If Only by Jonathan Taylor – What will you be doing to commemorate 9/11 this year?

09/05/2014 | By More

Jonathan Taylor is a Profound Dyslexic. An English singer / songwriter born Warwick 1966.

“Taylor’s music urges us to question why atrocities happen, whether they are individual or collective. He takes tragedy, seemingly internalising the pain and then slowly from his depths comes something beautiful, skilful, deeply memorable and strangely- immensely listenable. “

As an independent label, Brittunculi, we believe Jonathan Taylor has written the singularly most powerful 9/11 remembrance track ever – and we welcome reviews, warts n’ all.

If Only by Jonathan Taylor

Taylor, a profound dyslexic, was discarded by the education system at a very early age. His schooling all but finished at the age of 13 years when after years of struggle, his attendance was finally non-existent.

At the age of 13 he was diagnosed as ‘educationally and emotionally disturbed’ by an Educational Psychologist in Boston, Lincolnshire. And at 15 years was summoned before Magistrates in Abergavenny, South Wales for school non-attendance. Avoiding the certain ‘Reform Order’ which would have undoubtedly put him in residential care, he agreed to attend a special unit, he would sign in every morning, play pool and then simply leave with the teachers full consent. His home and school life were often brutal. He was severely bullied and a complete loner, quite unable to mix with peers. The educational authority at the time (Gwent) refused to enter him for any formal examination or GCSE provision.

Taylor later voluntarily returned to education during his late twenties to pursue his passion for music, studying initially for a Diploma in Music Technology. He continued to struggle, receiving poor marks for mathematical and written projects, but receiving ‘distinctions for performance and art based works.’ Dedicated teachers helped him through (Huddersfield Technical College) but classic signs of dyslexia that were not finally picked up on until he attended Bradford and Ilkey Community College (Yorkshire), here he studied for a Diploma in Higher Education, Youth & Community Work. He failed the first year, simply unable to complete the written essays and necessary reading lists. Tutors soon noticed an apparent miss-match between written and verbal outputs and he was referred for assessment. The diagnosis ‘profound dyslexia & SLD.’ He received regular support through learning services and technological adoptions, and a personal computer. His life changed immediately, and following an initial bout of depression for which he was hospitalised, soon returned fighting. Ironically he is now (after nine years of study) a qualified post-graduate teacher and mentor having completed his Masters studies. He now teaches English as a foreign language in Bulgaria at a top 10 ranking private school and is also the principle song writer for the English Club. A Cambridge based company whom teach English online. Many of his successful songs for learner’s are used in educate world wide and include ‘The Alphabet Song for Rockers’ and ‘Frankenstein’s Body Parts Song.’

“Of my dyslexia now” he says, “I always believed it to be a curse, I knew I was capable of so much but just couldn’t get there. I was swimming with weights around my ankles. When I was originally diagnosed I felt cheated, betrayed, for all my life I had been called useless, stupid and pathetic, I sank into a very dark place. What is tragic is that when you are told this often enough you start to believe it and it is hard to break out again. But now, much later on, I believe I have achieved great things. I changed my thinking when college staff nominated me for the College Trust Fund Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education (BICC 1999). And I’ve been fighting back ever since, so is dyslexia a curse or an artistic gift… My condition created my social circumstances, and this created a deep confused need to write, to express myself, to be emotional in other ways. To find myself and own identity. I’ve released 10 independent music albums and now, during my mid forties have just written my first three fiction novels. Writing comes easily to me, words poor out without difficulty. And all of this because somebody out there believed in me. I no longer recognise myself.”

Taylor notes with a smile, “At 15 when I bought my first second-hand guitar and amp for 75 pounds, my mother said it was a complete waste of money.” Although it’s left unsaid, one gets the feeling she’s probably still eating her words today. Since then, his reviewers have been somewhat more generous. It’s been said he is the possessor of a ‘marvellous dusty, dusky voice full of resonance and beauty’ by local press and a ‘real talent’ by the British Politician Tony Benn, while fans continue to liken him to Don Mclean, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and even Neil Diamond.

Taylor’s lyrics remain consistent in theme, his overwhelming need to lend his voice to those who remain without. Whether they’re victims of the Bulgarian Communist Regime (Izvinavi) or an elegy to those lost in 9/11 (‘If Only’) and the messages they left behind. Again and again he returns to his subject, in ‘Holocaust Denier’ written after meeting England’s only known Jewish Auschwitz survivor Leon Greenman, his words convey not only the horror of genocide but implore us to remember, should we let it happen again. Both tracks featured on BBC and worldwide radio and for which British PM of the time Gordon Brown, wrote to thank him. Even the house he now calls home in central Bulgaria, used as a Partisan hide-out for anti-nazi resistance fighters throughout WW2, has brought him inspiration in the form of the song ‘Partisan.’ You begin to get the feeling Taylor needs this kind of connection to the past and a large helping of tragedy for both sustenance and creativity.

Taylor’s music urges us to question why atrocities happen, whether they are individual or collective. He takes tragedy, seemingly internalising the pain and then slowly from his depths comes something beautiful, skilful, deeply memorable and strangely- immensely listenable. “So what will you be doing to commemorate 9/11 this year” he asks us all? We are very proud that the song “If Only” is now featured as part of the new 9/11 Memorial Museum art collection in New York. The link will take you there, listen, watch the video which features all 4000 memorial names and let us and you readers know what you think.

And please, don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] for any further information, links or photo’s as necessary, though the following web site should provide. Jonathan Taylor is a regular feature in Bulgarian press and on TV/radio. Thank you for continuing to support independent dyslexic songwriters, we love you!

Cursty Hoppe & The Brittunculi Independent Music team.

Here “If Only” below:

Or visit the official website for much more music, videos and information:

The ‘CHAT’ tab provides numerous means for contact; we’d be delighted to hear from you. With very best wishes.

Category: Dyslexia, News, Videos

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