Taking inspiration from his own long-distance relationship, Stewart Taylor’s latest track is Mess Your Hair Up – an upbeat and summery slice of R&B funk.

“I’d recently moved to LA from New York, and my partner sent me a super-sexy picture…” explains Taylor. “I told him I wanted to jump on him and mess his hair up! The chorus of the song came to me almost immediately afterwards.”

The light-hearted fun of Mess Your Hair Up is a departure from Taylor’s previous track – Liberation – which conveyed an anti-bullying message.

Taylor’s own coming-out story was featured in Dan Savage and Terry Miller’s book, It Gets Better.

“Everyone deserves to be happy in and outside of the bedroom…” says Taylor, reflecting on the current focus of his songwriting. “While Mess Your Hair Up may appear simplistic and perhaps more superficial than my previous tracks, sometimes simple and fun is better. One of my favourite Prince songs is literally about wanting his lover’s ‘extra time and their KISS’ – that’s still iconic.”

“Show business is a huge hustle…” acknowledged Taylor. “It involves a lot of rejection, tons of networking, recording sessions, and figuring out how you’re going to pay your bills and rent. I’ve worked so many part-time and dead-end jobs to make ends meet and have moved so many times, but I’m still here!”

“The biggest hurdle I’ve had to face has been being an out-pop artist…” continues Taylor. “I’ve been passed up by major TV shows, executives, and record labels simply because I’m out. Even with all the progress the LGBTQ community has made in the last few years, there still needs to be more LGBTQ visibility in music and entertainment. At the end of the day, so what if I’m not an All-American straight guy? All of my favourite artists and songwriters started from nothing and built empires, despite obstacles and adversity, and I aim to be the next out artist who breaks through.”

The video for Mess Your Hair Up is directed by Teo Karakolev, and features dancers Connor Street and Noel Bajandas.

“I wanted to keep it fun like the song itself, with a hint of old classic Hollywood in the black and white scenes…” explains Taylor. “The video celebrates white, black, Latino, and drag queen hairstyles – all of it is beautiful to me. I also had the privilege of working with LA-based choreographer Johnny Rice on the dance numbers in the video, so hopefully it makes people want to get up and dance.”

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