The soul of a musician is born, not bred. Those passionate souls are capable of feats many of us could never imagine; overcoming obstacles, scaling setbacks, and, sometimes, breaking through purported constraints bound so tight the very fracture of them is a miracle in itself, an act of passion so unlikely it defies the common definitions of man.
Such is the case with Shane Michael Taylor.
Most musicians are familiar with the feeling of defying odds, but Taylor, born with a severe form of cerebral palsy, has been doing so since birth. Taylor’s CP affects his movement, speech, and posture, but it has never affected his spirit. At the age of five, Taylor overcame one of the greatest obstacles faced by those with CP, communication, when he taught himself to type with his nose. This determination would become a hallmark in Taylor’s personality and life. When he was six, unable to sit upright, he suffered multiple concussions as a result of his falls. Rather than concede, Taylor joined a local after-school program at a horse farm. Within six weeks Taylor transformed from a self-proclaimed “Humpty Dumpty,” and was able to ride with little support.
Taylor’s time on the farm lent him a passion for horseback riding, a passion that would fortuitously lead to his other passion: music. In one of the farm’s annual shows, Taylor burst forth on his horse to the sound of “Standing Outside the Fire” by Garth Brooks. “The song spoke to me,” Taylor says. From that moment, Taylor’s life was driven by country music.
Taylor’s newfound fervor for music extended into every avenue of his life; he even insisted his favorite country hits become his home’s soundtrack after school every day. He began penning his own lyrics as a teenager, and discovered a new way to communicate with those around him. Though he’d been typing for years, he found solace and understanding in lyrics. Emotions, hardships, feelings—these are concepts we all have difficulties communicating; Taylor finally found a way to transmit these ideas to the eager listening ears of his friends and family and, eventually, the world.
Taylor knew his destiny lay in music. After high school, he attended the University of New Haven, earning degrees in both music business and sound recording. His studies were also spotted with trips to Nashville, where he began working with renowned songwriters like Lorna Flowers and Mason Douglas. Taylor earned his writing chops through hard work and determination, proving himself to some of the harshest critics in the tough-love music community of America’s Music City.
After years of refining his craft, Taylor recently released his debut album, I Will Stand. The 13-track album—every song of which is co-written by Taylor himself—contains themes and sentiments we can all relate to, from surmounting obstacles to losing loved ones. Taylor writes with the warm relatability of a natural–born lyricist and his songs, brought to life by top Nashville vocalists, ring true. They all capture the classic sound of true country-western music that’s so often lacking from modern pop-influenced releases.
March was National Cerebral Palsy Awareness month, a serendipitous time for the release of Taylor’s new music video “Warrior Cowboy.” Taylor stars in the video, depicting a heart wrenching tale of humanity, love, and destiny. Again, Taylor proves that his strengths lie in his ability to reveal the unity of the human experience; the story behind “Warrior Cowboy” is one of strength and unanimity, a story we can all understand.
Though the video for “Warrior Cowboy” depicts a tale to which we can all relate, the idea of a Warrior Cowboy itself is an epithet one could easily apply to Taylor himself. Born to challenges most of us could never understand, Taylor strapped on the armor of a warrior, the spurs of a cowboy, and jumped on the crazed, bucking horse of life, ready to enjoy the ride.
WATCH SHANE MICHAEL TAYLOR’S “WARRIOR COWBOY” MUSIC VIDEO
SEE MORE SHANE MICHAEL TAYLOR PHOTOS HERE