Who is Darnell “Showcase” Taylor?
I’m a musician, songwriter, producer, and engineer who never stops dreaming of the power of creativity. I’m a creator who believes that anything is possible if you hone your craft and work hard.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Moncure, NC, which is a small town with a population that is smaller than most of the arenas where I play. When I reflect on the journey, I can’t help but be amazed. I am grateful for my roots and excited about all that is to come.
What or who are some of your musical influences? Who inspires you? Describe your upbringing?
My musical influences were passionate local musicians that I met in the church such as Kelvin Crump, Xavier Martin, and Joe Nathan McKoy. I’m also inspired by other professional musicians, especially when I see them giving their all to this industry. I’m also moved by everyday people who excel at what they do. I am a firm believer that I can learn from anyone in any environment. The attributes that make you great, like determination, resilience, and humility, work across all industries.
If you were to take our readers on a tour of where you come from, what would we see? What experiences can you share with us that led you down this path of chasing your dreams?
This is an awesome question that makes me really appreciate my humble beginnings. The 2010 Census reported that there are 711 people who call my town “home.” To put this in perspective, I play guitar for Grammy Award winner Anthony Hamilton who just tore the house down at the Hampton Coliseum in front of 10,000 fans. That’s more than 10 times the population of Moncure!
Moncure is a special place where people take the time to get to know you as a person. The people who run the market, the gas station and the local shops are all people who you know. Whether you played as children or live on the same street, there is always a personal connection. Moncure doesn’t have glitz and glam but it has a charm that feels like you are somewhere where you’re more than a number.
How did you get started performing? What was it about that roped you in figuratively speaking?
I started performing for a gospel solo artist named Mary Lowery. She and her husband asked me to join their band. A few of my cousins were already involved so I was excited to be included! At that time, I had been playing music about two years or so. I still remember that we rehearsed on a Wednesday night. That weekend, I was on local stages playing a solo on her closing song called “God is Real.” Every show, people would always compliment me, especially because I was so young. As a 14-year-old, I was hooked on the magic of performing. The crowds, the stage, the lights all had me amazed. It was a way to travel and see something bigger than my town and earn money. I’ll never forget making my first $100 dollars for playing in church. I was there for two hours and played only 30 minutes and they paid me “all” of that money. I knew right then that music would be a big part of my life.
How do you come up with the ideas for your songs? Is there a particular method to the “madness”?
Ideas come from so many different places. I can be in a restaurant and hear a sound. I can hear a guitar riff or chord progression in my head and say, “That’s it.” I also warm up by playing different notes and sometimes my fingers just go. There is a magic that just ensues.
How many instruments do you play? And did you go to school to learn how to play or are you self-taught?
I play Guitar, Bass, and Piano, which was all self-taught without any formal training.
Take us through your thought process of how you create your music?
I create music with the final product in mind. I think of the final mix, mastering and the marketing of the song. I ask myself, “What will people be inspired to do?” It’s more than just those three to four minutes. I think in terms of lifestyles and what action I hope to motivate. After I create the melody or main progression, I then build the different parts from there. I always hear different sounds and parts in my head. The challenge is to get them to come out the same way that I heard them.
How was it working on a successful show like “Shots Fired”?
“Shots Fired” was a great experience. I can’t fully explain the value of seeing the process of a Hollywood production and to be part of an amazing movement. The music supervisor, Jabari Ali, is a great spirit who was beyond committed to creating a family of musicians who understand that “Music Provokes Change,” which is his coined tagline. Although this show is fictional, this music is real. The themes of the show like police brutality, failing schools, and poverty is real. I can’t wait for my next film/television project so to all the music supervisors out there, let’s work!
What artist(s) out now, if you were to compare yourself to someone, would you compare yourself to? Who would you want to work with?
As an artist, I see myself in my own light with my own approach to creativity that varies greatly. However, if I had to mention artists who consistently inspire me, I would have to salute Kenny “BabyFace” Edmonds because I’ve always admired his writing/production skills. I also have incredible respect for Master P in terms of how he learned the business and recognized the power of entrepreneurship.
What’s your favorite thing about being an artist?
Every day I wake up with the goal of creating. I am so thankful that the thing that excites me most is also the thing that pays my bills. I grew up admiring a guitar brand called Ibanez and now I have an endorsement deal with them. It’s just an indescribable feeling. Furthermore, to know that your creativity inspires people across the world is also amazing.
During the NAMM Trade Show earlier this year, I met two people from Japan who are fans of my work. They shared that they keep up with me on YouTube and other social media. I was blown away, to say the least.
What’re your future plans? What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on my first solo project, which includes traditional soul/jazz elements. There is also a track that fuses trap music and I am so excited to show the world that you don’t have to choose one genre. I am also creating a cartoon and producing a project with soul artist Calvin Richardson. I’ve also been mixing songs for other artists. Simply stated, I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to live a life of purpose.