“Why not put food and entertainment all under one bun?” Taylor Mallory asks, reciting the slogan of his new food and music webshow, “Music Burger.” Wearing a smart sport jacket and his signature black baseball cap backwards, Mallory doesn’t look stressed, but the musician and teacher has a lot on his plate.
Having just graduated from Columbia College, he teaches an after-school class in music production at a South Side high school, works at a music production company, entertains at corporate events, is a wedding singer, and produces “Music Burger” episodes each week. The webshow was a “spontaneous creative idea” that came to Mallory as a way to promote Chicago musicians and bring people to his personal website through a food and music web series. Episodes of the show include a performance by a musical guest and Mallory teaching one simple recipe. The guests and the food are always related: Mallory says, “You think of going out to a nice restaurant and you think of a specific kind of music, like classical music, and then for a barbecue maybe you think of soul, or folk music.” He tries to do the same thing with “Music Burger”–in the most recent episode Mallory invited in an action-packed band, ENDISKIZE, and taught viewers how to make a protein shake. The project was originally entitled “I like food and people,” but that name was scrapped. Mallory explains why, leaning back in his chair, looking spaced out, and saying slowly, “I didn’t want to sound like a hippie.”
Three other Columbia College students work with Mallory on “Music Burger,” and the end result of their collaboration is near-professional quality web episodes. Additional help and advice comes from Ivan Dupee of Dupee Productions, whom Mallory describes simply as “a blessing.” The group is hoping the project will lead to distribution on major channels in the future, which would allow them to expand to other cities and provide exposure for even more artists. For now, musicians featured on “Music Burger” have come from the South and West Sides of Chicago, as well as the suburbs.
While “Music Burger” is a lot of work, Mallory says it all comes together in moments like the one in the J Gridges episode, when he was standing in his kitchen and watching the band play and felt “this can really be something.” He loves to see the musicians he features talking up “Music Burger” on their own sites, and is proud to say that the project surprises people he meets. The drive behind his work comes from his conviction that the music industry lacks creativity, and he wants to push forward the “craft” of making music. And there’s another reason. “If it puts a smile on your face, then do it,” Mallory says.
The same belief that people should pursue what they enjoy runs through Mallory’s class in music production at Hirsch Metropolitan High School in Grand Crossing, the neighborhood just south of Woodlawn. He calls his teaching “organic,” responding to his own and students’ interests. Mallory moves on quickly from talking about this job, adding that he works in client relations for Dupee Productions and has various weekend gigs. He chuckles and says, “I know you’re thinking, ‘That’s a lot.’”
But Mallory never misses a beat, even asking for a publicity shot of himself with your reporter to hype this article. “Music Burger” has been picked up by Blip TV, a resource for video bloggers, and with Mallory at the helm more publicity is inevitable.