Taylor Greenshields is among the students who followed the noble advice of high school counselors everywhere: Pursue a profession that brings you the most joy, not necessarily the most money.
A drummer and lover of music since the eight of 8, the Ypsilanti resident and 2012 graduate of Canton High School manufactures endorphins while managing a comfortable (and high-tech) recording space for aspiring musicians in his basement music studio.
It’s a mini-Motown-esque space, if you will, for people who yearn to grow their music-fueled ambitions.
During the summer months, the always-hustling owner of Fundamental Sound Co. devotes a lot of his time to live sound production, mixing and mastering, and sound design for outdoor concerts, including the Fun Fest, a popular music festival he founded three years ago at Ypsilanti’s Frog Island Park.
Greenshields is living the dream — and the people he helps along his journey are reaping benefits from his harmonious efforts.
“I was in a few bands in high school, one of which hired a recording studio to help us record an album,” Greenshields reflected. “Well, we found out pretty quickly that the owner of the studio had no personal touch and was basically in it for the money. He was a complete (jerk).
“That experience inspired me to set a goal to one day open a recording studio for up-and-coming musicians that had the exact opposite approach this guy had. I wanted to give artists a place where they could feel comfortable and reach their full potential.”
Greenshields opened a studio that delivered all of his goals — Fundamental Sound Co. — in 2018, but he had to overcome a bout of adversity to make his vision happen.
Not long after he started his post-high school education career at Schoolcraft College in 2012, his father Tom passed away.
“My dad ran a pretty successful landscaping business, so when he passed away I ran it for five years with my mom,” Greenshields reflected. “My dad was an amazing entrepreneur; I learned a lot from him.
“He basically started his company with a lawnmower and a weed-whip from the back of a hatch-back. His business performed well because of the personal touch he gave his clients. He didn’t just show up and landscape yards; he talked to his customers and became their friends.”
Embracing his ambition
Greenshields never relinquished his musical ambitions while serving as the hands-on engine of Greenshields Landscaping.
“I got my feet wet in audio engineering during my time at Schoolcraft and it was something I really enjoyed,” he said. “After my dad passed away, I started buying audio equipment. I basically took over my mom’s garage with the equipment and figured out how to use it.
“When I wasn’t doing landscaping, I would record jam sessions for my friends’ bands. In the beginning, I didn’t really know what I was doing, but the more I worked at it, the better I got.”
Greenshields knows what he’s doing now. He estimated close to 200 songs that have been produced in his home studio have been featured on the widely-popular music app Spotify.
“The studio has a nice, comforting vibe so the musicians I work with can make their magic,” Greenshields said. “I love what I’m doing. I’m a giant nerd as well, so I get a buzz off of the engineering part of it.”
The Fun Fest has evolved into a must-attend event for hundreds of southeast-Michigan music fans who have congregated at Frog Island Park the past three summers for a smorgasbord of music entrees that ranges from heavy metal to jazz and soul.
“It’s a rush knowing I’m organizing an event where a lot of people are having a good time,” he said. “We’re adding something every year. We have bounce houses for the kids, food trucks and vendors this year, so we really want it to be a family-oriented event.
Heading west … at least temporarily
Greenshields said there’s a good chance he will be heading to Los Angeles for a few months this year once the Michigan weather takes a turn for the tundra.
“I have some friends out there who want me to check it out and see what kind of music-production opportunities present themselves to me,” he said.
Greenshields said he has no plans to leave the music industry, which has provided him with an everyday adrenaline rush.
“I love what I’m doing,” he said. “I’m always looking to upgrade my equipment, get more technology and work with more bands.
“I’m excited to see where this goes.”
Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or firstname.lastname@example.org.