Article & photos by Melodie Yvonne
LAFAYETTE, IN (May, 18 2018) – Taylor Raphel is AWESOME. She knows what she wants, and she goes out and gets it. This is a coveted trait in the world today as we humans toil away day-to-day sitting around waiting for a miracle to satiate our desires. Well, fortunately, for all of us in Hoosier country what Taylor currently wants is to be closer to her most coveted inspiration, Shannon Hoon, so it seems our miracle is nigh.
Raphel hails from New Jersey, and has luckily taken off after her dream before she has even reached the ripe old age of 20, let only 21. It seems that the “drinking age” mile marker in most of our lives tends to bog of us down the minute we begin to “celebrate” our adulthood ending our ability to reach for the stars due to drunken depth perception. She steers clear of parties, stays free from drama, and avoids sycophants to keep herself and her music pure. Taylor is not in it for the money. She simply wants to do what the universe is calling her to do.
Raphel has somehow broken free of the bondage that plagues our species, and tells us we can’t. She is a steam engine barreling straight ahead reminding us that she can, and will, and nothing will stand in her way. This might be frightening if Taylor was bent on world domination, but her goals are actually a little loftier. Currently, her sights are set on making her new album dedicated to her main muse. Her up and coming debut album titled Shannon has consumed her since the moment of mental conception, so she felt the only clear path to take was the obvious pilgrimage to Lafayette, Indiana. Then, as if in a moment of beautiful Kismet, Taylor found herself at the infamous Danny Clinch Gallery where she was invited onstage for an impromptu performance with Blind Melon themselves. This auspicious sign was too hard to ignore, and Raphel’s goals as well as her travel plans were solidified.
Although the move has been difficult on her family and friends they have all remained extraordinarily supportive, and Taylor knows she wouldn’t be where she is without the loving advice from her mother and her adoring sister by her side. They even help to keep her grounded when that side is momentarily the other side of the country. Occasionally, after a heartfelt family call Taylor can get a little homesick, but she doesn’t regret her decision to uproot and make her dreams come true. Being submerged in Hoosier culture in the midst of Shannon Hoon’s hometown is her way of getting closer to her long-lost sage. Taylor’s transition was also made easier when she was discovered early on her journey by the legendary musician’s mother, Nel Hoon.
Nel has taken Taylor under her wing, and encouraged her to create and keep Shannon’s memory alive every step of the way. The big-hearted rock star mom doesn’t mind sharing her expertise with Raphel, and even sees a bit of her iconic son in the young starlet. Years on the music scene and being close to artists has given Nel an exceptional eye for talent so it was a no brainer for her to accept Taylor with open arms.
Raphel’s life has been forever changed, and she now spends her days immersed among Hoon memorabilia and writing new material constantly. She’s found that Lafayette’s roots run deep, and just being in the town taps into the creative side of any soul to tread there. Her first album is nearly completed, but the overflowing well of musical genius inside of her has yet to subside. In the full interview video below Taylor opens up about her feelings on her current situation, and shows off her phenomenal talents with a live performance of “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals and a stunning rendition of Blind Melon’s “Change“.
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Check out the full photo gallery from the interview with Taylor Raphel below, and stay tuned for her first album, Shannon, coming out soon!
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Photo and video footage shot for Photographic Melodie by Melodie Yvonne Ramey. Shot with Nikon D800E
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