Carol Ann Taylor: Renaissance Woman
Carol Ann Taylor is a renaissance woman. She is unique in that she has taken her love for the performinng arts, and jazz in specific, to our local cultural experience for others to enjoy. As a person who appreciates and love singing jazz, it's important to sustain this art form that is uniquely American and uniquely comes from Black America.
Carole Ann Taylor is a skillful interpreter of other people's songs, she turns classic tunes like "You Can Have Him" by Nina Simone and "For All We Know" by Nat King Cole into poignant renditions, enriched by her own musical expression. "I am basically a singer of jazz standards," says Taylor. "I evoke another time when people sat in clubs and listened to music." But the nostalgia stops there. In contrast to her role as a soul singer, Taylor is progressive in her personal experiences. The balance between conviction and experimentation in her jazz singing voice is a natural extension of her speaking voice. And yet there is so much more.
Taylor was born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, she started taking singing lessons as a child and listened to music constantly. Growing up, she sang in choirs in churches. Her father was a civil rights activist, social worker and a Baptist minister and her mother was a volunteer.
Their fire and sense of community, Taylor notes, affected her attitude toward life. A jazz singer in the late '60s, she performed at fundraisers and political events whenever she could while working for New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller’s Women’s Unit, where Gloria Steinem and Evelyn Cunningham were also very much responsible for showing her the importance of legacy.
Faith is a big component of Carole Ann's success in all of life's arenas: as a mother, a Miami business owner, and a jazz icon. She keeps moving forward, with initiatives that include serving as a board member of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Multicultural Tourism Committee Chair of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, WDNA Jazz Radio and Viernes Culturales.
It is undoubtedly impressive that Taylor has run several successful businesses over the past decades. Now a muti-generational business carried on by her son and long time supporter.
Perhaps most facinating about Carol Ann Taylor is the fact that she keeps evolving and reiventing herself.
Taylor admits that she never lost her love for singing jazz, even as she pursued and grew her businesses. Jazz is something that she felt she would always come back to, and today that vision is being realized and Taylor could not be more estatic, and grateful for the amazing full life she is living and enjoying every day. Perhaps her story will inspire you to ignite and reengage a passion of yours. Stay inspired.
By Woodie Lesesne
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