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To be perfectly honest, I wasn't ready for it when I started in the States.I was good enough at writing songs, but I wasn't good enough at being on stage." Any doubts that Taylor, 29, is still not "good enough" are quickly dispelled when he starts playing a set of his acoustic songs in a West End club to the toughest audience in the world: a crowd of invited media and industry tastemakers out on their lunch break.
I refer to James Taylor, her ex-husband and fellow singer-songwriter and guitarist.
Fellow legend, too, for the couple were rock nobility who used to hang out with film stars and presidents, who topped the charts, who appeared together on the cover of Rolling Stone. It now has a recording studio, library, tennis court and a 45ft-tall watchtower that you reach by a nautical-style spiral staircase.
"I also got into drugs real heavy when I was a kid," he says. I know those stories from him, and he doesn't need me reading those books." Now the combination of discipline and his charmed musical upbringing are beginning to pay off.
"I declare for excess, I really do, which I inherited from my old man probably as much as anywhere else." Was it a painful example for him to read some of the more lurid accounts of his father's drug-taking exploits? "It's unbelievably hard to get a foothold in this business, no matter where you come from," he says.
He is in town to promote a new album, Another Run around the Sun, his third all told, but the first to be released in Britain.