Why any company would be lucky to hire a Performing Artist

By:
Robert Aaron Taylor &
Michelle Kei Ishuu Taylor


We’re some of the most determined people you’ll ever meet
Artists are accustomed to rejection. We put ourselves out there every day in an attempt to get gigs. That’s how we pay the bills. We are the product we’re selling, so every rejection is personal. Yet we persevere! We get back on the horse and keep trying until we get a “yes” and then we go out and try some more.

We’re highly educated
Performing artists are Renaissance (Wo)Men. In order to understand and communicate the plights of the characters we play on stage, we must do copious amounts of research on the various details of many cultures and periods in history. We often speak multiple languages. We build our own websites and do our own taxes. We read… a LOT! Usually it’s literature but we also keep up with current events. We like to stay on top of trends and new technologies and we talk to each other about ways we might adapt them to improve our performances.

We value tradition, but embrace innovation
Most artistic traditions have stood the test of time for centuries, but that’s no excuse to let things stagnate. We happily embace innovations that work in harmony with and improve the quality of our performance. Every performer is on at least one social media platform and we all have videos that we’ve uploaded to the web. If we can reach a broader audience by using an iPad as a prop instead of a quill and parchment, then why not use the iPad?

Creativity is our business
Thinking outside the box comes naturally to us. No artist is ever satisfied with the explanation, “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” If there’s a way to improve a concept or process, we’ll find it. Oftentimes, the moment of inspiration hits us when we’re in front of an audience and we’re able to seamlessly adapt it into our well-rehearsed performance. Your colleagues think you’re a genius and those in charge make it a permanent part of the show. It’s just another day at the office for us creative types.

We work well under pressure
You know that horrible feeling you get right before you step out to talk to a big group of people? It’s like your stomach is turning summersaults and there’s a voice inside your head screaming at you to run away as fast as possible. Well, that’s where we artists shine! We’ve learned to put that nervous energy to good use. Pressure is just another part of the process, and it helps us do some of our most inspiring work.

We thrive in the spotlight, but don’t pull focus when it’s someone else’s time to shine
A good performer knows how to own a room. When we turn it on, you just can’t look away. Luckily, we have an intensity adjustment for our charisma, so when it’s a colleague’s turn to take center stage we can fade gracefully into the background. We’re still there to give them our full support because this is, after all, a team effort. We all have to cross the finish line together.

We save the drama for the stage
Most people think that artists are moody and dramatic all the time, but that’s just not true. We get our fill of death, deception and melodrama on the stage. We don’t need any of that in our daily lives. You’d be hard-pressed to spot an incognito performing artist out in public. “Why is that?” you ask. It’s because we’re just normal, witty, unpretentious people who like having fun with friends and who do our best to have a positive impact on the world. We portray villains and their helpless victims too often to not want to be a force for good in our own communities. If you give us a chance to show you what we can do, you’ll truly understand why performing artists make the best employees!

 

This list is by no means exhaustive. Have something to add? Leave it in the comments section below.

 

About the Authors:

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Robert Aaron Taylor is a Performer and Business Owner who is transitioning into the corporate world. A creative and confident Problem Solver and Strategist, he offers a natural ability to dive deep and craft innovative solutions to complex problems. Connect with him on LinkedIn or email him at robertaarontaylor@gmail.com .

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Michelle Kei Ishuu Taylor, a charismatic leading lady on the stage and in the office, is in great demand for her contagious positivity and her ability to organize, energize and mobilize. If you’re looking for someone to help reinvigorate a stagnant work environment, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Coming up – “A Distant Love”

A Distant Love: Songs of John and Abigail Adams

At the historic Old Stone House in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Saturday evening, October 25th

(The Adams’ 250th wedding anniversary!)

Baritone – Robert Aaron Taylor

Soprano – Elizabeth Dabney

John&Abigail

I’m very excited to be a part of this project! The piece has only had a few performances, but this one will take place on the 250th wedding anniversary of John and Abigail Adams!

I recently met with the composer, Gary Fagin, and sang through a short section of the music with him. It’s always exciting to work directly with the composer, and it’s a rare treat for someone who specializes in opera. The composition is modern, but very approachable. The vocal line has a shape and lyrical flow that reminds me of Ralph Vaughan Williams.

I’m looking forward to meeting with the librettist, Terry Quinn, this coming week to discuss the inner workings of the characters as he has envisioned them through his poetic setting of their letters. I suggest you read his notes on Channeling John and Abigail, but I’ll paste a few of my favorite phrases for those who don’t click the links (I hope he will forgive the hack-job I’ve done to condense his process):

…all sorts of minor details necessarily change in the process of adaptation … due to the exigencies of meter and euphony. However, what needs to survive at all costs is John and Abigail’s unshakable spirit…

…you begin with six to eight months of research. You read every available letter John sent to Abigail and vice versa, all the while annotating those you find particularly compelling…

While one has only to read a handful of the full letters to sense the depth of John and Abigail’s devotion to one another, the implied heat is seldom permitted to rise to the surface. In the realm of music theater writing, this is a distinct problem…

And so, at critical points in your libretto you write ballads. Where you can, you fold in snatches of direct quotes, but you go beyond them … You trust that you’ve lived long enough with these two astonishing personalities that you can now, in a sense, channel them.

I’ll also find out more about his plan for this particular production. They call it a “Dramatic Song Cycle.” My guess is that it will be semi-staged, possibly with period costume, but with the intimacy of a salon recital. At least I hope so… that sounds like fun!

The portion of A Distant Love titled “John Adams in Amsterdam: A Song for Abigail” was commissioned as a separate work, in 2004, by the John Adams Institute. It received its premiere performance at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw on April 13, 2005, with Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands in attendance.

Synopsis

The 1780s were breakthrough years for the string quartet. Thus, it seemed appropriate to accompany John Adams in Amsterdam with a string quartet.

The score is predominantly lyrical, almost romantic, befitting John Adams’ heartfelt affection for his Abigail, though at times the music is infused with an American folksiness reflecting his rustic and forthright nature.

As Abigail was struggling to survive in the midst of an active conflict, her life was more fraught with drama than was John’s life in Europe. Thus, for Abigail, the music has more contrast, ranging from militaristic rhythms to intensely personal lyricism.

Save San Diego Opera!

There’s a movement taking off that’s organizing people to try and keep San Diego Opera from closing it’s doors.

If you think that San Diego Opera shouldn’t give up without a fight; if you think they should more thoroughly explore all options before voting to surrender; if you think that the announcement  to fold created more questions than answers – Sign the petition.

I called San Diego home for nearly 5 years. I worked at San Diego Opera in some capacity the whole time I was there. San Diego Opera is a tremendous part of the cultural lives of the people of Southern California. Not only that, it is a tremendous part of the cultural economy. There are many artists who rely on San Diego Opera for a large part or, in some cases, ALL of their yearly income. I know that not everyone in the Arts business believes that San Diego Opera, with its current leadership and business model, should be saved. But these people are doing everything they can to save something that they love, as well as something they rely on for their livelihood. They’re looking for a show of support from the local community and from the broader artistic community.

If they manage to save the company, rest assured, there WILL be a restructuring! The company cannot continue with its present leadership or business model. That’s why they threw in the towel. But if you think that they at least deserve a CHANCE to save a nearly 50-year-old cultural institution, then how about showing them a little support by signing their petition and Liking their Facebook page.

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Join the Facebook page.

Or, if you Tweet – @savesdopera

 

San Diego Opera – Another Titan Falls

Too many thoughts, and yet, no words…

No, that’s not true. There are words:

“Sadness” – for my friends and colleagues, who have not only lost a major source of income, but a much-needed, high-quality artistic outlet; one that contributed greatly to the development of my talents as a performer.

“Anger” – toward the community and administration that allowed a nearly 50-year-old institution to fall into difficulty and, eventually, crisis.

“Fear” – that this is yet another symptom of an unhealthy support system that needs restructuring if the genre is to survive

“Hope” – that there are still many dedicated individuals who give their all on a daily basis to ensure that Art has a place in our often ungrateful society.

“Certainty” – that as long as there are Artists, there will be Art, whether or not there are institutions in place to produce it.

Test-drive the new RobertAaronTaylor.com

The new and improved RobertAaronTaylor.com is now live with its new host and format. Please take just a moment to pop in and check it out. If you’re already on WordPress, you can click the “Follow” button or you can subscribe to updates via e-mail. I’ll be adding content regularly – mostly commentary on topics relevant to being a professional performer.

By Michelle Kei Taylor

By Michelle Kei Taylor

I encourage you all to join the conversation. Leave a comment to start a dialog. I think we’re all going to have to get more involved in the business aspect of the Arts. I’m not just talking about artists! We need more audience participation, too!

The more people we have participating in the discussion, the better the chances that we can really make changes for the better. I’m not going to get preachy… alright, I’ll TRY not to get preachy, but if you’re passionate about something, occasionally that passion is going to show… and it SHOULD!!!

Let’s all get passionate about the Arts! Art should live! Art should breathe! Art should resonate with the observer – move them in a palpable way! We need to give up the tired, old museum-style of presenting opera, while still preserving the hallowed traditions of a centuries-old acoustic art form. Some companies are already finding ways to innovate, but they are the exception to the norm.

Advancements are made by taking risks, not by playing it safe. Let’s step outside of the box together. Our collective effort will have much better results than all of us working individually.

Oh My!!

Robert A. Taylor with George Takei at Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

Robert A. Taylor with George Takei at Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

Yes! It’s true! George Takei and I were performing with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra together.  What an amazing man!

Taconic Opera

ITALIAN GIRL IN ALGIERS

by Gioachino Rossini

with Taconic OperaItaliana
In Italian with English Supertitles

Yorktown Stage Performances:
Student Performance by reservation: Thursday, March 6, 2014 10:00amPublic Performances:
Saturday, March 8, 2014 8:00pm
Sunday, March 9, 2014 2:00 pmStepinac Theater White Plains Performance:
Sunday, March 16, 2014 2:00pm