One Nerd + One Violin = Endless Possibilities: An Introduction to the Music Videos of Taylor Davis

Sometimes, it’s hard not to get caught up in the music of our favorite geeky properties. All I need to hear are the first few notes of “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter, the wolf-like howl in the opening credits to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or pretty much anything from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and I am there, caught up in a swirl of memories and emotions. And I know I’m not alone. Strong soundtracks and theme songs basically serve as a nostalgia bullet, instantly reminding people of a movie, television show, or video game they loved in a matter of seconds.

Which is something that nerdy violinist Taylor Davis probably knows very well.

Although she began playing at the age of eight, Taylor Davis didn’t intend to become a professional violinist. It isn’t seen as the most viable profession, after all. After graduating from college with a music minor, Davis had hoped to become a composer. But when those plans fell through, she found herself turning to Youtube as a way to keep music in her life. And she did this through cover songs of popular themes from movies and video games. Over time, these videos started to attract a lot of eyeballs, inspiring Davis to quit her day job and pursue music full time. She released her first album, the cover album Gaming Fantasy, in 2012. The track lists contains themes to video games and anime, such as Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, and Naruto.

In the years since, Davis’s offerings as a musician have grown by leaps and bounds. Her Youtube channel now has (as of the writing of this column) two million-plus subscribers, and over three hundred million views. She has released nine albums, including five cover albums, two Christmas albums, and two albums of entirely original works. Her videos have gone from home movies, to high quality productions shot in exciting locations, and sometimes in full cosplay. During this time, she has covered pretty much everything under the sun — including themes from movies like Star Wars and Harry Potter, television shows like Game of Thrones and Stranger Things, anime themes from shows like Fairy Tail and Yuri On Ice, and video games like The Legend of Zelda and Undertale.

Given the amount of content available, it can be a little difficult to figure out where to start. So to make things a little easier, I’ve tasked myself with picking a single favorite video to highlight in the following categories: movies, video games, anime, television shows, and original works. In my write up below, I do end up touching on several more videos, which you can watch by following the links, or by checking out this playlist that I have assembled on Youtube.

Without further ado, let’s get to the good stuff.

Movies: “Star Wars Medley” 

Where do I start with Taylor Davis’s wonderful movie songs? Would it be her charming cover of “Concerning Hobbits” from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring? Her lantern-lit take on “Hedwig’s Theme” from the Harry Potter films? Or perhaps her most popular video of all, “He’s a Pirate” the memorable theme song to Pirates of the Caribbean? And while these are all great options, I feel like nothing can beat her appropriately light side versus dark side take on the music of Star Wars. The energetic video, which features Taylor in not one but two fabulous cosplay outfits, is such a blast to experience. I never grow tired of if no matter how many times I watch it.

Video Games: “Song of Time and Song of Storms” from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

While Davis’s most popular video is movie-themed, her most talked about album is all about video games. Melodies of Hyrule: Music From the Legend of Zelda is a 16-track tribute to the popular Nintendo franchise, and mostly focuses on the music from Ocarina of Time. This is a smart move, considering the popularity of the game, but also a tricky one, given that the songs are often pretty short. But that’s what makes Melodies of Hyrule so special, how Davis is able to expand on these simple themes to create moving and exciting tracks. Take “Song of Times and Song of Storms” (above). Here Davis, dressed as the mysterious Shiek, melds together two fabulous Ocarina-songs to make one really strong track.

Zelda fans should also check out her fun cover on the catchy “Gerudo Valley,” (complete with Epona and many other references to the game), as well as her more dramatic take on “Bolero of Fire.” Davis has also tackled plenty of non-Zelda video game tracks as well. Don’t miss the exciting “Dr. Wiley’s Castle” from Mega-Man 2, or “Megalovania” from Undertale, where she plays a cool skull-shaped violin.

Anime: “Sadness and Sorrow” from Naruto

I must admit, I am not a huge fan of Taylor Davis’s first album, which I feel lacks the polish of her latter efforts. But damn, there’s just something so breathtakingly beautiful about her version of “Sadness and Sorrow” from Naruto. Its simple video, shot in black and white, manages to capture the emotion of the song wonderfully, taking me back to watching episode after episode of the anime when I was still in college.

Anime fans should also check out her pulse-pounding take on “Guren no Yumiya” the first opening theme to the highly popular Attack on Titan, as well as her cheerful cover of “History Maker” from Yuri on Ice.

Television: “The Rains of Castamere and A Lannister Always Pays His Debts” from Game of Thrones

Nowadays, high-quality television shows are a necessary part of every geeks’ media diet. And Davis clearly knows what the fan favorite is: Game of Thrones. Take a look at her take on “The Rains of Castamere and A Lannister Always Plays his Debts.” Here, Davis uses multiple takes of her on violin to capture the melancholy feeling of the song. This feeling is something that Taylor Davis would embrace again in another memorable Game of Thrones song, “Light of the Seven.”

Originals: “Wilderness”

It may seen strange, having written an entire column about how much I enjoy Taylor Davis’s cover songs, but I actually find that I usually like her originals even more. This is doubly true when she takes time to do videos for them, given that they often maintain the nerdy-aspects of her cover songs. Take the above track, “Wilderness” off of her second album, Odyssey. I love how the song starts out so calm, but becomes more energetic and complex as it continues. The beautiful, nature-set video, which reminds me of her cover of “Concerning Hobbits,” captures this really well. Also from Odyssey is the playful “Starfire,” which features Davis as a otherworldly creature covered in glow in the dark blue body paint, complete with a matching violin. Her first album (simply titled Taylor Davis) has plenty of tracks worth checking out as well. I’d recommend taking a look at her video for “Nebulous,” where her soaring playing transports Davis from a street corner, a forest setting, and a field, all the way to the stars. And when you’re done with that, check out “Reflections,” where Davis uses mirrors to play along with alternate version of herself.

Taylor Davis is a talented individual who manages to meld her love for music and her love for nerd culture in fun and exciting ways.  If you’ve ever found yourself falling in love with a theme song, or a melody from a movie, video game, anime, or television show, then I’d recommend checking out her work, whether it be on her Youtube channel, or her page on spotify. Just pick your favorite, sit back, and let Taylor Davis transport you to back to one of your favorite stories.

Biographical information taken from this interview at musicnotes.com.

2 Comments

  • Shara White December 28, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Color me intrigued! I’ll have to check out her stuff, especially since I’m a fan of Lindsey Stirling. It’s awesome that there’s more than one geektastic violinist out there!

    Reply

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