Interviews Stewart Taylor. Nightmares Promo Shot

Published on February 27th, 2024 | by Dr. Jerry Doby


Pop’s Stewart Taylor Weighs in on his “Nightmares”

Music listeners think of Stewart Taylor as a man who makes the most of the night. On prior singles like the provocative “Mess Your Hair Up” and the outrageous “Cover Boy”, he’s not playing it coy: he foregrounds his hedonistic impulses. Taylor backs it up with music that’s a pure pleasure to encounter — delirious pop with danceable beats and funk rhythms, passionately performed by a singer-songwriter with a deep understanding of storytelling and song construction. It’s no surprise that Paula Abdul has recognized him as a kindred spirit and mentored him as an artist and dancer. This year Stewart also had the opportunity to dance with another one of his idols, Justin Timberlake.

But there’s another side to Stewart Taylor — one displayed on “Favorite Ex,” a grown-up pop song about a relationship that didn’t work out and ended without acrimony. The Connecticut-born, Los Angeles-based pop singer can be surprisingly reflective, even when he’s busy getting the party started. On “Nightmares,” his marvelously sung and impeccably produced new single, Taylor is having a different sort of night than the ones he’s sung about in the past. He’s battling insomnia, and afraid of the specters, anxieties, and insecurities that haunt him in his sleep. Only the touch of his lover can put him at ease.

As propulsive as it is, “Nightmares” is an expression of sensitivity. It’s the work of an artist in search of a true human connection. That craving for love is audible in every note he sings and inflection he voices — he maintains masterful control over his performance, but he’s never afraid to let his vulnerability show.  His songwriting is, among other things, a nuanced exploration of both same-sex and human desire, in all its nuances, excitement, and vivid color.

Director Benjamin Farren’s clip for “Nightmares” begins with a flash of lightning in a stormy sky and concludes with a shot of the star’s notebook. He’s scrawled these lyrics on lined paper to calm himself down and get him through nights spent alone, far from the object of his affection. When he sings, his expression is intense, pleading, full of longing and breathlessness. We’re shown a boyfriend, too — a man half-shrouded in shadows and smoke and gazing away from the camera. Stewart Taylor seems to be reaching for him through the haze, tantalizingly close, but still inaccessible, caught somewhere behind the veil of sleep.

Stewart Taylor weighed in on a few things about the song, video and music mission

Could you reveal who you made the song about? If it is about someone specific.

I wrote Nightmares about my boyfriend at the time. He’s a singer/songwriter in Nashville who I met in LA.

What do you think makes your music special? What kind of makes it stand out from other people’s music?

I would like to think my music is special! What sets me apart from the next big TikTok star is that my pop music has soul behind it. I write or co-write all of my music and it comes from a very honest place. I grew up listening to a lot of R&B and soul singers and it definitely rubbed off on the musical style I have today.

Do you prefer making this sad style of music or songs you have made in the past such as “Cover Boy”?

The exciting part about music for me is that I get to switch things up all the time. I love making heartfelt, if not downright sad pop songs. I also love a happy, funky, pop banger that makes me want to dance. I like oscillating between the two extremes depending on what I’m feeling at the moment.

If you could collaborate with any other music artist in the world, who would it be? And why?

I would love to collaborate with The Weeknd! His voice reminds me of the Jacksons, who I also grew up singing along to. His sound is both pop and soulful, while also being haunting. The man clearly knows how to write a damn good hook.

What music artist would you compare your music to?

I don’t generally like to compare myself to anyone, but the closest comparison I get from other people is Sam Smith. They’re such a dynamic vocalist and artist and I adore what they stand for. A TikTok star named Adamusic recently made a cool mashup of my song Nightmares with their song How Do You Sleep and our sounds definitely blended really well together.

What is your musical dream or goal? Sell out a tour? Have one of your songs go #1 on the Billboard Top 100?

I have so many dreams and goals for myself. It all starts with the music for me and my love for the craft of songwriting. Yes, I would love to sell out a tour one day, have a #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and write for other huge pop artists. But any awards or success that comes in the future will just be icing on the cake if I’m proud of the work I do.

What is the number one message that you try to express to your fans in your music?

Besides owning who you really are and being true to yourself, my number one message is to jump into love whenever you can. I’m a total hopeless romantic, and whether or not the relationship works out or doesn’t, I always think love is worth going for. Hell, it’s all I write about!

How does the future look for your music? Are any new songs or albums releasing soon?

The future is looking great! I’m putting the finishing touches on my next single and I’m about to film the music video. I wrote the song about the same man who inspired Nightmares so stay tuned!

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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

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