BioTake a generous helping of soul...splatter it with bouncing rhythms, blistering guitars, engaging vocals, stellar musicianship and catchy pop melodies that make you want to move--all textured with truth--and you have Royal Tailor.
Fusing pop, rock, R&B, hip hop and soul, Tauren, Blake, Jarrod and D.J. deliver a distinctive musical blend on Royal Tailor’s Essential records debut Black & White, in a high-energy style that makes audiences want to dance, shout and sing along, while also engaging their conscience.
"We like to get down," Tauren says with a smile. "That's how we roll. If you ever spend any time with the four of us, you will be dancing. If it's the Electric Slide, the dougie, free-styling or whatever, at some point we're going to turn up the music, and we're going to have a good time. That's just who we are."
With a sound that evokes Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, even a hint of Michael Jackson, Royal Tailor captures audiences with an infectious musicality, but this young band is about so much more than innovative music.
After meeting in college and forming the band, they spent a year working full time in Granite City, Ill., mentoring and teaching youth to sing, play and lead student movements. "We were personally working with these kids and dealing with their issues," says Blake. "Every Saturday morning at 10 o'clock we'd do a thing called 'Making the Band.' We'd split up and do music lessons and teach them how to play in a band."
Jarrod adds, "When we left to go on the road, they'd be doing a whole concert themselves. These kids would seriously blow you out of the water.”
The year Royal Tailor spent mentoring youth was a pivotal time for the band as a group and as individuals. "It grew us as a band," says Jarrod. "That year really shaped us as individuals because we were challenged. I think we learned a lot about what kids were really going through."
The band’s 5-song EP eventually found its way to Provident Label Group's Vice President of A&R Jason McArthur, who signed the band to a record deal. Soon Royal Tailor was in the studio working on its debut album with producers Aaron Lindsey, Chuck Butler and Daniel Kinner.
"Our overarching message is a call to action," says Tauren. "A lot of our songs have to do with making a positive change in the world. We want to help shape a culture where kids have hope and an optimistic vision of their future. Where they are creating the ideas. They are dreaming the dream, and then they are actually going out there and doing those things."
Royal Tailor's ongoing interaction with youth informs the music on its debut album. "We feel like there's an identity crisis in our generation," says D.J. "Everybody is searching, and we want to help them find an identity. We want to give them the truth. The songs on this record take you through a journey of faith and boldness. We encourage youth to have faith, to step out and be who they are. Sometimes you hear really cool music, but there's not a lot of meaning to the words. We feel if they are going to be listening to the music and singing along, why not be singing along with songs that build you up and give you hope."
Royal Tailor's message is not only resonating with young people, but with all ages. "It's a great feeling when you write a song and you see people write back saying, 'This really impacted my life and encouraged me,'" says D.J. "We thought we were only appealing to a younger crowd, but we've had parents come up to us almost every night and say 'Thank you! This is awesome! My kids love it, but I love it too.'"
The band's first single, "Hold Me Together," is a transparent plea for love and strength that is resonating strongly with audiences. "Gravity (Pulling Heaven Down)" offers a unique perspective on life's challenges by reminding the listener how difficult times can make us stronger. “Death of Me” carries a bold message wrapped in an infectious groove that makes it hard to listen and be still. “Make a Move” is a joyous call to action that encourages us to make a positive change in the world. “Love is Here” is a soulful, percolating anthem about embracing the power of love.
The band hopes its positive songs will shine a light in some of the darkness that pervades much of music media and culture. "This record is pressing against the flow," says Tauren, who has continued to work with youth in Houston. "We just want kids to know that there's something greater for them than what they see and hear in the media. We hope to create some awareness and awakening in our listeners."
For more information on Royal Tailor, visit www.royaltailoronline.com
Members: Tauren Wells, Blake Hubbard, Dj Cox, Jarrod Ingram
Current Record Label: Sony Music
Albums: Black & White (2011)