Bio

Machan Taylor
Vocalist, Recording Artist, Composer, Educator

When Machan sings – whether as part of a finely tuned background ensemble, belting
out a rock anthem or delivering a ballad in an intimate solo setting – listeners are
moved by what Variety Magazine called her “seamless vocal style.”

Her compelling vocal talents have graced live performances and recordings by some of
the world’s most celebrated musicians. While on tour with Sting, Machan sang with
him at The GRAMMY® Awards and Royal Albert Hall and she’s dazzled audiences
around the globe on big stadium concert tours with Pink Floyd, Foreigner and Pat
Benetar. She’s shared the stage with artists as diverse as Aretha Franklin, George
Benson, Gov’t Mule and Natalie Merchant, and was front woman for the acclaimed jazz
ensemble, Hiroshima, for three years. Her work has attracted the attention of millions of
TV viewers via appearances on Saturday Night Live, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay
Leno/The Tonight Show, Arsenio Hall and other major network shows.

“Blessed with a powerful voice, astonishing range and physical beauty,
Taylor was spectacularly successful …”
Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times, Playboy Jazz Festival

Machan started her career singing in coffeehouses and nightclubs at age 16 and, a year
later, attracted a huge and loyal fan base in the NYC metro area as co-leader of a swing,
bebop and jazz band, Za Zu Zaz. In 1979, she moved to NYC and landed a two-year gig
as featured vocalist for the legendary Glenn Miller Orchestra. From there, her career
took off and she enjoyed touring and recording all over the world for a couple of
decades.

Following her 2000 world tour with Sting, Machan was ready to finally record her own
compositions. She recorded her first release, Machan (A440 Records, 2004), with the help
of several musicians and producers such as GRAMMY Award winner Rick DePofi,
renowned jazz bassist Brian Bromberg, and her husband, Danny Louis, keyboardist for
Gov’t Mule. The CD – which reached #35 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Jazz Charts
just one month after release – reflected her love of Brazilian music and her earliest
influences (Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Judy Collins and her mother, who had a career
as a jazz singer in Tokyo). Her second recording of originals, Motion of Love (NuGroove
Records, 2007), featured performances with John Medeski, John Scofield, Randy Brecker
and Danny Louis. In this recording, she revealed herself both musically and personally,
offering lyrics with social commentary embedded into a range of diverse grooves. “As
I’ve gotten older,” she says, “I can’t ignore what’s happening in the world or the way I
feel about it. To develop as a songwriter, I want to speak my truth.”

“Miss Taylor, a striking-looking Eurasian, has an even more striking voice
that she warms up with some adept scat singing, and eventually explodes
in a display of vocalizing that takes off in the Yma Sumac manner.”
John S. Wilson, The New York Times

In 2011, she was executive producer for The Motherland Project, a CD featuring Jackie
Greene, Rachael Yamagata and other musicians who united to raise funds for victims of
the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. A year later, she participated in The Hudson Valley
Artists Hurricane Relief Project (a CD compilation with Medeski, Martin & Wood; Amy
Helm; Gov’t Mule and others) to help Hudson Valley victims of Hurricane Irene. And,
she sang with Natalie Merchant to support the release of Jon Bowermaster’s 2012 antifracking
documentary film, Dear Governor Cuomo. “I love to support causes that speak to
my value system or for the environment,” Machan says, “and I look forward to writing
more music for film and television.”

Her compositions in collaboration with keyboardist and producer Steve Gaboury have
been featured on shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show and in the Oscar winning film,
American Beauty, starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Benning. She sang on the
soundtracks for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Natural
Born Killers and other films. And, Machan has developed impressive credits as a vocalist
or composer for corporate campaigns for Oil of Olay, Cottonelle, Toyota, Sears and
Duracell, among other clients.

But, despite her accomplishments, Machan says, “I felt like there was a hole. I’ve had a
lifelong goal to go back to school and get my degree. In the next chapter of my life, I
would love to get a faculty position teaching music.”

In 2013, Machan completed her undergraduate degree in Arts-Contemporary Vocal
Performance at the State University of New York/Empire State College and received
her master’s degree from New York University (NYU) in Theory and Composition-
Songwriting/Film Composing in May 2016. She currently teaches at NYU’s Clive Davis
School of Recorded Music and works as a private teacher as well. She served as vocal
coach for two major motion pictures – Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut, Higher Ground
(2010) and Peace, Love and Misunderstanding (Bruce Beresford, Director, 2011), starring
Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener.

“It’s funny how circles in your life go around. I didn’t go to college because I was
already singing professionally when I graduated from high school. Back then, I thought,
‘why do I have to go to school? I’m already doing it!’ My recent big push to go back and
get my undergraduate and master’s degrees accomplished a major goal for me.”

“I love teaching,” she continues. “And, of course, I have always loved to sing. Being a
composer offers me yet another creative outlet. At one point, I remember feeling like I
was ‘all over the place,’ but now I see my diversity of experience as my strength,”
Machan says. “Choosing to live as a creative person is a tough road to travel, and it
requires you to be a survivalist. You’ve got to learn to develop and draw upon various
aspects of your talents, not just one.”