“Maybe We Shouldn’t Talk” is a new song by artist Stewart Taylor that he released earlier this summer. This week, he has released its accompanying visual, a Western-themed music video. Filmed primarily at California’s Vasquez Rocks National Park, the video depicts the unraveling of Stewart’s last serious relationship, a toxic romance filled with broken expectations and a constant game of tug-of-war.
Stewart Taylor is an LA-based singer, songwriter, dancer, and MMG model. He grew up in a small town outside of New York City, performing in local talent shows and Lower East Side clubs. He graduated from Boston’s Berklee College of Music and went on to work with a number of Grammy-nominated songwriters and producers.
Stewart recently discussed his career via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you discover your love for music?
Stewart Taylor (ST): I discovered my love for music the first time I heard the 1996 hit “I Love You Always Forever” by Donna Lewis. I was four years-old sitting in the backseat of my Mom’s red Audi as she drove around playing the radio. Every time this song came on, it got under my skin and put me in a trance. I sang along to it constantly and it was one of the first albums I ever owned. I haven’t stopped singing or loving music ever since.
MM: How did you break into the industry?
ST: After graduating from Berklee College of Music and moving to LA five years ago, I got invited to a lot of songwriting sessions with producers. I hit the ground running from there. Now I’m writing songs for myself, getting cuts with other artists, and writing for tv and commercials. It’s an ongoing process of making it, whatever you consider making it to be for yourself. I’m just happy to be making a living writing and singing songs.
MM: Did you start singing, dancing, songwriting or modeling first?
ST: I started singing first and that gradually developed into me coming up with my own songs. I was around age four or five when I started coming up with song ideas and melodies. It’s funny to think that your calling can find you THAT early on in life, and I was no exception. I started dancing a few years later when I went to theater camp and performed in school musicals. I’d watch VH1 after school and would mimic The Jacksons, Madonna, and Paula Abdul’s dance moves. I’ve been dancing ever since. Modeling was something I kind of fell into during the pandemic. I’ve done a ton of photoshoots for artist promo over the years, and eventually my body of press shots landed me a modeling contract with MMG Models. I booked a modeling gig on a Hulu show a week or two after signing with them.
MM: Given how multifaceted your career is, how does one role influence another?
ST: I think when you’re living a creative life, each role absolutely influences the other. I find inspiration from everything in life because I’m actively paying attention. I write songs to make sense of what’s going on around me. I make music videos because I’m in love with film and I love bringing my songs to life through that medium. When my song gets produced and makes me want to move, it’s an equally rewarding experience watching my music turn into choreography. With modeling, I get to express my love of fashion and play a character of myself. That leads into being an actor and doing acting lessons. Acting keeps me in touch with my emotions and my past experiences and that all bleeds back into my songwriting. The creative cycle is never-ending if you remain open to what it’s trying to teach you.
MM: Your latest song is about a past relationship, so how tough was that to write about?
ST: “Maybe We Shouldn’t Talk” was definitely a tough song to write, but it was a song I had to write. I had very mixed feelings about keeping in contact with my ex after we split up. My ex would sometimes call me late at night after the breakup and pick fights with me. I finally hung up on him one night and wrote down the title “Maybe We Shouldn’t Talk” in my notebook. The song was written a few weeks later with my co-writers Charlie Snyder and John Silos after I journaled about how I was feeling. It helped me put my foot down with my ex. I told him that if he kept calling me and berating me like he had done when we were together, then we were never going to be friends or have any communication ever again. I set very clear boundaries and he backed off after that.
MM: What was it like on the set of the music video?
ST: Being on the set each day for the music video was incredible! My director Benjamin Farren let me get behind the camera a lot and he made sure I was heavily involved throughout the entire filming process. The first day on set I got to film with Beau the python! I love animals and filming with a snake was thrilling to say the least. He was very well-behaved and a total natural on camera. I didn’t want to give him back to the snake handler after we got our shots! A week later we filmed the rest of the video at Vasquez Rocks in California. That was a long twelve-hour shoot from early morning to sundown. There was something so magical about filming there. I could drag my crew all over that park to film and there wouldn’t be one bad shot anywhere. It was absolutely stunning and I can see why Hollywood has been filming there for over one hundred years.
MM: Please explain the symbolism in the video.
ST: There’s definitely symbolism in this video. The snake represents how certain people become snakes in your life and how hard it can be to untangle yourself from them. There’s a tug of war between myself and the actor playing my ex-boyfriend because that’s what being in our relationship was like. My ex was always trying to dominate me or control me in some way and I will not be dominated by anyone. The shot of my ex looking at a compass and it leading back to me symbolized the cycle of toxic relationships. You keep going back to each other until someone breaks the cycle for good.
MM: What should people know about recognizing signs of a toxic relationship and finding ways to escape from it?
ST: There are lots of different signs that you’re in a toxic relationship. When your partner constantly criticizes you and claims they’re only doing it for your own good, that’s toxic. When they get in a cycle of hurting you, triggering you, apologizing, and then hurting you again repeatedly, that’s toxic. When they’re verbally abusive and get physical with objects around you, that’s toxic. When they become manipulative and controlling, that’s toxic as well. When I started engaging in the toxic behaviors myself in an attempt to regain control, I knew it was time to leave. Honestly, if someone has that many issues with you, they should go find someone else to date. You have to learn how to stand up for yourself, make your own money so you have the resources to leave, and remember that healthy love isn’t abusive. Healthy love doesn’t require you to change fundamental parts of yourself to fit into a box that your partner wants to place you in. I’m glad I left that situation, even if I still have love for that person and wish him well.
MM: Of all of your songs you’ve created, which is the most memorable/personal and why?
ST: Besides “Maybe We Shouldn’t Talk” I’d say the most memorable and personal song I ever released was my first single “Liberation” in 2015. I wrote about the bullying I experienced all throughout my childhood for being a singer and for being queer. Ultimately, I liberated myself from that trauma by accepting who I was and celebrating the parts of myself that made me different. No one was ever able to break me, and people sure as hell tried to. The music video is still on YouTube and it’s a great little piece of my artistic history.
MM: What is the best part of being a musical artist?
ST: The best part about being a musical artist is being able to EXPRESS myself. I live my life and get to turn it into songs and music videos! It’s never been an easy path but it’s the most fulfilling thing in the world to me. I’m thankful everyday that I have an outlet like that.
MM: What are your ultimate musical and/or career goals?
ST: I want to have hit songs one day and I want to make movies. I’ve seen songs of mine get cut by other artists and watched them chart and get played on the radio. Watching that happen in real life was very transformative for me. I can’t wait to see more of that in the future, as long as I remain a hard worker. Whether I’m singing the songs or if someone else is, the progression of the music is always the most important goal of mine.
MM: Is there anything else that you would like to mention?
ST: You don’t have to be in a relationship to be happy. You don’t have to be with someone who’s hurting you and proving to you daily that they are the wrong person. It’s ok to be single. It’s ok to take time to find yourself and your own joy without relying on someone else to give it to you. That’s what my experience and writing this song taught me.
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Stewart Taylor’s “Maybe We Shouldn’t Talk” is being distributed independently and is available on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, and all digital platforms. Visit stewarttaylorofficial.com for more details and follow IG @imstewarttaylor