A process that was two-and-a-half decades in the making has culminated in a compilation of solo piano songs on Keysha Edwards Taylor’s newest CD which she created to soothe, relax, and encourage the soul. The collection of calm, easy-going, enjoyable piano solos by the composer sets the tone for any living or working space and is likened to musical medicine that can enhance, lighten, uplift and soothe the soul. “Piano Works” is a 14-CD compilation by Taylor, the daughter of Desmond Edwards and the late cultural icon, Kayla Lockhart Edwards, that she compiled over 25 years.
On “Piano Works”, Taylor captures her piano solos gathered over the years in a simple recording style to bring the listener music in its authentic and original stage. The CD is a mixture of classical, jazz, and island melodies and rhythms.
Taylor said “Piano Works” which dropped in August was crafted to work so the soul can rest.
“What I’ve done is collected choice pieces that I have been playing for myself first, as like a soul-medication that I use just to really heal my own soul from stress and being busy. We [husband, Charles Taylor, senior pastor at Journey Church which is affiliated with Grace Communion International] have three kids and I would get to the piano and just start to play and work things out in my brain. That’s what music does for me. It really does satisfy my soul in such a way where everything is okay after I finish listening to it or creating it or even ministering it,” she said.
Taylor, the music director and worship leader at the church located at Miramar Parkway, Miramar, Florida, for the past 20 years, said her newest CD was made to facilitate and set the mood for every space in which people exist.
“‘Piano Works’, I believe, is also an experience. Just like Tylenol works … or just like when you go and do meditation, or [have] a glass of wine – whatever it is that sets you right … that really just sets your soul right, that’s what works for you. So, I’m making it in such a way that the piano works so you can rest.”
The CD features “Serenity”, “A Prayer for You”, “Into the Night”, “Snow Fall”, “Yeah! That’s Me”, “Choice”, “Time Won’t Wait”, “Reflection of the Soul”, “Flow 1”, “Flow II”, “Flow III”, “Flow IV”, “Trying to Let Go” and “A Worshiper’s Legacy” – songs that are simply written but that are contemplative. Most of which were accompaniments for sermons, conferences, Bible study, and healing groups.
The idea for her newest CD she said was sparked after she was sitting and thinking about what she would do to mark the 13th year of her mom’s passing. She tries to do something special every year to honor her memory.
“This year, I don’t know what got in my heart. I just said I’ve got to do something notable, but I had no idea.”
It was in March that the composer thought about the plethora of praise and worship songs she’s written over the last 26 years of being in ministry with her husband. Songs that she said would just evolve out of their services, or from when she was doing her soul medication when playing the piano for herself.
“I collected all of those praise and worship songs and said I really want to go into the studio. I want to do this.”
But she became discouraged after a friend spoke to her about what it would cost to produce her songs which she said were big, and about what she would need to have to get it done. Taylor put it aside.
She recalled speaking to God and laying her troubles on His doorstep about what she wanted to do, even though she had no idea what.
“My mom’s birthday came around and I was sitting down and said to God in my prayer, ‘I want to do something notable this year. I don’t know why I’m feeling like this, but I want to do something,’ and it was like the notion came, ‘use what’s in your hands’ – that phrase had been in my brain since March – use what’s in your hands. And so, when I asked, I said, ‘what do you mean what’s in my hands?’ And I began to move my fingers. Immediately I thought, ‘my piano works’. I started thinking about that, and sat down, and put it all together. As far as how many songs I had – it was 15 at the time, and I said okay, I’m going to try and do this very simply. I’m just going to go into the studio and put them down so I have it recorded and copy-written.”
Taylor went into the studio with a friend who plays bass at her church, who also has a home studio, and they started creating.
“All this summer, my friend worked with me, and we got the songs out. Every week – two hours, three hours, we just worked it out, making sure the arrangements were right.
She completed the project in July and released the CD in August.
“Piano Works” can be found on the online platforms – iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, CD Baby.com and Google Play.
Taylor has earmarked parts of the proceeds from “Piano Works” sales to go to the Ranfurly Home for Children, which has had an influx of residents after the devastation on Abaco and Grand Bahama by Hurricane Dorian forced the displacement of children from those islands to New Providence.
Taylor has a special connection with the Ranfurly Home, which stems back to her childhood through her mother.
“Every time my mother did her plays and her shows and directed productions and things like that, the Ranfurly Home children were a part of that – and they were my friends. That was from the 80s – I don’t know where they [former residents] are today, [or] what businesses they hold, but I remember them. I remember playing with them, singing with them, learning dances, making Junkanoo costumes, getting into the character, practicing, and then walking some of them back over [to Ranfurly], because we would do it at the Dundas. So, I said I need to reconnect with my friends, even though these [current residents] are kids that don’t know me from Adam; the [current] administration doesn’t know me from Adam, except Mr. Roberts who was actually my ninth grade teacher from Queen’s College, and when I called him he recognized my voice and was like ‘Keysha Edwards, how you doing?’ And I was like ‘you remember.’ And he was like ‘I could never forget you.’”
Taylor said she also plans to do a free concert for the residents of the home while at home.
“I’m just happy to be able to go over there and start to be a part of that family in a way to just bring a message of hope through the music and spend a sweet time with them. I don’t live on New Providence anymore, so the time I do spend will be poignant, it’s going to be memorable, so I want to be specific in what I do,” she said.
“Piano Works” isn’t Taylor’s first recording. She’s also recorded the EP “Deep: Songs from Within” which accompanies a memoir of her life’s experiences, “Deep Book – My Journey to True Inner Peace”. In 2002, she and her husband, compiled 10 original songs and produced an album entitled “Father’s Heart”.