FEATURED ARTIST - FEBRUARY 2017
￼Inspired to play Banjo at the age of seven after hearing the 1960's TV Series Skippy, Sixteen-year-old Taylor Pfeiffer has been playing the five-string banjo for nine years. At the age of ten, Taylor taught herself to yodel, after listening to her favourite yodellers. Taylor has performed on stage with Australian Country Music Golden Guitar award winners Lee Kernaghan (2014 Tamworth, 2013 Tamworth & Urban CMF Qld), Troy Cassar-Daley (2016 Tamworth & 2012 Barossa Valley), Kasey Chambers, Adam Harvey, The Davidson Brothers, Pete Denahy and opened shows for Amber Lawrence & Bill Chambers. Hailing from Adelaide, South Australia, Taylor regularly performs country and bluegrass music throughout Australia and credits include major festivals Tamworth Country Music Festival (2016, 2015, 2014, 2013), 50th National Folk Festival in Canberra ACT (2016), The Gympie Muster (2014) and The Urban Country Music Festival (2014).
Taylor has appeared on several TV Shows throughout Australia including ABC1 TV Show Spicks & Specks (2014 Episode 8), Channel 9 The Today Show (2015), Channel 7 Sunrise and Weekend Sunrise (2014), Channel 44 Our Time(2014), ABC1 Behind The News (2013) and she was personally invited to perform for Nashville’s Music City Roots Show (Filmed in Tamworth 2013). Taylor has had numerous in-studio radio interviews with popular 891ABC Adelaide presenters Peter Goers & Sonya Feldhoff, Ian McNamara (Macca) and has interviewed Lee Kernaghan for ABC’s Saturday Night Country.
Taylor was awarded the 2015 Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards – Most Promising Future Star at a special presentation at Capitol Theatre, Tamworth NSW.
June 2016 Taylor released her first Album Five Strings Attached, showcasing her abilities as a professional banjo player and musician. Recorded at Red Brick Recording Studio and Produced by Anthony Stewart, Taylor not only plays banjo but also plays drums on the album. Five Strings Attached provides great variety for the listener with classic banjo instrumentals, vocals, yodelling and the first release from the album Not This Time Around, an original by Taylor.
Taylor’s previous EP You Were The Stranger, featuring 5 Original tracks was Produced by Bill Chambers and Co-Produced by Taylor. She was a Top 5 Songwriter Finalist for songs; You Were There Stranger and Toughen Up Princess in the Tamworth Songwriters Awards and Policeman Yodel won the Judges Award at the Canberra Country Music Songwriters Awards and won 3rd Place in the ACMF Songwriting Awards. Recently Taylor was awarded 2nd Place in the ASME Young Composers Award – Pop Section for her latest composition.
You Were The Stranger, Taylor’s first single reached Number 21 on the official Country Music Top 40 Radio Charts and Toughen Up Princess reached Number 18. At just fifteen years of age, Taylor’s video Toughen Up Princess was announced the Winner of the Australian Independent Music Video Awards at a special presentation in Canberra and is regularly aired on Foxtel, Country Music Channel. Check it out on youtube.com
Banjo is Taylor’s first instrument, but she’s becoming well known as a Multi-Instrumentalist. Taylor began playing Drums at the age of six, and has been awarded a Five-year Music Scholarship at a prestigious school in Adelaide. Taylor also plays guitar.
Taylor was awarded the 2013 South Australian Junior Champion of Champions and is a graduate from the 2011, 2012 and 2014 CMAA Academy of Country Music Junior Course in Tamworth.Taylor is proudly sponsored by Australian company Bellbird Banjos and USA Company D’Addario Strings.
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The Banjo Reserve recently interviewed Taylor Pfeiffer, here's what she had to say.
Q. How did you learn the Banjo, and what method of learning do you feel is most effective?
A. I have been learning banjo from a local banjo teacher here in Adelaide, Australia for 10 years. I feel that having a banjo teacher is the most effective method of learning as I can ask heaps of questions, and have someone constantly monitoring my progress on a regular basis.
Q. You have been playing banjo for nine years, during the early stages of learning to play the Banjo what did you find most challenging? What was your approach to overcome these challenges?
A. I have been learning banjo for ten years now, and I can clearly remember the challenges at first. When I first picked up the banjo, I found it quite difficult to develop my right-hand technique of the constant rolling action, and having two fingers resting on the skin. What overcame this challenge was repeating the same rolls over and over at a slow speed until I felt I had it right. Another challenge was trying to play at a fast tempo. A few years into my learning I just wanted to play like Earl, so I compromised on my technique to do this! I have learned the lesson that playing with the right technique is the only way to gain speed.
Q. What specific challenge(s) are you working on today?
A. I love challenges as they always result in learning new things, but at the moment my main challenge is trying to move banjo out of that 'hillbilly' music stereotype - I mean, banjo can be a prominent instrument in any genre. At the moment I have been working on playing melodic banjo, and putting my own spin on pop songs such as 'Life On Mars'. This has been heaps of fun for me!
Q. Where do you see banjo music going and what is your role in that?
A. Banjo is such a happy instrument, so for that reason it will always be a feature in music, specificaly bluegrass and country music. There are so many great players like Jens Kruger and Béla Fleck who are innovating the style of the instrument, and taking it to new places musically that it has never been before. This has helped to shape the banjo as a versatile instrument, so I believe banjo music will feature more melodic aspects while still keeping with classic Scruggs licks and styles, and this is what I have been working on.
Q. Are there any banjo artists from the past or present that have a significant influence on your interest in banjo music, technique, or future project?
A. I'm inspired by so many banjo players! I was super lucky to attend the Australian Bluegrass Conference in December last year where I had workshops and jams with Jens Kruger of the Kruger Brothers. He has inspired me to take the banjo to new and exciting places! The main thing I learned from him over the conference was that feel and emotion in music is more important than anything.
Q. Bellbird Banjo Company, located in Brisbane, Australia, is one of your sponsors and manufactured the banjo we see you performing with most often. Will you share your thoughts with us regarding what you enjoy the most about this banjo/brand?
A. I'm so grateful for the support Peter Nahuysen of Bellbird Banjo Company has given me. I have been playing the 'Raintree' model for almost five years, and I love this instrument as it has the ability to produce the sharp, twangy tone needed for fast bluegrass songs, as well as a warm, mellow tone for the melodic songs I like to play. I believe this is because of the wooden tone ring my banjo has, which also has the advantage of making my banjo much lighter (although it is still heavy!). What I enjoy most about Bellbird Banjos is the attention to detail given by Peter to create the highest quality banjos that sound as beautiful as they look. My banjo is made from Australian timber which makes it even more special to play.
Q. You have occasionally posted your busking appearances on social media. What area(s) of your profession does busking prepare you for, or play a role?
A. I love busking because it allows me to introduce banjo music to a new audience. This has provided many opportunities for new gigs, and new fans! Busking is a great way to practice and develop performance techniques.
Q. You are clearly a hard-working and accomplished young banjo player, entertainer, singer, song-writer and multi-instrumentalist. What is your advice to other young musicians about balancing all the personal and professional demands of pursuing a career in music?
A. Thank you so much, I love playing music! That is a hard question as I'm still learning myself, but I think that it is important to set goals for yourself and to keep surprising people with your creativity, and to always have fun!
Q. Among numerous talents, songwriting appears to be a significant passion of yours. Do you have any particular triggers for your creative process? Do you tend to write music specifically for the banjo?
A. I love songwriting so much! Anything and anyone can inspire a song. From watching the greats, to everyday situations, and a need to try something different. I have a very open mind when I write, so I don't think of writing music specifically for the banjo when I'm being creative. Instead, I tend to write music with a new technique or structure that I haven't used in previous songs that I've written.
Q. At this point in your banjo playing career, what work, project or event are you most proud of?
A. I am really proud of my latest album 'Five Strings Attached' and how I incorporated Scruggs style, melodic songs, and my arrangement of 'Life On Mars' on the album. I worked really hard to have this diverse range of styles. I am also proud of teaching a 6-week banjo course to a class of 13 students. We had so much fun!
Q. What other interests do you have?
A. I am always playing music, but when I'm not I love spending time with friends and family, and I love reading!
Q. Tell us something about yourself that you think our Community might enjoy.
A. I started playing banjo at the age of seven after hearing the iconic theme song to the Australian TV Show 'Skippy The Bush Kangaroo'. I don't think that you can get any more Australian than that! This year, I am in my final year of school.
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