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Meet Crystal Taliefero: Long-time Billy Joel band member (Includes interview)

Throughout her illustrious career in the music business, Taliefero has worked with such esteemed musicians as Bruce Springsteen, Faith Hill, Dunn, Garth Brooks, Bob Seger, Joe Cocker, Michael McDonald, the Bee Gees, Richie Sambora, Elton John, and Enrique Iglesias, among many others.

On July 18, 2018, Billy Joel will be celebrating his 100th career show at the “World’s Most Famous Arena” Madison Square Garden in New York, and Taliefero is stoked to be a part of it. “Words can’t describe how I am feeling right now,” she admitted. “It feels like a time warp. I want to pinch myself. Nobody has ever done that before, and we are going to be there. It’s a nice flashback over the last 30 years being with him, and thinking about the life, growth and experiences that I was blessed to have been a part of. It is like a family.”

One of the highlight performances in any Billy Joel live show in his live rendition of “River of Dreams,” where Joel allows Taliefero to display her prowess on percussion. “That was fun recording the vocals in the studio,” she recalled.

She had nothing but the greatest words about Mike DelGuidice, fellow band-mate in Billy Joel’s band (who plays rhythm guitar and background vocals), and who also fronts the Billy Joel tribute band Big Shot. “That’s my baby boy,” she said, with a sweet laugh. “He reminds me of when I first came in the band. He’s the new guy in, and he is doing great. Mike is very talented. He and I are really close. We’re good. We laugh all the time, and I did one of his ‘Porch Sessions’ series from his hotel room. It was funny. We have a good rapport with one another. Our vocals singing together comes along great as well. He also does ‘Nessun Dorma’ amazing. He reminds me of a Welsh singer. He has some powerful pipes.”

Each day, Taliefero is motivated by her daughter. “First of all, I am motivated by God. Also, when I look at my daughter, I look at how much I need to do what I do to give her all that I could possibly give her,” she said.

For young musicians, she encouraged them to “stop being so serious.” “The reason we got into music in the first place is because it is fun, and that’s what kept it alive, and you could hear it in the music,” she said. “Continue to be happy and enjoy what you do in this business.”

She defined the word success simply as contentment and peace. “The ability to share some of your successes with somebody else less fortunate, that’s success to me,” she said.

Digital transformation of the music business

Taliefero also opened up about the impact of technology on the music business. “It’s the way for the future. Back in the day, everybody was freaking out when they had an 8-track tape. It needs to change and evolve, same as the music does. Today, kids are coming well equipped, well educated and well trained. It is interesting to see where it is going to go in the next 15 to 20 years. There is a lot of content these days. Technology is going to boost the human to increase its game. Everything is so fast,” she explained.

She noted that she is thrilled for the resurgence of vinyl. “Thank God that it is coming back. I love vinyl. I need to pull out my old stack,” she said. “I love the warmth and the analog.”

To learn more about multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Crystal Taliefero, check out her official website, and follow her on Twitter.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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