Taylor Gordon, 24 years old, from Moreno Valley, CA, has been singing ever since she can remember, (which was probably around age 6 or 7). Taylor sang in church as she was growing up, but her main focus at the time was sports. Her senior year of High School, however, she realized that music was her true passion. She went on to study vocal performance at Holy Names University, where she received her BA in 2012. Taylor began to experience chronic pain when she was 13 years old, but it did not truly culminate until she was in college. It was after graduating that she became aware of the different ailments she was facing and started to understand what her body was truly experiencing. She began holistic care in November of 2012, and it has changed her life allowing her to pursue professionally her true passion - music.
AXIS: Could you explain to our community which chronic pain issues you have?
TAYLOR: I am dealing with a multitude of things, but we have narrowed it down to “Mixed Connective Tissue Disease." This is an autoimmune disorder which encompasses multiple symptoms from many other chronic illnesses, making it very difficult to diagnose. It creates inflammation, creating a lot of pain and it tends to affect things such as your joints, muscles, immune system, different organs and glands, and your overall health.
You are such a talented singer. What inspires you to create?
I think that my health journey has been one of my biggest motivating factors, especially in the decision to pursue music professionally. Creating is a way to free my mind from the worries and “what ifs.” It’s a way to truly be in the moment. Dealing with chronic illnesses and autoimmune disorders causes me to constantly stay a step ahead. This makes me plan for everything; therefore making it difficult to feel like you are actually enjoying what is happening. Making music and creating allows for everything around me to stop and that is all I am focusing on. Being told that I would not be able to do this for a living because of the strain that is on my body has made me want it that much more. There is a story to be told behind the music and I feel as though it needs to be heard. In the near future, I would love to be able to put on a benefit concert brining awareness to and supporting of all those dealing with invisible illnesses, allowing for all of our stories to be heard.
What is your favorite style to sing?
My favorite style to sing would probably be my version of ‘Acoustic Soul music’. I grew up singing gospel, and then went on to have 4 years of classical training at Holy Names University. This, along with writing poetry, has allowed me to bring everything together in an inspirational way.
What are some of your coping mechanisms for chronic pain?
Coping with chronic pain, what a mystery it is! I do love yoga, the micro movements and stretching truly help in building a great center which strengthens your core, helping to support this frame. Not to mention it calms me down a great deal when things get too intense. I also enjoy doing other workouts which help to strengthen the muscles, taking some pressure off of my joints and bringing down inflammation. Rest is also a high priority when dealing with these things. Giving my body time to reboot is a must.
I receive regular chiropractic care, in addition to seeing a Functional Medicine Doctor, these two treatments keep me in line physically. Through my journey, I have learned that there are ways to maintain even though there is so much unpredictability. I was privileged enough to work for my doctor for almost 2 years. This aided in my journey to wellness, where I learned so much about our bodies; how they are supposed to work, and the things we can control in order to live a more fulfilling life. As everyone’s body is different and require different coping mechanisms, I do believe that Natural and Holistic care has saved my life. Supplements, eliminating many inflammatory foods from my diet, staying active, doing what I love (music) are just a few of the many things that I do on a daily basis to keep this internal fight under control.
What is some key advice you have gotten about your career in the arts?
I’ve been told many things, but something that I will never lose is to stay grounded. Always have something that keeps both feet (literally) on the ground. There is so much to be swayed by, especially in this industry, and it is very easy to lose yourself in someone else’s vision of who they THINK you are. Also, remain humble. Humility will take you farther than any talent will. My faith and my family keep me connected to what is truly important, knowing that if everything else was taken, these two are constant.
Check out Taylor’s amazing voice in her cover of Save the Night by John Legend.