When it comes to Mike Taylor’s music, it’s all about creating a feel-good moment. After building his name with breakthrough appearances on hits from Afrojack and DJ Vice, the Philadelphia native boils down his love of Michael Jackson, Earth Wind & Fire and Rick James and swirls them together in a contemporary context.
“You know when it’s that time of the night and your drunk uncle is having such a good time he doesn’t want to get off the dance floor? Yeah, that’s my vibe in a nutshell,” explains the Rostrum Records visionary, who signed to the independent label in February. “My sound is energetic, upbeat, fun, worldly and fuses any and everything I dig into one big dance party.”
Using soul as a base for his music, he embodies an uplifting sentiment for lead single “Body High,” powered by chugging electric guitars, slaphappy claps and hearty vocals. The summer-ready anthem, helmed by New Zealand producer Gladius, previews his forthcoming debut, and captures “that moment of the night where everything is perfect,” says Taylor, “where you look around and see everybody you love on the dance floor getting their life. I wanted to take that feeling and bottle it up all in one song.”
Taylor’s inspirations can be traced back to growing up in Philly, soaking up the sounds on MTV spanning from the Notorious B.I.G. and Daft Punk to Marilyn Manson and Green Day. Raised by his mother, who reared him on hip-hop, R&B and soul, he explored the other side of music—performing—by watching his father, a local jazz musician, at clubs and bars, as well as exploring the eclectic sounds of the city.
He began throwing parties with his friends, accruing cultural cachet in the area after hitting a series of roadblocks while trying to get his music heard. “I got sick of begging DJs and begging promoters to book me at their venues, so me and my homies started throwing our own events,” he recalls. “After years of successfully doing these events our parties as well as our fan base got bigger and bigger, and it created a buzz around our collective as well as me as an artist.”
Moving to Los Angeles in 2011, he became a nightlife staple, securing a remix from DJ Vice for his song “World Is Our Playground” and landing an appearance at Mad Decent Block Party. But he started hitting his stride with a guest turn on Afrojack’s “SummerThing!,” which reached the top 10 on the Billboard dance charts in 2015 and was featured in a McDonald’s advertisement.
Now, as a solo artist carrying the torch, Taylor is blurring genres on his own—“When you open yourself up to different kinds of music, that same openness stays with you during the creation process,” he says—and taking chances that will define his path as a creative force across boundaries.
“My goal is to make music that transcends age, gender, color, religion, sexuality,” he says. “I hope that people get the more deep and meaningful songs as well as the fun good time vibes. I hope I can spark dialogue about art and culture, as well as bring awareness to social issues. If I can inspire one person the way music has inspired me, then that’s really all I need.”