By Wendy Holdren
“We’re just three kids from Grafton, West Virginia, who started out singing on a back porch with Mom and a guitar.”
Although the country band Taylor Made has recently received MusicRow Magazine’s Independent Artist of the Year Award, band member Wendy Williams said she and her brothers, Greg and Brian Duckworth, are staying grounded.
“I knew we had been working hard. You’re always trying to get radio play, but when we were on the stage with Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert, just to be amongst such artists is humbling and flattering. We were standing there kind of starstruck.”
These Taylor County natives definitely deserve the recognition they are receiving though, as their songs keep climbing the charts and hitting the radio stations.
MusicRow Magazine’s Independent Artist of the Year Award is based on the amount of radio spins an artist receives throughout the year, and Taylor Made came out on top.
Williams explained that there are only a few major record labels remaining in Nashville, so the “Independent” category includes labels like Stoney Creek, with Thompson Square, and Curb, with LeAnn Rimes and Wynonna Judd.
Taylor Made brought home the win for Little General Records, a label that branched from the Little General convenience stores.
“We want to keep winning,” Williams said with a smile. “It won’t be our last.”
She said being on stage in Nashville at Country Radio Seminar Week to accept their award was quite an experience.
“Being on that stage, that’s when the reality of it comes to you. To be standing on that stage with that kind of company, it’s just a ‘wow’ feeling.”
Although their hard work and dedication are starting to pay off, the Taylor Made trio isn’t letting it go to their heads.
“That’s the ultimate goal — You don’t forget where you come from. West Virginia fans are more like friends than fans. We try to meet everyone and get to know more about them. That’s the stuff that keeps you grounded. A lot of people in this state feel exactly like that.”
She said God is No. 1 to them, and their family is a very close second.
“The whole reason I get up every morning and I go to work, or I write a song, or I sing a song is so that I can give my kids things that they want. It doesn’t have to be something I didn’t have, it’s to give your kids what they want and to let them lead a great life.”
Williams said her family has always been really close and since she and her two brothers formed Taylor Made, their trio has become even more tightly knit.
“I think being on the road together and doing things together, it really does strengthen the trio’s relationship with each other, because we’ve got each other’s backs, not matter what.”
She said her entire family sings, so when they travel home for Christmas, the whole family is singing along with them — but not without some light-hearted teasing from their older sister.
“Our older sister is like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I’m not as good as Taylor Made,’” Williams said with a laugh. “When we’re there, we’re not Taylor Made. We’re just the Duckworth kids singing around the Christmas tree or on the back porch with Mom.”
As for traveling for tours and recording, Williams said they just make it work.
“Without the support of our families and our employers, we just couldn’t do it. You have to have people backing you and supporting you.”
They are currently working on another radio tour and booking events for their spring through fall tour. They recently finished recording the vocals for their current album and Williams said it will hopefully be out within the next month or so.
She said they really love that this album features several songs that they have written or have co-written.
“It touches people. I write a song or part of a song because it’s something I have actually felt. To know you hear that song and it puts a tear in your eye because you’ve been there, that’s exactly why I do that. We keep saying this, but it’s true: We’re real people singing real songs about real situations.”
She said they are all adults with full-time jobs, and they are all parents and spouses.
“We have a lot of experience. When we sing about something, it’s because we truly lived it, or we’ve loved someone who has lived it. We’re not up there just blowing sunshine and smoke.”
To stay up to date on all their awards, tour dates and new music, visit www.taylormadecountry.com.
Williams added, “We want to say thank you. We didn’t win this alone. We’ve had a lot of support, whether it’s from the radio or newspaper or our families. There’s just so much support.”
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