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James Taylor tells us how he's stayed at the top of his game over a six-decade-long career
Robert Scott
Robert Scott

James Taylor tells us how he's stayed at the top of his game over a six-decade-long career

The legendary artist chatted with Robert Scott ahead of his two NZ shows.

Legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor seriously doubted whether his career could continue after he gave up drugs. Luckily for all of us, it didn't end and he's still touring, coming to NZ next week with his All-Star band. 

Ahead of the Auckland Spark Arena and Wellington TSB Arena shows on Tuesday and Wednesday, Taylor chatted with Robert Scott

He talked about how he keeps his voice fresh and sounding young after a career spanning six decades, how addiction and the road to sobriety changed that career, and a whole lot more. 

The ‘Fire and Rain’ hitmaker believes the style of his music and his dedication to fitness have allowed him to keep his vocals clean and undamaged. 

“Singing this music is not particularly damaging,” he said. “I don’t have to recover from screaming my head off.”

“I am also lucky that I am fit and well. That partially is also a legacy of getting sober. In my mid-30s I switched addictions to physical activity, to intense workouts and being comfortable in my own skin, to get my nervous system back.”

“And that’s served me well now. It has me in pretty good shape now in my mid-70s.”

His commitment to physical health came after he began his sobriety journey in the mid-1980s. Giving up drugs, he adds, was the second biggest moment of his career, the other being the success of ‘Fire and Rain’ and his second album ‘Sweet Baby James’

“1985 was about a year into my recovery from addiction,” he said. “I’d had a kind of rough ride for those final years and it’s not that I was thinking of retiring, I just wondered what it was going to be like to try and do what I do clean and sober. Not that being actively addicted was working for me either, of course, it wasn’t.”

“It was the other big change in my life. You mentioned the point at which ‘Fire And Rain’ took off and ‘Sweet Baby James’ became a successful element of the popular culture at that time. And the other big change in my life was my recovery - my addiction progressing to the point where I had to do something about it or check out.”

“That was an important time too. I wrote a few songs about that, it got into my music.”

You can listen to the full conversation above and there are still tickets available to both shows, which you can purchase here if you wanna hear that famous voice with your own ears.