Interview with Livingston Taylor

Connecticut, get ready for Livingston Taylor at Infinity Hall in Norfolk! Not sure if you know his music? Well, he’s not only a singer, but he’s also a songwriter, and his brother James Taylor has recorded a couple of his songs, “Boatman” and “I Can Dream of You.” He’s a full professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston and has been teaching a “Stage Performance” class since 1989, as well as having written a book with the same name.

What do you love about Connecticut?
There are many things to love about Connecticut. The thing I love most is that Connecticut embodies, maybe more than any other place, that Yankee sensibility of “let’s get it done.” It’s a very functional state. People in CT are competent and they have an ease and a grace about them. Connecticut residents are a joyful people. They, more than many others, appreciate my competence and are delighted by it.

Your latest album Blue Sky, came out last year. For our readers who may not have heard it yet, how would you describe it to them?
Blue Sky is a combination of songs that I love to sing and songs that I’ve written. [Records are] made to document what I’m doing and for the joy of working with the best players on the planet.

With brother James Taylor

Who or what inspires you musically?
I’m inspired by many things. What I like to do is just to listen to the sounds of passing life. The stories of the life experience and then, in order to make the passions, the white hot passions of those stories safe, what we do is then surround them by time and tonality in rhyme and in melody. And in surrounding them with time and tonality, rhyme and melody, we make very white hot passion safe to be close to. This is why when you write it is required that you write with focus and discipline. You do not get to be sloppy if you expect people to be in the proximity of your passion. They will not accept your passion until they are held by your discipline.

Finish the sentences:

  • The song I have on repeat is “the song that I’m waiting for my students to record.”
  • My favorite place to write is “wherever the muse chooses to tap me on the shoulder. And it can be anyplace.”
  • As a professor at Berklee College of Music, the most important thing I want my students to get out of my class, Stage Performance – or those reading the book, is “that the reason why we go on stage is not to be seen, but to see. The reason why we make music is not to be heard, but to hear.”
  • What I know to be true is “the unfathomable depth of our ignorance. That hope is irrepressible.”

    Photo credits: Philip Porcella, Albie Colantonio, and Ron Pownall. Photo of James and Livingston from

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  1. Livingston is fantastic ….you must if you can get to see him

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