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Music Stars Making A Social Impact: Why & How B Taylor of L1fe Organization Is Helping To Change Our World

The first thing I wish someone told me before I started my journey is how expensive it is to be in the entertainment industry and fund productions and sessions consistently. Another thing I wish I was told was how much negativity and hate the entertainment industry spews. I also wish I knew that the industry has no morals or rules, and people will do as they please and treat you as they please. It would’ve been really helpful to know how many fake people will act like they support you just to be around you when you blow up. Lastly, I was not aware of how long it takes to create a hit record.

As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing B. Taylor.

Renowned musician, B. Taylor, who was discovered by Smokey Robinson, has been deemed “the Stevie Wonder of Hip Hop,” due to his musicianship and ability to play four instruments — piano, drums, guitar and organ. After attending the University of Missouri as a football and basketball student athlete, he later became a decorated sailor in the U.S. Navy. Now, B. Taylor maintains an active presence as a Global Ambassador of Music and Entertainment for the U.S. Military and is the founder of L1fe (One Life), a non-profit dedicated to helping active duty military, veterans, first responders and their families.

Thank you so much for joining us on this interview series. Can you share with us the backstory that led you to this career path?

While I was in the Navy, my first weekend in San Diego base, I went to Hollywood and Bing heard me playing Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky” on the piano. He told me that’s his mother’s favorite song and his brother was famous, and asked me to come meet them. It ended up being Snoop Dogg, his mother Beverly, Nate Dogg, D12 and Eminem. Snoop and Bing then asked me if I would play that song for her birthday and her wedding. That set me up with a pathway into the music industry, learning about production and working in the studio. That also led me to meeting Motown legend Pete Moore of Smokey and the Miracles, who then brought me to meet all of the Motown legends and the Gordy family. This eventually led to the first group of Motown Legends — Smokey and the Miracles — signing me. Originally, the Secretary of the Navy put me on Special temporary assignment duty orders (TAD) so that I could work out with the NFL, obtain an NFL agent and go to the Chargers. And that’s how this all began.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or takeaway you took out of that story?

After I signed, my first ever recording studio session was led by Motown Miracles, Pete Moore and Bobby Rodgers, Cuba Gooding Sr. of the group Main Ingredient (father of Cuba Gooding Jr.), BB King — father of Blue’s, Joe Jackson — father of the Jackson Five, and Aretha Franklin via video call. Mr. Moore was having me sing the part I didn’t agree with, and they kept making me do it over and over until I took my headphones off and stormed out the studio. The engineer came outside when he saw I was upset, and told me “Hey man, you’re in the studio with Hall of Fame legends. You just really need to get it together and understand that, and get back in there.” So I went back in, and Mr. Moore had me sit down.

He said, “How many #1 hits do you have?”.

I told him zero.

He said “How many Grammys do you have?”

I said zero.

He asked me “Did you discover Stevie Wonder or Michael Jackson like we did?”

I said no

He asked me “Are you in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame like us?”
I said no

Then he proceeded to say, “Either you listen to us and follow what we ask of you, or this session is over and we are dropping your a** tonight and you will no longer be with the Motown Legends and you can figure it out yourself”.

In that moment, I did what was best, and followed the directions of the legends.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

First of all, you have to have faith, a very good work ethic, patience and be able to listen. If you can take those things and make them a part of you, you can be successful in anything you do in life.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

My father has definitely made a profound impact on my life. Growing up in the suburbs or Peoria Illinois, we suffered two house fires. The FBI ended up getting involved because they found photos of my parents that had nupes around their necks and threatening letters that were imminent attacks from the KKK. The FBI deemed that there was racial discrimination going on, and moved us to a neighborhood where our neighbors were Chief of Police and in Law Enforcement which is where I grew up. The moral of this story is that my parents always taught me love and kindness, throughout the discrimination we faced, and kept steadfast in the positive light of life. My dad was also one of the first people on the ventilator during the pandemic. He was on the ventilator for 10 months, and the doctor told us that he had corruption on both lungs. He fought through the sickness for 10 months and made it back home for Christmas. His faith and strength inspires me and deeply influences my life till this day.

How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you’re working on right now?

I am using my platform as a Global Ambassador and Advocate for Entertainment to use the sports and music worlds to help shine a light on our military, veterans, first responders and their families, who they are, and the sacrifices they make for us to live in freedom. Through my L1FE Organization (pronounced “One life”) we have different programs that include a wellness program which facilitates healing and health through holistic therapies, yoga, art, animals, sports, meditation, music etc. The organization also houses a program called the Heroes’ Experience which helps our military, veterans and first responders enjoy their favorite sports with an immersive VIP experience as representatives of our nation’s heroes. Another program under the organization is the Music Program which allows veterans, military and first responders who have a passion for music to come together to create a Christmas Album which allows them to showcase their talent and heal through the immersion of the creative process. Lastly, the organization houses a Youth BMX team made up of minority youth that race on behalf of our military, veterans, first responders and their families. A unique program that L1FE Organization recently launched is a Specialty Program in partnership with the Nevada Fertility Center to help provide financial assistance to military and veterans trying to have a family.

Can you share with us a story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

The reason I chose to help military, veterans, first responders and their families is because I served during our War on Terrorism and I owe my mental tenacity, drive, focus and ability to execute to the US Navy, US Military and Special Operations Commands. Those guys really pushed me to become who I am today, and I promised I would use this entertainment platform to always represent them in the highest manner that they deserve.

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

20 year Veteran Army Ranger John Moore. We gifted him a 2500 sq ft. remodeled house, fully furnished, for him and his wife. Him and his wife moved from their studio apartment into the 3 bedroom house. His wife also suffers from a brain tumor and they were extremely grateful for the free home we gave him.

Are there three things or are there things that individuals, society, or the government can do to support you in this effort?

There are definitely things that can be done. First of all, Corporate America Executives as well as Entertainment and Sport Executives, Wall Street Executives and Tech Executives who have the biggest platforms could help push the post growth and wellness initiatives of L1FE Organization. With myself being a minority veteran, it’s important to understand that our military is minority driven. It’s essential to build partnerships with our organization and these high level executives across all industries because it will increase diversity, inclusion, opportunity and resources for our military, veterans and first responders. And last but not least, there is an importance in understanding that there is a Black Global Ambassador and Advocate of Entertainment who is the first to ever bridge Classic Motown, Hip Hop/ Pop Culture, the United States Military (Department of Defense) and the Nelson Mandela Foundation (B.Taylor is the co-founder of the first Nelson Mandela electric car with his granddaughter Ndileka Mandela and the Nelson Mandela Foundation).

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started”

The first thing I wish someone told me before I started my journey is how expensive it is to be in the entertainment industry and fund productions and sessions consistently. Another thing I wish I was told was how much negativity and hate the entertainment industry spews. I also wish I knew that the industry has no morals or rules, and people will do as they please and treat you as they please. It would’ve been really helpful to know how many fake people will act like they support you just to be around you when you blow up. Lastly, I was not aware of how long it takes to create a hit record.

You’re a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

My movement would be the movement of love and respect.

Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote? And can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

My grandma would say “If a task is once begun, finish it until it’s done. Be it’s laborer, great or small, do it well or not at all.” Without that quote, I couldn’t accomplish all the things I’ve accomplished at a young age.

We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I would love to sit down and have a meal with Steve Harvey. The reason why is because he was homeless and he can relate to the homeless veterans issue in this country. Also, he’s from the midwest like myself. His respect for the Motown legends and their music and their legacy speaks directly to me. I also have an admiration for his faith and belief in God, like myself being the son of a preacher.

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

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Yitzi Weiner

Yitzi Weiner

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator