B i o g r a p h y
Crystal Taliefero (born 1963 in Bourne, Massachusetts) is an American multi-instrumentalistand vocalist. Since 1989 she has been a touring and recording member of the Billy Joel Band.
Taliefero was 11 years old when she started performing at local rhythm and blues clubs in and around Northwest Indiana and metropolitan Chicago with the singing group, Black Mist (later renamed Magic Mist).[ Taliefero attended William A. Wirt High School where she was a top athlete and graduated in 1981. She went on to study music at Indiana University. Taliefero is member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
John Mellencamp discovered Taliefero performing locally and convinced her to leave college in 1986 and join his touring band. She was subsequently invited to join the Billy Joel Band in 1989 when Joel put together a new band to record and tour behind the album Storm Front.
She has been with the Billy Joel Band ever since. Aside from Mellencamp and Joel, Taliefero has performed with a wide range of artists, including Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, Joe Cocker, Tina Arena, Bob Seger, Brooks & Dunn, Richie Sambora, Elton John, Enrique Iglesias, Natalie Merchant, Meat Loaf, Michael McDonald, Bruce Springsteen and The Northern Pikes, Julian Lennon, The Bee Gees, Dolly Parton's "Two Doors Down", Steven Van Zandt, Mick Jones of Foreigner (credited on his solo album released in 1989) and Buddy Guy.
"Crystal and I have worked together for many years. She brings an excitement and fire to the stage like none I've ever seen. All of the artists who have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Crystal will tell you she is a vocal and percussion goddess!!!! Love you, Faith Hill "
In its 2008 article "The 125-Plus People, Places and Things Ruling the Rock & Roll Universe", Rolling Stone magazine declared Taliefero the "Best Secret Weapon". Instruments in Taliefero's percussion kit include bongo, cabasa, chimes, conga, cowbell, güiro, hand percussion, jam block, shaker,tambourine, timbales, triangle, Djembe, and wood block. In addition, Taliefero plays acoustic guitar, sax, keys and all vocals.
"Crystal is without a doubt the most talented multi-instrumentalist and vocal arranger I have ever worked with. I have been honored to have her as a member of my recording and touring group for over 25 years." Billy Joel