Most people know Gavin Taylor as one of the senior Men’s Rugby captains at Keene State College. Some people may even know he lives on a dairy farm.
“I love cows. Cows are like dogs, they are so nice. Oh yeah, I let them lick me, one [of the cows] Kayla, she just licks everything,” Taylor said.
But, not many people know his musical side.
“I’m the rugby captain, I live on a farm, but I feel like a lot of people don’t know the side of me that comes out in music,” Taylor said.
Taylor has always been interested in music. Taylor’s mother, Annie Taylor, said she put Gavin in a program called Music for Children when he was three.
“He was just a fabulous little dancer and always has a drum beat in his head,” Taylor’s mother said.
“We went to a Christmas party, maybe he was in kindergarten or first grade, and Gavin went off by himself in this room and just wowed everybody,” Annie said. After kindergarten he added on a more unique instrument, the cello, through middle school.
“I was little. I started playing the drums when I was five. When I went to elementary school I went to band and played cello until middle school,” Taylor said.
Annie said Gavin was a talented percussionist and cellist but when he found the guitar, that instrument became his focus.
“So for years and years he was a percussionist and he was a fantastic percussionist, but then he discovered guitar and went off with that,” Annie said.
One may think growing up on a farm and living with cows would automatically lead Taylor to country music, but he actually described himself as a punk rock kid until he switched to acoustic guitar.
“It was punk and rock and I used to skateboard. I grew up on a farm but I still had a punk rock edge. But that all stopped when I stopped playing electric guitar and really just played acoustic,” Taylor said.
That’s when Taylor began to discover his true sound through country.
“I started really listening to country music in high school and kind of found myself there. There are a lot of lessons and stories that I learned from that,” he said.
Taylor said because he grew up without a strong father figure, the lessons he learned through country music made a huge impact.
“I haven’t seen him [his father] in three or four years now. He was never really a good role model. I didn’t really learn anything from him besides what not to do,” Taylor said.
Taylor said because he did not have a major male role model growing up, country music was his role model.
“So I started enjoying country and started learning it,” the rugby captain said.
He started by learning covers, eventually realizing his passion for writing music his sophomore year of college.
“I started writing sophomore year. I enjoyed writing rather than learning other people’s songs,” Taylor said.
He said writing music is the only way he has ever been able to truly release his emotions.
“It’s kind of like the only way I’ve ever been able to release stress. Once I get it down in a song it’s totally released. It’s surreal. I really like writing songs,” he said.
Annie Taylor said she thinks writing music is a healthy avenue for Gavin to cope with some of the challenges he has faced in life.
“I think for Gavin he has gone through some challenging times. I feel a lot of the confusion and pain coming out [in his music] that way I think music has nurtured his soul,” his mother said. However, that did not change his shyness about singing in front of people.
“Even at home I wouldn’t sing unless I was home alone. It took me a while to feel comfortable to sing at home and out for random people,” Taylor said.
Annie Taylor said she always wanted her son to try singing.
“I would say, ‘Gav, you should try.’ He would say ‘Oh no, no, no I don’t want to sing.’”
Gavin’s mother said she caught him singing a few times around the house.
“He would close the door in his bedroom and we would hear him through the wall singing,” Gavin’s mom explained.
He began to perform for people because of his rugby teammate’s support.
“When I got to college I started singing, which I was very shy about,” Taylor said. “But my teammates started pushing me and wanted me to sing a song and try singing.”
He tried one song and his team really liked it so he learned more. Taylor said that after that, he had nights where he would play for hours. That didn’t happen without some help, however.
“It always took a couple beers to calm the nerves,” Taylor said.
Taylor said it was not until last year that he finally became more comfortable performing in front of people.
When he performed in a fundraiser for people with eating disorders, he became more comfortable performing.
“The big step was playing in the Mabel Brown Room last year, it was a lot of fun,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s friend, Ken Carr commented on his first performance last year.
“He was super nervous going into it; he was completely comfortable on stage even though he seemed nervous before it,” Carr said. Annie Taylor said she heard her son convey his nervousness first hand.
“You have to love it, a big rugby boy and he still calls home and said ‘Mom I’ve been asked (to sing at a sorority fundraiser) and I’m nervous, should I do it?’ And I said absolutely,” Annie said.
Now, Taylor said he loves performing songs he wrote because he feels like he is venting to people, whether they actually listen or not.
“It’s nice to vent to people. They can listen or they don’t have to. They can listen to the lyrics as much as they want,” he went on.
According to Carr, people request his songs because they are appealing.
“His stuff is just super catchy and I have always been someone who liked music that is catchy and pleasing. Just being how catchy it was, they were like this is stuff anyone can listen to,” Carr said.
Carr said people listening to his songs can truly feel the emotion he puts into them.
“This came from him, a lot of it has a lot of meaning to it,” Carr explained, “It’s not just your classic kid-sitting-on-a-porch kind of thing, it has a lot of meaning to it.”
One of Taylor’s favorite songs is called “I Believe.” It is a story about a couple that splits because it was just not working.
The guy is upset, but he believes in fate. So if it is meant to be, he thinks they will be with each other again. Fate brings them together in the future and they end up getting married. The over all theme of the song is about trusting in fate.
When remarking on his song “I Believe,” Taylor said, the couple believed in fate and fate brought them together because it was meant to be. “There is such thing as fate and that if it is meant to be, it is meant to be,” Taylor said.
Now, Taylor said he is hoping fate will lead him to Nashville, Tenessee to write music. There seems to be a lot of power behind passion.
“My dream is to travel down south to Nashville. That would be the dream because I don’t really know what I want to do with my life,” he said.
“I just know I really love music that is the only sure thing I know. That’s the dream.”
Anna Glassman can be contacted at email@example.com