.
Get social with Troy Taylor @troytaylorttu