“Do What You Want To”

By JOE SUTTER

jsutter@messengernews.net

For her 15th birthday, Aubrey Salgren got to meet one of her favorite new stars, Taylor Mathews, after a concert. Her mother, Kathy Salgren, knew it would be hard to top that for her 16th.

Neither had expected Mathews to set up a private concert just for her. But Sunday evening, Aubrey Salgren and a few of her friends and family gathered at the Bob Heun Shelter House at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park to meet the singer and enjoy a personalized performance.

A finalist on Season 5 of America’s Got Talent in 2010, Mathews has been on tour since January, giving private shows to thank supporters who helped him raise funds for his first full album, “Do What You Want To,” through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.

“I don’t have a label,” Mathews said. “We’re fully supported by the fans. We just did a Kickstarter record; we raised $26,000 to record the record. Not a lot of people get that opportunity.

“So this tour is pretty much one big hug of thank-you to all the people that supported it. … I just wanted to reach out and say thanks to the people who have been most supportive of what I’m doing.”

Aubrey Salgren was one of the 255 people who helped raise that amount, Mathews said.

Aubrey saw Mathews open for R5 last year, Kathy Salgren said.

“We were there early,” she said. “We were shopping on the main strip. All of a sudden she stopped and saw this guy coming, and she was like, ‘Hi Taylor.’ He was surprised someone had recognized him.”

One of the more expensive fundraising packages, which the Salgrens did not purchase, included a private concert. But Aubrey received an email before Christmas setting up a concert anyway.

“I said you email him back, and say you may have gotten the email by accident,” Kathy Salgren said. “(His manager) Zuri emailed her back and said ‘No, we want to do a concert for you.'”

Every concert is different on this tour, Mathews said. Some performances have been in fans’ homes. Mathews said he loves the intimate nature of this tour.

“I’ve had more success in (Canada) than anywhere else. And the first day we got to Montreal on the last tour, there were like 900 people singing along to my song,” he said. “But within that – I loved having that opportunity. I think it was awesome. I don’t know any of them. They are just a lot of people singing words in a building.”

Instead, the smaller concerts let Mathews become part of a family, for just a little while, and see what his music means to the fans.

“A couple weeks ago in Ohio one of the fans’ mothers died. They ended up listening to, there’s a song called ‘Angel’, it’s the last track on the record. It’s about a fear of losing my parents,” he said. “So she listened to that song for the last three weeks, and it just seemed really comforting to her. It means a lot to get to hear that story.”

Mathews said his album, “Do what you want to,” is about following your dreams, as he lives out his dream of performing.

“There’s a lot of people who like to tear you down, not only in the music industry but in life,” he said. “There are a lot of people who have a lot of negativity surrounding them.”

Mathews told the young women at his concert that even when you don’t know what the future will hold, but you have to have faith and try anyway.

That’s the theme of this tour.

“We’re making it up as we go,” he said.