How The Pocket Queen Went From a Viral Drumming Sensation to Inspirational Music Pioneer

Taylor Gordon, a.k.a. The Pocket Queen, shares her journey from aspiring producer to a global drumming phenomenon.

The past decade has seen Taylor Gordon, a.k.a. The Pocket Queen, evolve into one of the most noticeable drummers in modern pop culture. From a booming following across various social media platforms, performing around the world, selling her pack of break-beats, a popular line of gold-colored sticks sold at Guitar Center, and many other collaborations, she looks at her brand as something that somewhat tumbleweeded and grew into something divine.

“The more that time has gone by, I feel like slowly but surely, God unveils the full vision of this idea that I feel like created,” explained The Pocket Queen. “That was a passion point for me in music and I just chose to take that and make it my staple.” 

A New Orleans native, before graduating from Berklee College of Music and moving to Los Angeles in 2013, The Pocket Queen initially envisioned her career going in a different direction. Her goal was to be a music producer and help break artists. This is where she learned a lesson firsthand: to start with breaking herself. 

“Within that, I actually have a full understanding of all the artists’ struggles that most will go through in trying to find their voice, trying to produce their records and finish things on a deadline,” said The Pocket Queen. “I think that in moving forward with helping others find their voice, identity and their artistry, I’ll be able to understand firsthand what it feels like and the best ways to move through all the different hurdles that this journey can bring you.” 

The Pocket Queen signed to a subsidiary of Atlantic Records from 2014 to 2017, highlighting the misconceptions about signing deals as a producer. Although it seemed glamorous, it involved significant financial burdens and uncertainties. Frustrated with lacking control and recognition, she pursued her career independently, focusing on her vision and passions.

“I ended up with a hard drive full of 500 songs that no one had ever heard of before because the label didn’t believe in them,” The Pocket Queen explained. “Artists may have cut the record, but they didn’t put it on the album. I grew to a place of frustration of feeling like I had turned my career and my passion into something that I was gambling with. I had just relied on everyone to be on me which I became very tired of and decided to bet on myself.” 

The Pocket Queen used to post videos of performing regularly on YouTube but stopped as music production. Once out of her label situation, she intentionally decided to resurface through social media. Ironically, those videos had a high production value, including lights, high-end cameras, and smoke machines. However, the viral video was casual about The Pocket Queen drumming to Morris Day & The Time classic “777-9311.”

“I posted that video thinking that only my friends would see it,” said The Pocket Queen. “Then I woke up the next morning and just saw that it was getting shared everywhere. I think it was due to Bootsy Collins, who I credit with being the first person to make me go viral. That’s when I started being more consistent and doing things that I was passionate about.”

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That doesn’t even count various collaborations from Yaahn Hunter and, most recently, Willow Smith. A fan of the young pop star turned experimental artist before linking up with her through producer Chris Greatti. The Pocket Queen eventually played drums on Willow’s recently released Empathogen album. Willow later invited her to perform live on her standout NPR Tiny Desk performance, among others, an offer she eagerly accepted. The Pocket Queen deeply respects Willow's innovative approach and the inspiration she provides to the music community.

“I think it’s incredible the amount of risk that Willow is taking with this music that she’s doing in addition to the amount of people that she inspires and empowers,” The Pocket Queen said. “Especially in the music community; letting us know that our voices are valid.” 

The Pocket Queen has come a long way from growing up in a musical household despite her immediate family members being in the medical field. On weekends, her dad would play records by artists like Darryl Coley, The Doobie Brothers, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Inspired by this, she would play along with makeshift drumsticks, prompting her family to buy her a toy drum set. 

She honed her skills playing drums at her local church, which influenced her style with elements of jazz, soul, and R&B. Church also taught her the importance of serving through music rather than seeking the spotlight. This service mindset has been central to her approach to music ever since. It makes sense for her next big EP release to be through her band, The Royal Flush

“This EP is a full band project that has everything from strings, horns and the whole concept is for everything to be live and to emulate a time in music where things were real and things were positive,” explained The Pocket Queen. “I think it was also important for me to put out positive messages to people, especially in these last four years with a lot of darkness and we’re still dealing with a lot of darkness going on in the world. I believe my true marker and one of my biggest purposes in the world is joy.” 

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