Redditch School Dedication Speech from John Taylor

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Hello everyone, my name is John Taylor and I am very happy to be here today, to help you celebrate the opening of this newly refurbished, and quite wonderful music suite, here at the Trinity High School in Redditch. I was a student at this school, from 1971 to 77, which means I left over thirty years ago, which makes me sound so old I would rather not think about it.

I have been very fortunate to have had a super-successful career in the music business, and that is why I have been invited here today. In the 1980’s my band Duran Duran became hugely famous, and we sold millions of records and got to tour the world. I could not have achieved that without the foundation and confidence I got from my education here at this school, when it was then known as the County High School.

Even more amazingly I have been able to maintain a career in music, to continue making recordings and tour the world successfully, up until now. This year we have performed in Australia and South America, North America and Europe. We got to play Hyde Park in London the opening night of the Olympic Games. It was a fantastic career high point.

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure I need to make an admittance to all you music students: I cannot read or write music. And I was thrown out of my high school music class for singing out of tune. Then again- my music teacher was an imperious fellow named Frederick Harvey Morris, who ruled the music room with a baton of iron and great strictness- not at all like Claire Lyons! Fun was not on the agenda here in the ‘70’s.

Nonetheless, when my sixth-form careers officer asked what my plans were for after I had left school, I told him I wanted to be a pop star. A pop star then, I should say, was defined as someone who wrote and performed music for a living, did not have to wear a suit and tie, and got to see the world, usually from the vantage point of a first class seat! Not too different to now. The careers officers response was immediate; ‘of course you do, don’t we all, but what are you actually going to do?’

My journey started with a dream, when I was a student here, having an ear and an eye for new and interesting music.
I began to see a possible direction for my life to take. My confidence gave birth to a belief, something along the lines of ‘…why not me?’ as opposed to what is heard more often, ‘Why me?’ At sometime around about your age I connected with a passion- Something I felt deeply about, and once I realized that music was moving me like nothing else, I began to move towards it- just as you all are doing.

I consider myself extremely fortunate. I have been lucky to make the right connections and meet the right like-minded friends and workmates that have shared my dreams and ambitions. Together we make tremendous energy. And it’s a lot more fun. I was not a good athlete at school - but have come to appreciate that life is a team sport. I don’t believe in solo acts.

Thank you Jayne and Marion, for inviting me here today. This school has had a fantastic run of success recently. If it was in the pop charts it would be a number One. And that is because the people that are running it, like Jayne and Marion and Claire are passionate about their ideas and are believers in possibility. And this school is Number One also.. because of you guys, because you are responding to the ideas being provided for you in a smart and clever way.

For me, passion is the most important asset a person can have. To work with feeling for something. To care. That’s why I think it is most important that we connect with what it is we want to do- not someone else’s idea of what we should be doing with our time and our lives. Sometimes people are old and grey before they realize they have been following their parents dream, not theirs- and they wonder why they are so unhappy.

Find your passion and you will find happiness, because there is nothing more important in the adult world than enjoying your work. That has been my experience. And if you enjoy your work you will find work, because you will be appreciated wherever you go.

I have a feeling this building is going to give birth to some fantastic sounds and ideas. It’s here for you. Take advantage of it!

John Taylor, September 18, 2012