Local musician back after years of silence
To hear music by Tanya Taylor and Todd Bigatel, visit Taylor’s channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/tanyalynntaylor.
Park City singer, choreographer, producer and songwriter Tanya Taylor has embarked on a new musical adventure after taking time off for school.
Taylor, known for her solo concerts and her performances with the Park City Follies and Giving a Bleep musicals, is currently working on three albums with her partner Todd Bigatel.
The albums have different styles: a “rock album, a country album and a jazz album,” Taylor said.
The rock album is called “Village Gossip.” The country album’s title is “Leave It on the Ground” and the jazz album will be known as “Find A Way.”
These three projects are the result of a musical called “Sudan and Me” that Taylor started writing in 2013.
“The musical is about my friend Solomon Awan, who was one of the Lost Boys of Sudan,” she said.
The Lost Boys were a group of more than 20,000 Sudanese boys between the ages of seven and 17 who were orphaned during the country’s civil war from 1983 to 2005, one of the bloodiest since World War II.
Taylor met Awan through a friend and was touched by his story. After creating a production that paid tribute to Awan and his fellow refugees in 2013, she began expanding the program into a full-length musical.
Bigatel, who is an endocrinologist at Park City Hospital, started writing with Taylor two years ago.
“It became a passion for us,” Taylor said of the project. “We worked so well as a team that we began writing more music about different things.”
The songs were about both Taylor and Bigatel’s families.
“I just wrote a song for my dad called ‘Tough, but Humble,’ and I’ve written songs for my mom and my daughter and Todd’s mom and dad,” Taylor said.
The duo also have written songs inspired by current events.
“We wrote about the Las Vegas shooting and the #MeToo movement,” Taylor said. “There really is no shortage of what we can write about.”
Bigatel plays guitar and bass, and Taylor sings and plays piano.
“I can also play guitar, but Todd is such an exceptional guitarist, so I leave that up to him,” Taylor said.
Taylor and Bigatel produced the drums were through a MIDI controller, which is played like a keyboard, Taylor said.
“Todd is an incredibly intelligent human being, and out of the both of us, he is the more talented,” she said. “He has written thousands of songs, but none of them have been produced. And that’s where I come in. I like to capture the songs in the moment and produce them for recording.”
After writing five songs together, Taylor and Bigatel looked for ways to get their songs out to the public.
“We found a company called Sound Door, and we submitted the songs,” Taylor said.
Sound Door offers reviews and critiques, and the elements of the songs are rated on a scale from one to 10.
“We would get back fours and fives and knew we had a lot of room for improvement,” she said. “So after reading the critiques we began adhering to what they said.”
After submitting the new versions of the songs, the reviews came back with nines and tens.
“We ended up submitting 20 songs and eight of them won top honors in different categories,” Taylor said. “That’s when Sound Door told us to submit songs to companies and artists.”
In order to make professional recordings for submission, Taylor and Bigatel invested in a recording studio.
“We’ve laid down all the tracks and have been going back and rewriting them per the advice of Sound Door,” Taylor said.
The biggest challenge of the recording process was tapping into the emotion that can be felt while playing the songs live in front of an audience.
“The emotion is there in the moment when we do it live, but when we try to play the songs to a click track, the emotion can get lost because you are focusing on keeping within the parameter set up from the click tracks,” Taylor said. “There’s no room for improvisation and the human element slips a bit.”
That hasn’t stopped the duo from posting the songs to YouTube.
“We initially put the songs on my Taylor Productions website, but if I ever want to do that again, I want to keep Taylor Productions and the music separate,” Taylor said. “So we are looking to start up another website just for the music.”
Taylor, who is working on her Executive Masters in Business Administration with the Jack Welch Management Institute and is a full-time English professor for Strayer University, is enjoying her return to music. Last September, she was recruited as the new accompanist for the Park City Singers, a renowned local choir.
“Working with the Park City Singers was the best, because before that I had completely removed music from my life to focus on my studies,” Taylor said. “I missed music so terribly, and I really had to work hard to get it back and find the joy and contribute to our community.”
While she and Bigatel have goals to get at least two of their songs recorded by and artist or sold to a major music company, Taylor still has ideas for “Sudan and Me.”
“I would like to finish the musical and produce it for the stage,” she said. “That would be wonderful.”
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