Coffee With John TaylorBy Michelle Archer Published: Jul 10, 2012
“Many of my interviews are essentially therapy sessions,” John Taylor ’11 explains. “I’m just talking to normal people who happen to be famous.”
John Taylor spent his undergraduate career studying psychology and meeting people for coffee. Whether at the Jumping Bean on Taylor University’s campus, or Payne’s and Starbucks in Gas City, Ind., John became known for his coffee dates. He scheduled countless appointments each week.
Today, John is still meeting and working at coffee shops, but this time as a contributing writer to Relevant magazine and Interview magazine, and as an editor for Chicago music website, Pop ‘stache. He has interviewed bands such as The Hold Steady, Vampire Weekend and Jack White-sanctioned group The Black Belles. He also volunteers with NPR in Chicago, working several events for the station.
“Everyone has some sort of story to share,” says John. “I try to really explore who someone is.”
His music-related journey began in Anderson, Ind., at The Mercy House. There, he made friends with a pastor, who wrote a music blog. John began writing for him as a freshman, and over time, writing became a hobby for him. “I got into a lot of free concerts,” John said. “It was great, because as a college kid, I didn’t really have extra money to spend to go places.”
Before long, this hobby turned into something more, as John began interviewing bands for the blog. He recalls being terrified during his first interview with the punk rock group Crocodiles. “I had no idea what I was going to say at first,” John explains, “but about halfway through the conversation, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life.”
As a result of those experiences, John discovered that writing would become the bridge between his studies in psychology and his interest in music. As John admits, “Taylor University was a huge part in that. Vance Maloney, a psychology professor, really believed in me, especially when a lot of people in my life, though supportive, were unsure about me. I love how much the faculty care; it’s a really big motivator.”
His early graduation in January 2011 meant it was time to enter the “real world.” John recalls one influential coffee meeting with a Taylor professor during his job. “I had an interview in Muncie, but no way to get there. I was so broke that I didn’t even have money to fill my tank,” John described. He was surprised and touched when the professor gave him $20 and said, “I want you to drive to Muncie and be successful.”
“I will never forget that.” John remembers.
Today, John realizes his years at Taylor were not as much about the academics as they were about the relationships and experiences he acquired that made the difference in his life.
“I learned how to network and deal with social situations,” John says. “My time at Taylor prepared me to look for a job.”
Today John rotates coffee shops as he writes, so it doesn’t feel like work. “They know who I am,” he explains. And the best part of this plan? Free coffee.