The first thing one notices when speaking with Lisa Taylor is her authenticity. She speaks just as she writes: straight from the heart.

“Most of my inspiration is real life,” she says. “And I’m a huge romantic.”

Accompanied by her band SoulCity—Sam Nilsson on guitar, Dave Roda on drums, Eric Rowe on keys and her husband, Nat Shuirman, on bass—Taylor’s mix of neo-soul is a rich blend of baby-making smooth jams and booty-shaking R&B.

Born in California, the preschool-teacher-by-day spent most of her life living in Hawaii as one of five adopted children in a household filled with every type of music from jazz to Joplin to Chopin. At the age of 10 she began performing in pageants and at the mall—“like any good ’80s kid,” she says.

“I’m really grateful to have a family that was always supportive and never tried to encourage me to do anything else,” Taylor says. “They wanted me to follow my passion and do what I love.”

As she grew older she launched a career performing around Hawaii along with regularly performing in Japan, Korea and Singapore. In 2005, Taylor decided it was time to take a chance and break out of her comfort zone, and took her career to the mainland with a move to Santa Cruz. Since then she has embarked on a new journey, teaming up with producer Rocking Chair Frank to write her own material. In 2010, she released her debut, LT, followed by Let Love Shine in 2013. Both albums flow through the emotional rollercoaster of life while taking time for reflection on one’s blessings. Last year, she released, “Intuition,” the title track from her forthcoming EP, to be released later this year.

Along with her soul music, Taylor has also been hard at work on several side projects including two deep house singles with Japanese producer Hideo Kobayashi; a single with South African producer Kaygee Pitsong; and another single with London-based DJ Niceness.

“I’m trying to dive into more storytelling,” says Taylor. “Nothing preachy, just deeper.”

INFO: 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117.

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