- Artist: Alaria Taylor
- Format: CD
- Release Date:11/9/2004
About the new CD: Unfinished Business is a collection of 12 original songs by award winning singer/songwriter Alaria Taylor. An eclectic collection of songs ranging from pop to folk/rock to blues to adult contemporary ballads...there is something for everyone. The constant thread is Alaria's well crafted and inspired songwriting and her beautiful voice. Produced by Grammy award winner, Joe Puerta (Ambrosia, Bruce Hornsby and the Range)... this CD features many well known artists especially to those familiar with the Milwaukee music scene. Willy Porter, Robin Pluer, Greg Koch, Peter Mulvey, Steve Cohen and John Calarco are just a few of the Milwaukee all stars to appear on this unique CD. Biography.... The short version: Alaria Taylor is an award winning songwriter with numerous regional and national awards including: Billboard Magazine Songwriting Contest, Songwriter of the Year: Songwriters of Wisconsin, Pop Songwriter of the Year: Wisconsin Composers Circle, Great American Love Song Contest, and many others. She was selected to attend the prestigious ASCAP Advanced Songwriters Workshop in New York City. An accomplished live performer, she has performed in coffeehouses, nightclubs, colleges, theater, operas, cover bands, aboard cruise ships and on radio & TV Biography: Indepth Version Alaria Taylor was not your typical college student, and it was during her college years that she really got her start in the world of entertainment. While working toward a bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Alaria was chosen over hundreds of her fellow students to be a part of the Wisconsin Singers, a show choir group that toured all across the country and into Mexico. But this merely sparked her interest, and she quickly found herself looking for creative outlets wherever she could. She was a singer and dancer in the Grand Music Hall show at Marriott's Great America theme park, she performed in a variety of Florida dinner theaters, and took part in the main stage and cabaret shows aboard the ships of the Scandinavian Seas cruise line. She choreographed professional shows for Florida cruise ships and dinner theaters, was an on-air personality for Q-106 in Madison, Wisconsin, taught dance classes, and simultaneously served as a performer and assistant cruise director for Royal Caribbean's 'Song of Norway' ship. When she wasn't performing, her off time was filled with voice, dance and acting workshops in New York, Chicago and Milwaukee as well as piano and guitar lessons. Eventually, Alaria stopped dividing her time between Florida and Wisconsin and settled in the warmer of the two states after marrying her soulmate, Jeff, whom she met when the two were just eleven years old. Upon their move, Alaria began hosting her own locally televised talent competition, 'You Are a Star.' But it wasn't long before the young couple headed back to Wisconsin, where Alaria helped her husband get his chiropractic practice off the ground. The following years were spent working within the realms of theater and opera, and included everything from concerts to musicals. She performed at the Pabst Theater and the Skylight Opera Theater, among many other venues, and took on everything from the Big Band Review with Dale Gutzman and the opera 'El Capitan' with the Milwaukee Symphony to leading roles in musicals like 'Nunsense' and 'A...My Name Is Alice,' in addition to smaller roles in others such as 'The Gondoliers' and 'Girl Crazy.' But it was during these years of hard work that Alaria became disillusioned with singing other people's words. She had been gradually coming to this realization, but it came to a head when she had to sing what she describes as 'a particularly raunchy' song in 'A...My Name Is Alice.' Alaria promptly stopped auditioning and opted to take some time off. In 1992, Alaria had an experience that would drastically change the path of her creative future. While vacationing in Sedona, Arizona, a place known for it's spiritual, new age community, Alaria met a woman who told her of a vision. The woman could see Alaria singing before large groups of people, writing songs with a dark-haired man. The woman described stacks of CDs, and Alaria's songs being played on the radio. Though Alaria had never written a song in her life, when she headed back to her hotel that day and played a cassette tape recording of the session, a song popped into her head. She kept singing it over and over until she was able to record it, and the resulting tune later became the first track on her debut album, which was recorded within a year. From that point forward, Alaria never stopped writing, and within two years, she placed third and fourth in her first songwriting contest. After a music convention appearance in 1994, Alaria was contacted by agent Harvey Cooper and asked to go to Los Angeles and record a demo. The trip was made the following year, and Alaria teamed up with producer Craig Mirijanian to write and record five songs. One of them, 'Why Oh Why,' won several songwriting awards and received moderate radio airplay. Another song, 'In My Memory,' was placed in the movie Lucky Angel, which was pitched to HBO but never aired. Upon her return from Los Angeles in 1995, Alaria met Ken Baron, a singer/songwriter from Milwaukee with whom she formed a folk duo. The pair performed in all the coffeehouses and most of the colleges in Milwaukee, Madison, and Oshkosh, winning themselves fans and accolades as they played out from six to eight times a month. A year after joining forces, they recorded a 'bare bones demo tape' of quirky coffeehouse tunes that they sold at shows, and several of the songs made their way onto college radio. In 1997, Alaria was awarded the Songwriter of the Year award from the Songwriter's of Wisconsin International. She also won several awards, including the Great American Love Song Contest, for 'You're My Prince,' which was written about her husband. But despite the praise from both fans and critics, Alaria needed a break, and so she decided to put the writing and performing on hold for a while. In 1999, Alaria saw a poster for a songwriting contest sponsored by The Wisconsin Composers Circle, and it caused her to make a bargain with God. 'If you want me to continue songwriting,' she said, 'then I will win the grand prize. If I don't, then I'm quitting all of this for good.' It must have been meant to be, because she won the grand prize, earning herself the title of Pop Songwriter of the Year for 1999. As a result, she earned the opportunity to go to New York for the ASCAP Advanced Songwriting Workshop, which involved such music industry high-rollers as multiple Grammy award winners Marilyn and Alan Bergman, John Leventhal (producer for Shawn Colvin), Eric Beall (Zomba Music), David Stamm (Jive Records), and many others. After following through on her end of the bargain, Alaria felt she had the green light from God to pursue music once again, but the man upstairs had a little side trip he wanted her to take first. Little did she know that side trip would take three long years to complete. What seemed to be a run-of-the-mill cold at the very end of 1999 turned out to be an inner ear infection that went undetected during Alaria's initial medical visits. As a result, she became legally deaf in her left ear and developed Meniere's Disease, a crippling, unpredictable, and incurable illness that causes severe bouts of violent vertigo, extreme sensitivity to noise, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. For more than a year and a half, she was unable to even listen to music, much less create it. She also developed extreme allergies and chemical sensitivities that made it impossible to go anywhere. Because of these health issues, Alaria didn't leave her house for months at a time, and nothing the mainstream and alternative doctors recommended seemed to do her any good. She was quickly coming to the conclusion that her life was over. But in 2002, a ray of invigorating light entered Alaria's life. Having exhausted all other possibilities, she called area churches looking for possible methods of spiritual healing. One church was particularly responsive, and sent two women right away. This proved to be the turning point in Alaria's life. The two women, who dubbed themselves 'prayer warriors,' knew nothing about Alaria except her address and that she was very ill and extremely depressed. They walked into her home and said, 'You are supposed to be doing music...that is your mission in life.' They stayed for more than four hours, praying over her and offering her something she had lost a long time ago...hope. Almost immediately, Alaria took a significant turn for the better. Her allergy symptoms began to lessen, and the Meniere's attacks were much less frequent. Early in 2003 a medication change, gallbladder removal, and an old friend bringing music back into her life came together as the final step of Alaria's healing. Not only was she able to bounce back and become more like her old self, but she was now blessed with a new perspective and greater appreciation for the little joys of life. She compared her renewal to being released from prison, and this is what she wrote about in the song 'Immunity: The Turnaround,' which she never could have written without having been through what she has been through. She now knows that everything happens for a reason, and she thanks God every day for the opportunities he has given her. Alaria hasn't suffered a Meniere's attack since June of 2003, and she continues to feel well. Before too long, Alaria picked up where she left off and began writing songs again in 2003, both on her own and with Mark Baitinger, an old friend from college. They started the musical duo known as Taylor & Baits, and Alaria began working on her album, Unfinished Business, which she completed with the help of some equally remarkable musicians and with the support of the family and friends who knew this was what she was meant to do. 'During the years I was sick, the biggest regret I had was that I never recorded a solo full-length CD of my original songs,' she says. 'This was my 'unfinished business,' and I never thought I'd get a second chance. That's why I named the album Unfinished Business.' The album consists of twelve original songs, and is an eclectic collection of material that includes bits and pieces of pop, folk, rock, blues, adult contemporary, and everything in between. But even with such variety, the album is consistently enjoyable, and is tightly held together by Alaria's well-crafted and inspired songwriting, as well as her beautiful voice. Unfinished Business was produced by Grammy award winner Joe Puerta (Ambrosia, Bruce Hornsby and the Range), and it features many artists that are well-known, especially to those familiar with the Milwaukee music scene. Willy Porter, Robin Pluer, Greg Koch, Peter Mulvey, Steve Cohen and John Calarco are just a few of the musicians who drop in to make an appearance. 'It's been a labor of love and a life-long dream,' she says. 'I sincerely hope people love it as much as I loved making it.' The 2004 release of Unfinished Business has been welcomed by a tremendous response from Alaria's fans and critics. In the 2004 Billboard Magazine World Songwriting Contest, she picked up honorable mentions in the pop category for 'Patiently', 'One Hour a Day' and 'Unfinished Business.' The Songwriters of Wisconsin International bestowed several awards upon her, including first place finishes for 'Patiently' as rock/pop song of the year and folk song of the year and 'This Isn't What I Ordered' as novelty song of the year, a fourth place finish for 'Patiently' as best adult contemporary song, a fifth place finish for 'One Hour a Day' as best rock/pop song, and honorable mentions for 'Waiting for You' as adult contemporary song and 'One Hour a Day' in an open category. Most recently, Alaria has been named director of Chick Singer Night for the Milwaukee chapter set to launch in Feb. 2005. Chick Singer Night is the largest,longest running showcase for female singers and singer-songwriters in the country. Alaria has also formed a new duo with piano player, David Baradic. So now Alaria Taylor feels as though she has found her place. After being away for so long, she has been warmly welcomed back into a strong community of fellow singer-songwriters. Most importantly her Unfinished Business is now finished.
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