Double Life: From Center Stage to Flight Deck

The Houston Grand Opera, New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Opéra national de Paris and the cockpit of an Embraer 175 (E175) – what do all of these places have in common? They’ve all seen the performances of Envoy First Officer Taylor Rawley.

Like many who have made a career out of flying planes at Envoy, Taylor grew up in a family of aviators. His grandfather flew for the U.S. Coast Guard during the Korean War before returning home to work in corporate aviation and to teach Taylor’s father, who was just a high school student at the time, how to fly planes. So naturally, when Taylor’s love of aviation started showing, his father and grandfather were quick to show him the ropes.

Taylor and his father flying a small aircraft. (Photo provided by Taylor Rawley)
Taylor and his father flying a small aircraft. (Photo provided by Taylor Rawley)

“When I started to show an interest in flying around the age of ten, my dad strongly encouraged me to take lessons with my grandpa,” said Taylor. “I eventually got signed off by him when I was in grad school to take my Private Pilot License (PPL) exams.”

Flying isn’t the only thing Taylor came to love at an early age. When he was in elementary school, his music teacher noticed his love of singing and suggested he strengthen that love by taking voice lessons. Taylor spent the rest of his time in elementary school, and eventually middle school, singing in community theaters and setting his sights on bigger stages.

“I auditioned on a whim in seventh grade for a role in Houston Grand Opera’s production of Boris Godunov, a heavy, history drama sung entirely in Russian,” recalled Taylor. “I landed the role, and at age 12 I made my professional debut as Fyodor Godunov, the son of the titular character.”

Taylor performing on multiple stages. (Photos provided by Taylor Rawley)
Taylor performing on multiple stages. (Photos provided by Taylor Rawley)

From that moment forward, Taylor’s pursuit of a life filled with music took off. He studied classical voice and earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in music from Carnegie Mellon University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. When he graduated, he moved to Graz, Austria, to perform on a festival contract, then came back to the U.S. to perform in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The sweet sounds of the skies

Despite the passion he held with his career in music, Taylor couldn’t get aviation off his mind and spent every free weekend he had flying a plane, watching them from the ground or volunteering at his local airport information desk.

“I realized that I just couldn’t get enough of aviation,” said Taylor. “When an opportunity to get my Certified Flight Instructor license (CFI) presented itself, I knew I had to take it.”

In April 2019, Taylor refocused his career path to become an Envoy Cadet, and officially started as an Envoy First Officer in August 2021. He was drawn to Envoy not only by the company culture, but by our bases, because they allowed him to continue pursuing his artistic endeavors without giving up his seat in the cockpit.

“Music and flying are nearly identical in my mind. The simulators are your rehearsal and every flight is a performance,” said Taylor. “Aviation was always a big part of my family when I was growing up, but neither my dad nor my grandpa ever had the opportunity to fly for an airline, so getting to carry on that legacy is really special to me.”

Taylor is living proof that you can be passionate about more than one thing, and it’s never too late – or too early – to start pursuing your interests. Way to go, Taylor!

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