Joanne Shaw Taylor’s Blues Talent Landed Her a Dream Gig for the Queen

In this episode of Essential Conversations, Joanne Shaw Taylor joins Ann Delisi to talk about being discovered in high school, playing at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert and moving to Detroit from the U.K.

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Joanne Shaw Taylor was a 16-year-old introverted blues guitar wunderkind when Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics caught wind of her talent. 

In 2002, she went on a world tour with Stewart and his supergroup, D.U.P.

Ten years later, Annie Lennox, also of the Eurythmics, invited Taylor to play lead guitar in her band for the Diamond Jubilee Concert in London to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne.

“You had to pinch yourself and realize you’re really there!” says Taylor.

“I was in this green room and it was Elton John, Paul McCartney, I think Madonna was in there, Sir Tom Jones … Ed Sheeran was in the corner, who at the time had just released his first single. And he looked at me, and I looked at him, and just gave a thumbs-up because we were just terrified!”

When Taylor was looking to book her first U.S. tour, she played a U.K. show with supporting band Paul Lamb and the Detroit Breakdown. That meeting would soon take Taylor to Detroit where she now lives.

“I approached them about being my band if I was to put together a U.S. tour and thankfully, [they] said yes.”

“Long story short I ended up being here so much I moved and I’ve been here ever since.”

In 2018, Taylor signed a three-record deal with Silvertone Records, part of Sony Music.

In this episode:
  • Moving to Detroit from the Black Country in the U.K.
  • Being inspired by Stevie Ray Vaughn to play electric blues
  • Finding success at such a young age
  • Getting songwriting advice from Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics
  • Performing for the Queen at the Diamond Jubilee Concert

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  • David Leins
    David Leins is a Podcast Coordinator and Producer at WDET. He also oversees the StoryMakers program. When he isn't making radio and podcasts, David is probably on a hike somewhere marveling at the trees.