LOCAL Houston | The City Guide September 2016 - Page 52

OF JAWWAAD TAYLOR AND RYAN DENNIS By Tim Moloney | Photography by Joseph West Native Houstonian, self-taught trumpeter, emcee, rapper, electronic musician and performance artist JAWWAAD TAYLOR is a firm believer in magic. “The people I’ve met, the heroes of mine I’ve played and performed with – it’s almost unbelievable. I’m living my dreams, beyond my dreams, and this life is pretty beautiful.” How he met his wife, Project Row Houses’ Public Art Director, RYAN DENNIS, was indeed a magical moment. “Early in 2009, I had just been on the European leg of the Shape of Minds tour, so I’d been gone for a while. I walked into The Flat with a friend of mine, and Ryan was directly in my line of sight. I said to my friend, ‘Who is that?’” Taylor immediately bee-lined for her and they spent the rest of the night talking. “She was trying to play real cool that night but we talked for a long time and exchanged numbers. The next day I went back on tour and she left me a message while I was on the plane. Pretty cute, right?” Their eventual life together took them to New York, where Taylor spent his time living, creating and meeting future collaborators; some of his higher profile gigs included performances and collaborations with hip-hop luminaries Jay-Z and MF DOOM. Dennis pursued her master’s degree in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute, where her research focused on the role of the artist as the administrator and cultural producer through residencies and collaborative programming. In 2012, they returned to Houston. “It’s funny,” says Dennis. “When Jawwaad and I used to talk in New York, we’d say that the only reason we’d come back to Houston was if I got a job with Project Row Houses…and then it happened! It was the only place I could imagine working; it’s in line with my ethics 52 L O C A L | september 16 and politics, and the promotion of African-American artists and culture. It’s a pretty radical place. One moment you’re typing up something for someone who lives in the neighborhood, then you’re realizing a project with an established artist.” Because he’s often on tour, mainly in Europe, Taylor uses Houston as a home base. “I’m lucky that I can work from home and find new boundaries to push and new ways to challenge myself as an artist.” To name one: Taylor recently composed a piece of music for MACARTHUR FELLOW CA QHPQHQST\\و\ܘXH\ΈYX[ۜ܂\ܛX[H]\[Z\[ۙYHH]\][TKHܚ\HX[][ۈو]\X[ܙ[[H]^\X]HH[[XY[&]HZ\]\ݙ\H\]YX\˂[\\H[YK^[܈[[]\XX[[Xܘ]܈SPQRTUS\H[[HXۙ[X[ۚX[Z\[ۜ\][8$H^[^\[Y[[]\X™\][8$[]\[H][[[]\[ܙH[ \\H\[X\$̍H\ܛH]Hܝ܋ۚX[Z\[ۜ\[X[] [ً]KX\\\[[H\]Y[[HZ\ۈ[\^[[\݈ܚ[ܙH[\YH\˂[\[^[܈\HH\HX[][ۈوX[Y\[\ˈ8'X^XH[HXZ[š[^\[K8'H^\X[وHYHH[^[܈]HܙX]Y]\]8&\H^B۝[YH[Z\X\˂