When the end of the week rolls around, let go of your to-do lists and plans. Draw the curtains, brew a cup of tea, and ease into your Sunday with this mellow tracklist.
Sultry vocals lingering over warm chord progressions encompass the sound of Soul. From the painstaking ballads to its funkiest rhythms, this genre has an innate ability to evoke deep emotion in its listeners. For singer-songwriter, producer, and instrumentalist, Aaron Taylor, the irresistible melodies of Soul captivated his heart and became a defining influence on his work.
After releasing his debut EP, Still Life, in 2016, Aaron was spun into the spotlight when one of his tracks was featured in an Apple advertisement. Amidst the swell of popularity of his music, he continued to release a stream of projects from The Long Way Home in 2018, to his most recent album, Icarus—a project setting the classical Greek tragedy as a framework to explore the interconnection between love and loss.
Throughout the seven years since his initial record, Taylor has discovered the importance of slowing down, “I’ve learned now to take my time and be more authentically me, and not just do what my heroes did.” In the spirit of taking a pause, something that is especially absent in the frenzy of our fast-paced world, this playlist has the perfect tunes to lull you into a mindful space.
Soul music is deeply rooted in Gospel and Blues—its sound has evolved over time. What do you feel is the difference between the pioneers of Soul and the contemporary artists of today?
I think the pioneers of Soul were more connected to gospel and blues in particular. Pretty much everyone came from church back then. Nowadays that’s missing from artists’ experience. Obviously, because culture is moving further away from religion and maybe even “hard times”. Singers aren’t coming out of church as much as they used to. The pain isn’t as obvious in artists’ voices now.
Your tracklist features recent releases from SZA’s SOS to Lil Yachty’s Let’s Start Here. Why do you think these albums have captivated listeners?
What is the story behind your song ‘Coffee in the Morning’?
Songs like ‘Coffee in the Morning’ typically get born out of my desire to be desired. Wanting to be everything to someone else. I chose a common staple that I felt most people would relate to.
As an instrumentalist, which tracks on this playlist do you particularly admire?
Can you share what music you like listening to when you want to hype yourself up in comparison to when you want to unwind and relax?
Normally rap from someone like Nas can get me hyped. To unwind I quite like to actually not play anything, just because my musician brain ends up analyzing what I’m listening to.
What does the future hold for Aaron Taylor?
Hopefully a lot more songs, not just for my own project but also to establish myself as a strong songwriter and producer for others.
Finally, how did you select the tracks for this mixtape?
A lot of these tracks would have come from just saving what I like from whatever I’m listening to, recent albums, or mood playlists.
Aaron Taylor is a London-based singer-songwriter, producer, and instrumentalist. His introductory project, Still Life, was released in 2016. Following with a constant flow of albums from Better Days in the same year to The Long Way Home in 2018, and ICARUS in 2021. Following the release of his recent single, ‘Coffee in the Morning’, Aaron Taylor will be launching Have a Nice Day on April 28th!
Interview and text: Isabelle Moulding