We had the good fortune of connecting with Gianni Taylor and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Gianni, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking is one thing that I have learned to get comfortable with, and that I wouldn’t be where I am today without. From stealing blank cd’s from the store up the street when I had no money so that I could burn my music on to them and try to sell them at school, to dropping out of college while I was on a full ride scholarship for basketball to go on tour with an artist I’ve never met, to moving to LA with no money saved up and just trusting my work ethic to figure it out, all the way to releasing a country song after everyone knew me for making hip hop. That song, “Lost Angeles”, went on to be my first song with a million plays. LA was a rough entrance, roommates walking out on rent, working multiple jobs just to cover the hole they put me in, etc., but it also ended up landing me my first major label placement as a songwriter, and propelling my music career forward to be able to sell out my first two headline shows. That scholarship I gave up? Well, that led to me being able to travel the country and perform in front of thousands of people, learn lessons school could’ve never taught me, and make life long friends along the way. Lastly, the cd’s. I was young and playing basketball at a high level so I didn’t have any time to get an actual job, so those were the reason I had any money in my bank at all at the time. If there’s anything I’ve learned from those situations, and all the other countless risks taken throughout my life, it’s that if you really want or believe in something, go for it. Take that risk, because the only way you can ensure it’ll never happen is if you don’t try. Plus, who knows, it just might work out.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I remember getting a mac laptop for my golden birthday. When I opened it, I didn’t think that it was going to change my life forever, but a old laptop with a hard drive full of music, a full ride scholarship for division 1 basketball getting left behind, a failed rap group that blossomed into a solo pop career, hundreds of shows, and millions of streams later, and here we are.

What sets me apart from other artists is my versatility. I mean, if you were to go down the list and listen to my top songs on Spotify you might have to double check who the artist because there’s a lot of different genres getting blended into each song. I think it’s directly correlated with how I was raised though, because at home, my mom would listen to 90’s R&B; Basketball, my friends and I were bumping early 2000’s hip hop and trying to be like Lil Wayne; Then, I would leave there and go skateboarding with my friends listening to music that you have to buy tickets to emo nite to see now.

My journey was the furthest thing from easy, and I think that’s why I got good at songwriting, because it feels like I’m really just journaling with a melody. After dropping out of college, my family and I were not very close. I moved to LA with no money, had multiple roommates walk out on me the day rent was due, lived with no power for months, would work two jobs just to afford to go to the studio and still be able to eat, go to the studio after those jobs, sleep for 4-5 hours, then wake up and do it all over again. I got made fun of in High school for pursuing something other than the norm. I lost friends because they saw me as a way to get ahead, the list goes on. However, through everything, I still feel blessed for it all. In every dark moment I can refer to a strong life long lesson I learned, and I can also point to a very beautiful bright moment that came right after.

All of those low moments in my life have given me the strength to be able to approach any challenge that comes my way with the ability to overcome it. I hold onto a belief that the bad only comes right before the good, and any obstacle that I’m faced with can be turned into a stepping stone with a change in perspective.

I’m passionate about my dreams, and I try to show that through my art. I believe that music is changing. It’s rare for you to find someone nowadays who’s music library is all just one genre, which is why I feel that being constrained to one genre as an artist is an outdated mentality. I dream about breaking barriers for artists who want to make more than one style of music. I want to show people there’s no time limit on pursuing something you love, and if you really want something, and are willing to dedicate yourself to achieving it, that anything is possible.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I like the low key lit spots so I can’t be giving out all the sauce online! We can go to El Matador though, or do the wisdom tree hike. Those are probably my two favorite non-low-key spots lol

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d be nowhere close to where I am today without the support from my friends, family, and team. One of the main reasons I love music so much is because of how many amazing people it’s brought into my life. There’s so many people that have had such strong impacts so it’s hard to mention any names without feeling like I’m leaving people out, but I want to use this moment to highlight my family who always reminds me to have fun with it (but not too much lol), my girlfriend, Maddie Casadonte, who has been here next to me through a lot of highs and lows that come with chasing a dream, and also inspires the hell out of me daily with how hard she works (starting a fitness business in the middle of a pandemic? boss.). My manager and one of my best friends Jordan Levine, for selflessly working hard to bring everyone else’s dreams to life while still working on his own, and more importantly, for being a good friend. My day ones, Kevin Weir, Tyler Goss, Ryan Owens who I started this whole thing on the SoMo tour with, and plan to sit at the Grammy’s with one day. Drew Bland for spending countless hours in the studio with me, we started off as coworkers at a bar, and ended up becoming brothers through music, sh*t’s crazy. Honestly I can go on forever, but I always give people their flowers in person when I see them so if you’re reading this I love you, and thank you for being in my life

Website: https://soundcloud.com/giannitaylor

Instagram: instagram.com/giannitaylor

Twitter: twitter.com/mynamesgianni

Facebook: facebook.com/giannitaylor

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy3GiJnIACk1hw6QKr9DqfA

Other: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3fNJYQvnucBeI9BfNwMC5i?si=vpsYr2RVQ9GhFSjXh7wNeQ&dl_branch=1

Image Credits
Joey Pusateri, Justin Escalona, Brandon Owen

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.