Today Taylor Tom is best known as the founder of Designed Conviction LLC, a social enterprise that includes a magazine, a publishing company, and record label. The 36 year-old has been serving a sentence of life without, for the past 16 years, and produces music from inside Stafford Creek Correctional Facility. He has a powerful and inspirational message and has worked with big names like Bubba Sparxxx and Seth Anthony. His life story has been a tragic and devasting one since the divorce of his parents when he was only five years old. Taylor’s youth was spent in counselling sessions, early drug dependence and being diagnosed with ADHD.
His downward spiral led to time in juvenile detention, being expelled from school, and then being admitted to the behavior modification program operated through the now defunct Worldwide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP).
There practices were built on inhumane degrading discipline, denial of full access by parents to their children in residence, conversion and aversion therapy, sexual assault, harassment, grooming and staff/student sexual relationships, and a multitude of human rights violations.
After being returned from the program, Taylor was cast adrift, unable to return to school or a normal life. Suffering with PTSD and struggling with his ADHD, Taylor’s addiction grew, his struggles intensified, and it was only a matter of time until his desperation turned into tragedy.
At just twenty years of age, he was arrested following the murder and the death of Brian Swehla. It took the jury a total of 8 1/2 to reach their decision, condemning him to a life sentence without any chance of parole.
It is from this dramatic background that Taylor Tom emerges with his latest EP, “Circles (Depression)”. The EP contains 3 versions of the song – “Circles”, “Circles – Backtrack” and “Circles – Instrumental”.
Here we find Taylor retelling his own personal narrative of inner pain, overcoming addiction, dealing with depression, facing his demons and chasing freedom from past sins. At the same time he is flexing his obvious rapping abilities and dealing out his heavy hearted metaphors.
Despite the intense nature of the song’s theme, Taylor Tom comes across as highly charismatic, comfortable and engaging. His authoritative and articulate style means he naturally sounds at home on the Designed Conviction produced beat, in this particularly immersive piece.
The instrumentation keep things relatively fresh with tasteful drums and jangling guitar picks. This diversity is also a practical necessity, given Taylor’s dominant flow and propensity to include plenty of melodic wordplay.
Taylor Tom’s mode of writing is immaculate, as he runs through a myriad of ideas amid a slow burning rhythmic structure. The 36-year-old has a flair for entrenching himself in a theme and crafting his song in a way that immerses the listener into his headspace.
This is where he is able to expose his truths, and showcase his top-tier penmanship. As he developed the lyrics and verses, Tom carefully embedded the inspiration and the underlying story throughout.
All throughout “Circles”, Taylor Tom delivers consistently strong rhymes on top of the immediately gripping guitar-dominated sound. Ultimately, the song outlines Taylor Tom’s explicit understanding of his craft as well as the complexities of his personal predicament.
For those interested, Taylor needs support. He has a petition for the governor to be resentenced, so he could maybe be free someday with his wife. Get the complete picture here: www.change.org/freetaylor