By Luana Mattos, Guest Blogger September 16, 2015
Taylor Davis is best known for flawlessly playing several violin-covers of music from video games featured on her YouTube channel "ViolinTay." But she also has her own compositions, Davis original song “Awakening” is the perfect soundtrack of a winner; it inspires you to overcome trials and challenges, it reminds you that no matter how loud the outside voices are, your inner voice will always prevail. That voice spoke louder in Taylor’s life when she was bullied in middle and high school, that voice called when she was 8 years old, when she discovered her own truth and started her journey on the way to becoming the best version of herself.
1) You debuted at #10 on Billboard classical chart and have a US tour coming in September. Congratulations on that! I know that these achievements are the result of a lot of work and dedication!
Thank you so much! I feel incredibly grateful to be where I am and to have such an awesome community of people interested in supporting what I’m doing.
2) Could you tell us a little bit about your background and what inspired you to become a violin player?
I grew up in the Midwest in a wonderful family. I have an older brother who got me interested in video games at a very young age and I’ve actually been a gamer longer than I’ve been a violinist. I started playing the violin when I was about 8 years old. I can’t ever remember being interested in playing an instrument before that age, but I suddenly became inspired to learn the violin after watching a girl play Silent Night at a special elementary school Christmas assembly. I can still remember being in that moment and having that intense desire to start learning how to play the violin.
image via Taylordavis.com
3) You were bullied in high school for playing the music you love. How did this experience shape you as an artist?
I was unfortunately bullied for a lot of things, not just for my music. In middle school I was bullied both physically and verbally for my appearance and for playing video games, playing the violin and other assorted “nerdy” interests. I didn’t feel like I had anyone in my life who really understood me so it was a pretty sad and lonely time. I was really depressed for a few years and actually used to cut myself.
By the time high school came around I was just tired of feeling depressed so I stopped cutting and also consciously decided to stop caring what people thought of me. I was a lot more comfortable just being myself and being independent, but I was still lonely. Then I met someone in the first few months in high school who was just as “nerdy” as I was and who actually liked the things about me that other people used to make fun of. Even though we certainly weren’t in the “popular” crowd, we didn’t care because we both really loved hanging out with each other, playing video games together, just enjoying the things we both loved without worrying what people thought and it felt amazing.
That was Jarred, who I’ve been married to for 4 years now, and we’ve been best friends for the past 14 years. I think the whole bullying thing shaped me more personally than artistically. It really gave me a lot of perspective on what’s important in life and how you can be happy and love yourself even if you’re different. I feel like I have a pretty easy time respecting and understanding people who are different from me after going through all that.
4) As a young artist you must get a lot of advices. What piece of advice changed your life?
Before I started posting my own videos on YouTube, I remember watching this one video that really inspired me. It was a motivational video by a vocal coach about how so many people will just talk about wanting something, but because they’re afraid of failing they never take the actions necessary to achieve their goals.
This was specifically directed at musicians who say they want to have a career in music but have never actually done anything meaningful to put themselves out there in the world to be discovered. Basically, you could be the world’s most talented musician, but if you never put in the effort needed to get your music out into the world for people to find it, no one will ever know or care.
It’s so true and really hit home for me at the time because I kept saying I wanted this career and that I knew I could do it, but I hadn’t actually done anything to prove that yet. It really motivated me to get serious about creating something tangible so I could show people what I was doing instead of just talking about what I wanted to do.
5) Your life has changed significantly since 2010 when you started your YouTube channel. Based on that, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
It’s so hard to predict what will happen in the future, and I’ve really learned that over the last few years with the direction my career has taken. Never in my dreams did I imagine that I would have a successful career in music, let alone the kind of career where I get to consistently work on projects I’m passionate about and share it with an amazing audience. I don’t know where I’ll be in 10 years but I really hope that I’ll still be as happy as I am today, making new music to share with my audience and maybe have a couple of kids running around the house!
image via youtube.com
6) For many reasons you are THAT GIRL, but who is THAT GIRL in your life? Who is your biggest female influence and why?
Thank you! THAT GIRL in my life would have to be my mom. She’s my best female friend and we’ve always had a very close relationship. I was very blessed having her as a female role model while I was growing up. She’s strong, independent, adventurous, always tries to see the good in people, and has a very loving and gentle spirit. I know I can always talk to her about anything without fear of judgment, and she has always been the biggest supporter and #1 fan of my music.
7) The IATG community promotes collaboration over competition; in a competitive world as the entertainment industry what do you believe the girls can do to balance that?
Collaboration is such a positive thing and I really believe that it can be so much more fun and rewarding to work with and learn from other girls who have similar goals than to try and compete with them. I honestly believe there’s room for anyone who works hard to be successful in this industry, and instead of feeling threatened by girls who are talented and successful, try looking to them for inspiration and motivation in a positive way.
It’s totally fine and natural to look at another girl’s career and say “I’d like that too” but instead of getting competitive or jealous, find a way to achieve that without putting anyone down along the way.
8) Being in the spotlight brings many fans but, unfortunately, also haters. How do you deal with the negative comments?
I have to say I am extremely fortunate to have such an overwhelmingly positive and supportive audience because it has really made what I do very enjoyable. Of course everyone gets the occasional nasty comment though and it can sometimes be tough to see those. When I first started posting videos I was so sensitive to the negative comments that I could read through 100+ positive comments but would only remember the 1 negative comment. It doesn’t make sense logically to feel that way but it was so hard for me to brush those off.
image via youtube.com
Finally, after a few years of being frustrated with feeling like that, I remember having a talk with myself and decided it wasn’t fair to be spending my limited time and energy thinking about or responding to the incredibly small amount of people who were purposely trying to make me feel bad about myself if I couldn’t give that same time and energy to all of the positive people who were trying to encourage and support me.
It wasn’t easy and I really had to train myself to get into that mindset and only focus on the positives. Thankfully at this point those hateful comments rarely upset me, and it’s a really empowering feeling to let go of caring what the negative people think. At the end of the day you just have to remember that haters gonna hate!
9) After all the experiences in your life what would tell your sixteen-year-old self?
That’s a tough one! I tried to avoid practicing my violin when I was younger because I didn’t used to have fun with it but I definitely would tell her to practice her violin more! I would also tell her to keep following her passions and what makes her happy regardless of what other people think.
10) IATG inspires girls to follow their passion, and you are definitely following yours. What advice would you give to the girls that want to pursue a music career?
I think that it’s important to always do what you love and not just what you necessarily think other people will love. I know I could have gotten some more views or followers here and there by choosing to perform different types of music that I wasn’t as excited about, but for me personally it wouldn’t have felt genuine to perform music that I didn’t really love.
That’s something that has always been important to me, and one of the main reasons why I think people can feel really connected with my music. It’s definitely not the easiest way to make a living sometimes, but if you’re doing something that makes you happy and that you’re proud of, it makes the tough times a little bit easier to deal with. If you’re working hard, being the best that you can be and putting out content that you really love and believe in, people will be drawn to what you’re doing.
Check out Taylor's music and more at http://www.taylordavisviolin.com/!
What's your passion? Tell us below!
Luana is a believer: her faith is what moves her! She believes in God, and that's why she does not conform to the pattern of this world. She is transformed by the renewing of mind. She believes a pencil can change the world– why she invests monthly in Pencils of Promise. She believes in companionship over competition– why she sponsors a girl. She believes in entertainment without gossip and hostility– why she joined the Brazilian website hollywoodeaqui.com. She believes in the impossible– why she never stops dreaming!
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.