It’s rare to find toddlers who declare a career choice, and if you did happen to find one, chances are they would end up taking a different path as they mature. Lucky for blues fans and music lovers everywhere, a woman who graduated from Moraine Valley a little more than 10 years ago never changed her lifelong career choice.

There was never a doubt Palos Hills native Ebonie Taylor would grace the stage and inspire people with her robust voice. “I always knew this was what I wanted to do. When I was little, I would be watching my mom, and I would stand in front of the mirror. I’d hold my hair brush like it was a microphone, and I would pretend to be a singer,” she said.

Ebonie’s childhood was unlike most, as she hails from a family of professional musicians-from her parents to her legendary great aunt, Koko Taylor, known as the Queen of the Blues. So it was a familiar routine for Ebonie to trek around the world with her family while they performed. “As a young child, I traveled with my mom and spent a lot of time back stage and in dressing rooms. Music was something I was always around,” she said.

An upbringing in the industry nurtured Ebonie’s love for music, but her powerful voice established her as a professional musician in her own right. While at Moraine Valley, she took vocal classes and was a member of the Chorale and Chamber Singers. Ebonie’s passion continued at Aquinas College, where she performed in a vocal group and jazz ensemble, and was part of a duet with a friend who played piano.

“I’ve been privileged to work with some of the world’s finest,” Ebonie said. She has toured and shared the stage with R. Kelly, The Contours, Mavis Staples, and Junior Walker and the All Stars, to name a few. She performed live at Radio City Music Hall and for the Black Entertainment Television (BET) 25th Anniversary Show. Locally, she has performed with the UpBeat Band, Chicago R & B Machine and Jazz Vocal Quartet.

While music may be her first love, she was encouraged to always have a “plan B” because of the highs and lows in the industry. Ebonie, who received her degree in international business with a minor in French, also is a licensed esthetician and makeup artist, plus owns a spa. And when her schedule permits, she visits schools to share her passion about performing arts. “It’s important to me that children learn about the arts,” she said.

Her schedule may be a little tight right now as she is currently touring more than 30 cities with The Official Blues Brothers Revue. She said she was excited to learn the Fine and Performing Arts Center at Moraine Valley was one of the tour destinations. “When I found out, I was like-‘hey, I went to that school.’ I loved seeing Moraine Valley again. It looks beautiful-very fancy and state-of-the-art. It was great to come back.”