James Taylor’s music embodies the art of songwriting in its most personal and universal forms. He is a master at describing specific, even autobiographical situations in a way that resonates with people everywhere. In 1971, Taylor was on the cover of Time magazine, heralded as the harbinger of the singer-songwriter era. Over four decades later his warm baritone, introspective lyrics and unique guitar playing still blaze a path to which young musicians aspire. He has sold over 100 million albums throughout his career and has earned 40 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards, multiple Grammy Awards and has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the prestigious Songwriters Hall of Fame. His songs have had a profound influence on songwriters and music lovers from all walks of life: “Fire and Rain,” “Country Road,” “Something in the Way She Moves,” “Mexico,” “Shower the People,” “Your Smiling Face,” “Carolina In My Mind,” “Sweet Baby James,” “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” “You Can Close Your Eyes,” “Walking Man,” “Never Die Young,” “Shed a Little Light,” “Copperline,” “Enough to be On Your Way,” “Caroline I See You,” and many more.
In the summer of 2015 Taylor released Before This World, his first new studio album in thirteen years, which earned him his first ever #1 album on the Billboard Charts and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album. Recorded at his home studio TheBarn, in Washington, MA, Before This World explores many of the themes that have absorbed Taylor throughout his career.
In a career marked by artistic triumphs, the past few years for Taylor have been notable for both creative virtuosity and recognition of exceptional achievement. In 2011, Taylor was honored with a Carnegie Hall Perspectives series, which consisted of four concert evenings presented by Carnegie Hall and featuring Taylor and personally selected musical guests. In 2012, he was awarded the distinguished Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government and in 2011, was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. Both medals are their Nation’s highest honors for artistic excellence recognizing “outstanding achievements and support of the arts.” In November 2015, Taylor was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civilian honor.
In December of 2016 Taylor received the Kennedy Center Honors, which are presented annually to individuals who have enriched American culture by distinguished achievement in the performing arts.