Taylor Davis Interview aka ViolinTay
I hear that you are working on a new album. Could you talk about it?
I'm actually working on 2 new solo albums, 1 is a movie theme cover album and the other is an album of my original work. The movie album will hopefully be finished in June or July and will feature songs from movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, etc. All my favorite themes from some of my favorite movies. I am hoping to have my first album of original work finished to release this fall. I am so excited to be working with a professional producer, Adam Gubman, for my movie album and some of the songs on my original album. For my previous albums, I did all aspects of the production myself but it's incredibly difficult and time consuming to do everything on your own. I love Adam's work and I know that he will really bring the quality up another level.
What are some of the upcoming songs that we can look forward to you performing next?
The next song I'll be performing on my YouTube channel is from my first album "Gaming Fantasy". It's a piece called Dearly Beloved from Kingdom Hearts. I am traveling to Oregon later this month to work with a team of professional videographers to film for an original song and also the Pirates of the Caribbean theme from my movie album. I will also be working with Landon again next month for something from Zelda, Harry Potter and another original song.
Are there any recent and/or upcoming performances that you could tell us about?
I don't have any live performances planned as of right now. I am hoping to attend and perform at PAX Prime in Seattle this year but I'm still waiting to hear back on that. I may also be attending VidCon for the first time this year.
What is one of your personal favorites (songs) that you've performed thus far?
I really enjoyed performing my arrangement of Apotheosis and I Was Born for This from the game Journey. I absolutely love the music from Journey and find it to be so moving, more so than any of the other pieces I have performed. Since that video was uploaded, I have been in contact with the composer for Journey, Austin Wintory, and we've developed a very nice professional friendship that has been very meaningful to me. It was such a great experience and it was also my first video filmed by a professional videographer, and the first time I tried cosplay, so I have a lot of great feelings about that performance.
What was it like when you first started with your YouTube channel, violintay? Did you realize that it would help make your career?
I really had no idea where it would lead, but I was hoping that it might help me find a meaningful way to keep music a part of my life since I wasn't planning on pursuing a career in music when I graduated college. I had a business job when I graduated, and all I could think about while I was working there was how much I would rather be playing my violin or doing something related to music. Once I had developed enough of an audience and figured out how to use the software and equipment necessary to make an album, I decided to quit my job and pursue music full time to see if I could make a living from it. I didn't make any money for 6 months since I was working on my album during that time, but once I released it I was able to start making money and thankfully I have so many wonderful people supporting me through purchasing my music, watching my videos, sharing them, etc. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to make a living doing what I love.
About how much time does it take to put a YouTube video together?
It depends on how high quality I want to make the production. Until recently I didn't have anyone to work with to create higher quality videos, and now that I'm making contacts and finding more people to work with, I'd like to continue creating higher quality videos because it makes such a difference to the success of your videos and how your music is perceived. For my older videos that I used to take myself, it would take me a few hours to put everything together. For a higher quality video it usually takes a full day to film, if not multiple days, and it takes hours of time in pre-production to create an arrangement, create an orchestral backtrack, record the violin part, find a location to film and figure out the right clothing to choose, and then hours in post-production to edit the video footage. It's a commitment of time and resources but it's wonderful to have the opportunity to be more creative with higher quality production.
I hear that you got into gaming by playing video games with your brother and that you started playing video game songs by ear. Could you tell us more about that?
Yes, I can thank my brother for my gaming prowess! :) He's my only sibling, so he basically wanted to turn me into a younger brother. From a young age we would play video games together and we'd always ask for the newest video game system for Christmas or birthday presents when we were growing up. One year my parents got Sega Genesis for my gift and my brother got Super Nintendo, I think that is one of the most exciting Christmases we can remember from growing up haha! When I started playing the violin, I played mostly classical music but for fun I would try and play the songs that I heard in video games by ear and that's how I started really getting interested in game music. The music from Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VII had the most influence on me. What type of video games do you prefer? and what are you currently playing?
If I'm playing by myself, I've always been a fan of RPG games, especially the Final Fantasy series, but I usually will try just about anything. I love games like Halo, Super Smash Bros, Mario Kart, and all those other types of games when I'm playing with friends. Right now I play League of Legends on a fairly regular basis with my brother and husband. I just finished Bioshock Infinite a few weeks ago and loved it.
What games are you looking forward to?
I'm really interested in seeing how The Elder Scrolls Online will be. I'm not sure if I'll play it often but I'd like to try it because I really enjoyed Skyrim.
Do you make sheet music to go along with what you've played?
I've only made sheets for a few of the songs I've played. Some of them are free on my site, and I was able to license my Zelda Medley for my website store. I'd love to be able to license more sheet music for my store because then I would transcribe more of my arrangements, but it's very difficult to get a hold of publishers to obtain those rights. I make my living solely from music right now and I manage everything for my career myself so unfortunately I can't justify taking the time to create arrangements for free.
How much do you practice the violin these days?
I've been practicing much more in the past few years than I have in my entire life. I try to practice at least 2 hours a day now, if not more if I get lucky and have some extra time.
I'd just like to say thank you again so much for all of the support I've received from my fans over the last 3 years. Their support is the reason that I'm able to pursue my dreams and make a living from my passion and I will be forever grateful for that amazing gift they've given to me.