[Q&A] Taylor DeBlock Steps Into His Own with Debut ‘MANQUE’

Photo Credit: Keb Doak (@kebdoak)

By Alissa Arunarsirakul // December 8, 2020

We’ve been raving about Taylor DeBlock’s irresistible R&B-pop for quite some time, and now we’re back to treat you to more goodness from this Los Angeles based stunner. With more personal stories to divulge, DeBlock has unveiled his stunning debut EP, MANQUE, which will teach you almost everything you need to know about him. Whether you’re going through a devastating heartbreak or thriving in the self-love department, DeBlock’s MANQUE will resonate with you with ease. 

On MANQUE, Taylor DeBlock explained, 

“Originally taken from the French ‘tu me manque,’ meaning, ‘I Miss you,’ the EP’s title displays a two-fold meaning. A ‘manqué’ is also someone who has failed to live up to an expectation – accepting what has become, the manqué eventually sees where they fell short and must carry on.”

To celebrate the release of his new music, we recently chatted with Taylor DeBlock about authenticity, Justin Timberlake, and of course, MANQUE

HH: Rumor has it you discovered your passion for music when you were 13. Can you reflect on what led to this moment?

TD: Music has always played a significant role in my life. I can remember being surrounded by music at an early age – both of my parents sang in the church choir, my sister began pursuing vocal performance in high school, and my brother took up guitar before he could drive. Being the youngest of three, I was easily inspired by my older brother and sister. The real turning point for me came at 13 years old, when my sister persuaded me to begin voice lessons with her coach at the time. I stuck with the lessons for a while, and after four long years, I fell in love with music. From that point, I studied Music Production & Recording Arts at Elon University and began my pursuit of a career in music.

HH: How would you say you’ve grown as an artist since 2018’s “Fool?”

TD: Releasing “Fool” was an incredible moment for me, but I knew I was only scratching the surface of my career. Since that point, I’ve developed a confidence that I most definitely didn’t have when I began. I’d say for any artist, the beginning is often the scariest part – the first time you release your art into the world for others to hear, you have no idea what they’ll say. After receiving positive feedback with each release, I grew more confident in my art, which in turn allowed me to dive deeper into what I wanted to do sonically. Since “Fool” I’ve been able to explore more of who I am as an artist and create music that I believe in on a much deeper level. Confidence perpetuates creativity, and that’s where I’ve found myself.

HH: Can you describe your creative process behind MANQUE? What was it like to create music during a global pandemic?

TD: Initially, achieving anything in the midst of a pandemic seemed daunting, but when I found my flow, the music flowed too. I’ve been working with an incredible producer by the name of Kayhan Ahmadi for some time now – working on MANQUE with Kayhan was far easier than I imagined it would be. Granted, the initial hurdle of establishing a workflow was difficult, but shortly after that we were cruising. We’ve created tons of new music that we’re excited about, and I’m incredibly grateful that we weren’t slowed down in our creative processes. There will always be hurdles in the creation of music, this was simply one that none of us expected. That said, I can’t wait to get back in the studio.

HH: Ranging from pulsating percussion in “Necesitas” to swirly synths in “Quicksand,” MANQUE has something for everyone. What inspires your ear wormy sonics?

TD: During the writing process for MANQUE, I knew that I wanted to display a range of sounds that I both heard and appreciated. Each song tells its own story, and offers something different sonically, as well. I did that because, frankly, that’s who I am. I love so many different styles of music and they’re all a part of me – this record was meant to show you not only how I feel, but who I am. In regards to creating “ear worms,” I just create. There’s no agenda when I make a song, other than honesty. If I can be real on every song I make, and create from the heart, the listener understands.

HH: How would you describe every song from MANQUE in one word each?

TD: Putting me on the spot here, but I love this question. Here goes…
“NECESITAS” – enamorada (Spanish for enamored)
“RIGHT WAY” – reminiscent
“SLOW”  – seductive
“SAY” – heartache
“CALL ME” – amorous
“QUICKSAND” – remorse

HH: The MANQUE merch is super dope! What was it like to work with Devin Cooper on these projects?

TD: Working with Devin was a dream – he’s incredible, simply put. He works so fast and his ideas are endless. I was excited to work with him because he’s designed for some of my favorite brands (i.e. URCOMMA, FRNDSxFMLY) and I knew that he’d nail it every time. Sure enough, he’s helped me make some amazing merch, and I can’t wait to make more. Good merch says a lot about an artist, and Devin helps me bring that to life.

HH: If you could turn back time and write any hit song, which would it be?

TD: This is absurdly tough to answer – as I’m sure you know – but I’d have to pick “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake. Not only because I look up to JT so much as an artist, but because of what that whole record meant. That album really shaped his career as a solo artist and established him as a household name in R&B/Pop.

HH: What are your hidden hits?

TD: There are too many to name, but I’d encourage everyone to check these out:
“Overrated” by Blxst
“FOMO” by Gemaine
“Loving You Is a Mountain” by Isaia Huron

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