The Out Artist Sings a Ballad for his “Favorite Ex”
By Jamie Booth
Stewart Taylor has written songs for American Idol's David Hernandez and RuPaul’s Drag Race’s JuJu Bee, Mo Heart, and Manila Luzon. He has also released several singles of his own, including his funk and R&B inspired debut, “Mess Your Hair Up” and 2022’s “Maybe We Shouldn’t Talk”. His newest single is “Favorite Ex,” a song that merges eighties vibes with today’s pop and R&B. In it, Stewart Taylor sings about a former lover he had in New York that he was forced to leave behind in order to pursue his music dreams in Los Angeles.
“We both knew that our time together was limited but I often look back and wonder what would’ve been had I stayed,” he reflects.
The video for “Favorite Ex” is a captivating reflection of the song. It depicts Taylor walking alone along gorgeous ocean vistas (filmed in Malibu) and sweeping desert scenes (filmed in the Mojave Desert). Taylor says he drew inspiration from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and its theme that every party eventually has to end. As they do in the novel, beautiful things fall apart in the video including a chandelier and a bouquet of white roses.
We caught up with Stewart Taylor in Los Angeles to learn more.
Jamie Booth: Are you an emotional guy when it comes to relationships?
Stewart Taylor: I’m a Cancer, so yes, when I’m dating someone, I really go all in. Being with me can be quite the rollercoaster ride some days!
JB: Do you intend to be raw and honest in your music?
Stewart Taylor: I’ve been processing my feelings through singing and songwriting since I was a little kid, and coming from an honest place is very important to me. Writing music is one hundred percent my Lexapro. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life, and music has saved me so many times.
JB: In “Favorite Ex,” you sing about stealing your ex back from his current bf. Is that something you would really do?
Stewart Taylor: My ex was certainly a keeper and he has given me several albums worth of material over the years, but he lives over three thousand miles away in New York. Even if he were closer, though, getting in the way of his new relationship is not something I would ever do. It was just something fun to fantasize about! I’ve hung out with my ex and his new beau a couple of times when they have visited LA. It felt weird but I was very respectful and supportive.
JB: What have your learned from him that you are now applying to current relationships?
Stewart Taylor: I’ve been in toxic relationships in the past. He was the closest I’ve ever been to a healthy and loving relationship. These days, I look for people who are kind to me, the way he was, and someone who can keep up with my energy.
JB: Why did you choose an 80s vibe for “Favorite Ex”?
Stewart Taylor: It’s my favoite era. I love eighties music and my eighties icons.
JB: Were you alive in the 80s?
Stewart Taylor: I wasn’t. Total nineties boy right here! JB: What do the 80s conjure up for you? Stewart Taylor: I like to say that I lived in the eighties in another life because I’ve always been so drawn to that time in music and pop culture. I watched a lot of VH1 and MTV as a kid, and icons like Janet Jackson, Madonna, Paula Abdul, and Prince are still huge influences for me.
JB: A lot of music artists are diving deep into the 80s these days. Charlie Puth's latest album is 80s inspired.
Stewart Taylor: Funny you should say that! I used to write and record with Charlie. We attended Berklee College of Music at the same time. He taught me a lot about recording harmonies; skills I still use to this day. Musically speaking, we worked well together. We both have a real love for pop music and R&B.
JB: The music video, on the other hand, is very modern day. It’s not 80s at all.
Stewart Taylor: I think it’s important to remain current. I’m definitely not out here billing myself as a throwback artist. Instead, I started working with an incredible German designer named Joseph Auren to experiment with more futuristic and flamboyant looks. The making of the video took two full days in Malibu and the Mohave Desert. The Malibu shoot was really cold and I spent the entire day getting body slammed by waves. I took a very hot shower when I was done filming! Day two was a three-hour drive to the middle of nowhere. The director dropped me off in the desert, drove away, and then flew a drone around me to film the dance sequences. It was over one hundred degrees and by the seventh or eighth take, I thought I was going to pass out.
JB: The symbolism gets pretty deep with empty desert, hour glasses and crashing chandeliers.
Stewart Taylor: I like to incorporate symbolism in my music videos. For “Favorite Ex,” I imagined I was a prince walking through a desert and stepping into a Malibu paradise with no one to share it with. It can be lonely chasing dreams and giving up on love in order to pursue a calling. That’s the decision that I made. The hourglass was obviously about love running out of time. The chandelier on the desert floor was inspired by The Great Gatsby and it is meant to signify how every party eventually comes to an end.
JB: Speaking of parties, the remixes of “Favorite Ex” are climbing the Billboard club charts.
Stewart Taylor: I love them! Both the Hector Fonseca and Thiago Dukky remix and the DJ Mentol and Scott Storch remix are incredible.
JB: Are you involved with anyone right now, Stewart?
Stewart Taylor: I’m not. I’m very picky with men, and with good reason! I’m a hopeless romantic and I’m waiting for the right guy to come along.
Stewart Taylor’s “Favorite Ex” is being distributed independently and is available on Apple Music, Spotify, and all digital platforms. Its video is available on YouTube. Follow on IG @imstewarttaylor and stewarttaylorofficial.com.
Photos by: Jacob Halter