New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

This article is from our magazine. To view it in its original format, click here

Taylor Tote: "Fighter"

By Gary Wien

originally published: 10/24/2016

Taylor Tote: "Fighter"

Taylor Tote is no stranger to good causes, often lending support to concerts for organizations like Light of Day, Holiday Express, and Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer.  She recently performed in Washington, D.C. at Curefest for Childhood Cancer where she debuted a new song called “Fighter.”

“Fighter” is a very special song, written and performed by Taylor, a 6-year-old cancer survivor named Natalie Grace and her 9-year-old sister Hannah Rose.  She is releasing the single with a full band version featuring a choir of children currently fighting cancer or cancer survivors themselves.  100% of all proceeds from the single will go towards childhood cancer research.

New Jersey Stage spoke with Taylor about her new song and its upcoming video, which will premiere in November.

Cancer is always devastating, but it’s heartbreaking when it happens to kids.  How and when did you first get involved with trying to bring an end to childhood cancer?

I was first exposed to childhood cancer when one of my sister’s friends, Hannah Duffy, was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. I remember the community coming together for her with fundraisers, 5k runs, and other ways to raise awareness. She unfortunately passed away in 2013 and I remember being so upset. So upset for her, her family, her friends, and my sisters.

The article continues after this ad


My sisters were only 13 and 11 at the time and I didn’t know how they would deal with one of their peers passing away so young. The night after Hannah’s passing, I had performed at a cancer benefit for a little two year-old girl, Molly. Her favorite song was “Roar” by Katy Perry and we had to perform it to her over FaceTime since her and her family were at a children’s hospital in Tennessee. I broke down halfway through the song because looking at her made me think, “This is just not fair. Why?” Then, I didn’t know the statistics and facts about pediatric cancer but something about Hannah and that little girl stuck with me. 

Last year when I was introduced to Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer, that’s when I knew I wanted to help try to bring an end to childhood cancer.

How did you first meet Natalie Grace?

In 2015 Hannah Duffy’s mom, Sue, introduced me to her friend, Andrea Verdone Gorsegner, who needed entertainment for fundraiser.  I’m forever grateful for this introduction. My mom and I met Andrea’s family at their house and we all had this instant connection. Her girls, Natalie Grace, 5 year old cancer survivor and 8 year old, Hannah Rose, ran into my arms and they were so excited to meet me. We all talked for hours. When Andrea was telling us about Natalie and her cancer (high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia), it was heartbreaking. I looked at this sweet little girl sitting on my lap and felt like I’ve known her forever. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like without her and I had just met her! She was playing with me, laughing with me, it was a connection that was indescribable but strong. And her sister, Hannah Rose. What an incredible little girl as well. Shaved her head three times in the past three years to raise awareness for kids! They were both so inspiring to me.

When Andrea was telling us the hard facts about pediatric cancer, we could not believe it.   Because childhood cancer is considered to be rare (even through it’s the number one disease killer of our children), it only receives 4% of the National Cancer Institutes (NCI) annual budget.  In fact in the past 3 years, there’s only been three new drugs developed. There’s so many more harsh truths but within a second of walking in their house, I was already in.

What was it like writing a song like that with an actual cancer survivor?

I was babysitting the girls one day and we didn’t have anything to do. I knew they liked music and to be honest with you, I was going through a huge writers block. I had no intentions of writing a song like this, I just knew that kids always said whatever came to mind and they didn’t second guess it like I often do. So I said, “Hey girls, why don’t we write a song?” They were so excited and totally in. So I asked them what they wanted the song to be like. Happy, sad, slow, fast, etc. They said they wanted a song that started soft and sad but got bigger and happy as it went on. So okay, hopeful. They started forming sentences, humming things and I was putting it more into a format that worked and I knew within the first three lines where it was going. Writing that with a young girl who survived a hard battle and her older sister who witnessed it was inspiring. Hannah really felt Natalie’s pain. Hannah also had to witness young girls passing away and had to deal with the inconsistency of seeing her parents and not seeing her parents because they were rushing Natalie to the hospital. So it makes the song very real having two girls who witnessed cancer so closely.

You recently performed at CureFest and played “Fighter” there.  What was that experience like?

Performing at CureFest was awesome. The whole experience is very humbling. I saw and met so many families who went through something I couldn’t even imagine. I watched childhood cancer survivors speak about how they feel they weren’t supposed to die because they have such an important message to share and they don’t want to waste a moment. It was incredible to perform there but it was so much bigger than me. I hope my song inspired the people there like they did to me.

How important is it for you to be able to use your music to raise awareness and donations for causes like this?

This is all I’ve ever wanted. I’ve always wanted to use music to change millions people’s lives and I feel like I’m finally able to do that. I’ve found a cause very near to my heart and that means so much to me and being able to incorporate my music into that is incredible.

What can you tell us about the video?

I don’t want to tell you too much without giving it away! But yes, they are absolutely a part of it!  The video includes 20+ children from the tri-state area that have either survived cancer or are currently fighting it.  These children will steal your heart.  Local fire fighters also appear in the video.  It’s absolutely incredible.  The video will be released this month and I can’t wait.   Directed and produced by Right Stuff Studios, Peter Chamalian, Mike Hamlet, Kostas Lymperopoulos, along with Andrea all did an incredible job capturing the emotion that comes with pediatric cancer.

Finally, tell me about your show in November.    

I’m really excited to headline The Asbury Hotel in the concert hall.  During the summer I spent a fair amount of time on the road with my band and we are really excited to be back in Asbury Park for a special full band performance.  We have two great openers that we are really excited about, one of who I met recently while playing at the LadyBug Festival in Delaware and the other who you will recognize from the Jersey Shore scene.  Advance tickets are available online for $12 (plus fee) or $18 the night of the show at the door.

Taylor Tote: "Fighter"Friday, November 18

An Evening With Taylor Tote

Asbury Hotel’s Concert Hall

Asbury Park, NJ

Doors at 7:00pm

For more by this author, click here

Light of Day's Main Event To Be Broadcast Live at McLoone's Supper Club
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- If you couldn't get tickets for the fabled "main event" of the 2019 Light of Day Winterfest, you have another chance see the show.  For the first time in the 19-year history of the festival, the "main event", the star-studded “Bob’s Birthday Bash” on January 19th (a show that has long sold out), will be broadcast live via fiber optic cable at McLoone's Supper Club in Asbury Park.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts To Hold Winter Open House On January 27
(BERKELEY HEIGHTS) -- Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) will host a Winter Open House on Sunday, January 27 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The free event is open to the public and will be held at the Performing Arts School (PAS) located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights.
Billy Idol and Steve Stevens To Perform At Count Basie Center For The Arts
(RED BANK, NJ) -- Billy Idol and Steve Stevens, one of rock’s most iconic and enduring duos, will hit the road this March for their first ever tour performing as a duo: Turned On, Tuned In and Unplugged. The Billy Idol/Steve Stevens tour comes to The Count Basie Center for the Arts on Thursday, April 4th.
McDonald's Gospelfest To Celebrate The Life of Aretha Franklin With Return to Prudential Center
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The 37th Annual McDonald’s Gospelfest returns to the Prudential Center on Saturday, May 11 for the gospel event of the year. This year's event will honor and celebrate the life and legacy of the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin with an All-Star cast. The 5:00pm to 7:00pm portion of the evening will feature a rising stars competition for all ages and cultures in categories including Soloists, Choirs, Praise Dancers, Singing Groups, Gospel Comedians, Gospel Poets and Gospel Rappers. The gospel concert, beginning at 7:00pm, will feature some of the most renowned gospel artists in music history with the goal of spreading love, peace and joy to all races, nationalities and beliefs.
Bickford Theatre Presents Herb Gardner's Groundhog Jam
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- The great Groundhog Jam has a long history of prying jazz fans out of their warm burrows and into the chill of February weather in order to welcome the advent of spring.  The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum continues a tradition of hosting this event on Monday, February 4 at 7:30pm. Herb Gardner, who plays both trombone and piano, is assembling a stellar group of musicians from the New York, New Jersey, and New England areas including: Fred Vigorito on cornet, Joe Licari on clarinet, James Chirilloon guitar, Mike Weatherly on bass and Robbie Scott on drums.  Daughters Abbie and Sarah Gardner will be handling the vocals and guitar.

Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes At Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme
This coming Sunday, January 20, Scott Wolfson and his band will be serving up their unique blend of Americana at the Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme series at Investors Bank Theater in Succasunna, New Jersey. The band – Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes – formed in Jersey City in 2011, and, even though the members have migrated in various directions since then, they still consider themselves to be a Jersey City band.
"He Totally Wowed Us!" John Oates LIVE! at SOPAC
It’s brisk for an evening walk on South Orange Ave. in South Orange, NJ, this Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 evening, but it’s a good road to follow as it leads us directly to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) for a special performance by singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Oates and his backup group, The Good Road Band.
“Tons of Fun!” The Glenn Miller Orchestra LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Although Friday, December 21, 2018 is the shortest day of the year, the audience of big band music lovers here at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts is hoping for a long evening of classic swing and holiday tunes performed by the incomparable Glenn Miller Orchestra!
Mike Davis and The New Wonders
Mike Davis traces his love for the trumpet back to a Disney movie. He grew up in a musical family, with both his parents playing strings in the Seattle Symphony. But Davis wanted an instrument of his own. Then, at age 9, he saw “The Aristocats,” the animated film about a bunch of French felines — including a group of jazz-playing alley cats.
Ana Gasteyer's "Holiday Tipple" LIVE! at the Grunin Center
The Grunin Center stage in Toms River, NJ is set this Saturday, December 15, 2018 with drums, a grand piano, a guitar, an acoustic bass, and various microphones for vocals. A stool and several microphone stands are bedazzled with colorful garlands of shiny red, gold, and green, and wrapped gifts are strewn on stage among the instruments. Projected white snowflakes adorn the walls, and Christmas music plays as patrons enter the theater to put everyone in the mood for tonight’s holiday show — Ana Gastayer’s Holiday Tipple!

Event calendar
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019


Open Mic Night! @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 7:30pm


"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm


AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

View all events


For more on our awards, click here

New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.