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Dani Taylor

Dani Taylor

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Meet Dani Taylor, Arizona's Own Rising Country Star

By Riki Altman-Yee

Photography by Griffith Imaging

09.17.18

Phoenix’s Dani Taylor just might make Arizona a country music capital, after all.

Listening to Dani Taylor’s voice on her new track “Hello Dallas,” anyone would think she was born to sing country, yet she confesses: “I really didn’t fall in love with it until a couple years ago. I grew up listening to reggae, alternative ’90s rock and classical.” Born in Phoenix (“Off I-17 somewhere,” she says), Taylor performed in musicals from a young age, trusting that someday she would follow in the footsteps of her matriline. “My mother’s side of the family [is comprised of] musicians and singers,” she says. Yet, in high school, she hit a wall. “I was told I shouldn’t be pursuing [a vocal career],” she recalls. “So I became reclusive and practiced in my bedroom. But, finally, I realized this was my dream.” While a student at ASU, she hired a vocal coach and guitar teacher; then, one day five years ago, a Patsy Cline song popped up on Spotify and Taylor crooned along, realizing she could really soar in the genre. “The way I write my songs is perfect for country,” she explains. “The lyrics tell a well-rounded story that makes you feel something. My lyrics are very real and raw. I’m handing my emotions out on a platter. I’m drawn to it.”

At the start of 2018, Taylor moved to Nashville and sought out celebrated producer Travis Howard. “This place has a lot of chances,” she explains. “It is Music City for a reason.” The duo co-wrote a majority of the songs for her first EP, Scorched Earth, recorded at the legendary Sound Emporium, where Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and dozens of others created their musical masterpieces.

The Scorched Earth release party will take place in Arizona (check danitaylormusic.com for updates) just after the album's release, which is yet to be announced. Taylor is currently writing her second EP and has high hopes of partnering with other artists in the future. Yet fans should know they can still spot Taylor in North Scottsdale and Flagstaff, where her parents own homes. "I'm back in Arizona every two months," she promises. "Otherwise I'd miss my dogs and horses too much." Perhaps Taylor's roots, and a few pairs of boots, will lead her straight to the CMAs.