American Authors guitarist Zac Taylor’s solo career will be a slow build rather than a sprint.
“Gold & Blue,” premiering exclusively below, is the second song from Taylor under his nom de music as Van Bellman — a nod to his onetime day job as a bellhop at the Gansevoort Hotel in New York. More of a pop anthem than the darkly ambient first single “I Hate to See You This Way,” it’s also the tip of the proverbial iceberg for what Taylor has planned for the future.
“I’m doing it one by one so each song is a little party and can have its own little spotlight on it,” explains Taylor, who’s accompanying each release with a music video. He has another song, the piano-driven ballad “All This Time,” that he plans to have out during early 2019, with another 20 or so in motion. “I like writing and recording a lot of song and then picking my favorite three or four to produce and finish and mix and master and put out into the world,” he explains. “I like the idea of doing a group of three or four that go together. That’s been my plan all along, and this is just the first stage of the plan.”
Like “I Hate to See You This Way,” Taylor co-wrote “Gold & Blue” with Kiyo Cato and specifically chose it as a counter to his first single. “That first one was right in my wheelhouse — kind of bluesy and dirty and dark and gritty,” Taylor notes. “This one I thought would be a fun sort of flipside of the coin — more positive, optimistic kind of pop vibe. It’s got a big, beautiful group chorus sound. It’s more uplifting.” And he plans to mine that range throughout his Van Bellman releases. “I’ve got a lot of influences,” Taylor explains. “I can get down with the St. Vincent. I can get down with some OneRepublic. I can get down with some Robert Johnson recordings from the 1930s. And I’m a big Beatles fan. So with (Van Bellman) I’m definitely trying to dig in deep with a whole bunch of old influences — and new ones, too.”
As for a longer form Van Bellman release, Taylor is up in the air. “I’ve gotten some great advice from managers, A&R people and other artists and they always say don’t put out a full-length until it’s a good time to do it,” he says. “People have such a short attention span these days, if you put out a 10-song LP a lot of people will know the single, maybe a few other songs, but then you’ll have seven or eight songs that might not get as much love or attention, whereas if you spread ’em out they will. For someone like me, who’s new out of the gate, I want each song to get a good look. If I’m lucky enough to get a deal or get a lot more momentum going that there’s the demand for an LP, I certainly have enough songs. I’m just trying to grow my audience in a smart way.”
Taylor intends to make Van Bellman a live act, too, with plans to be determined. Meanwhile he remains a part of American Authors with a few dates left to play this year and a new album expected out during 2019. “They show me songs they’re working on and I show them songs and projects that I’m working on and they’ve been very supportive of their new venture of mine,” Taylor reports. “Hopefully great things will happen with both American Authors and Van Bellman in the new year.”