Taylor Dearman is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, where he studied environmental engineering, but he’s also a talented musician. Taylor grew up in Diamondhead, Mississippi where he started learning piano at 12, then guitar at 14. Hurricane Katrina barreled through and put him out of school for two months, which is when he obsessed over and fell in love with his guitar. When not recording music or teaching guitar online, he invests time in helping Dynamo Studios grow. Taylor works alongside Kessler Cuffman, Dynamo Studios’ founder, to help students discover their untapped musical potential and teach them how to express themselves through audio engineering.


What kind of music inspires you?

The list of artists and genres that inspire my playing is dreadfully long so I’ll focus on the two most prevalent sources.


The first is the Instagram guitar community. If you need convincing, just go take a gander at Mateus Asato’s Instagram account and have your socks blown off. I think one of the advantages of living in the 21st century and constantly being plugged–in to social media platforms (for better or worse) is the constant exposure to talent, fresh perspectives, and opportunities for collaboration with artists from around the world. If I had to credit one source to having the most influence on my current style, it would be the Instagram community.


The second source is film scores. I have always found film music particularly moving. Even as a child, I had the tendency to pay more attention to the music’s ability to provoke an emotional response than the picture itself. The idea of developing a theme and moving it through different textures, tempos, and keys to reflect character progression is something that I’m quite fond of. Currently my favorite is Dustin O’Halloran’s score for Lion.


I believe that the potential to be inspired is ubiquitous and it usually boils down to whether or not I’m open and receptive to it.


If you’re interested in particular artists/bands that I listen to regularly, check the list below!


Instagram: Mateus Asato, Emil Ernebro, Sam Blakelock, Nicholas Veinoglou, Dillan Witherow, and Rotem Sivan

Film:  Max Richter, Dustin O’Halloran, & Hans Zimmer

Acoustic Fingerstyle: Tommy Emmanuel & Maneli Jamal

Indie: Shoos Off, Spoon, Manchester Orchestra, & New Desert Blues

Soul/R&B(ish): Vulfpeck, Elliot Moss, & Allen Stone

Progressive Metal: Plini & Intervals


What is your songwriting process?

Well, I hole myself up in my bedroom and play the same progression for hours on end. Like most artists’ creative process, mine is constantly evolving to fit the source of inspiration, but most often it begins with a headspace. I am a fan of striking the iron while it’s hot and capitalizing on my own internal dialogue to develop the “concept” for the song. Inherently, I am melody–driven, so the music is almost always written before the lyrics.


What do you do for Dynamo Studios?

I am a program instructor. We are currently running several programs out of the Chattanooga Public Library Studio. These include Digital Music & Beat Making, Acoustic Singer-Songwriter Production, and Live Sound Engineering. I get to provide eager young minds with tools that enable them to express their creativity through audio engineering.


About a year ago, I linked up with Kessler Cuffman (thank you, social media!) after seeing him release information regarding a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission was to empower students and musicians through innovative educational experiences built around music production. With youth education and music being two things very close to my heart, I immediately reached out and asked how I could get involved. The programs are great. Kessler is great. The Chattanooga Public Library Studio is great. Do yourself a favor and check it out.


Do you work in music full time?

Maintaining the balance between my musical life and my professional interests as an environmental engineer has always been something that keeps me up at night. Especially recently. Whether it be in the studio with Dynamo, creating educational content, or composing loops in my bedroom, music has been a quintessential aspect of my daily life for the better part of ten years. While I have no plans to change that, I do have other goals and passions that I intend to pursue, as well.