Tyler, I really loved the new single ‘North Star’ I think it’s just a brilliant, brilliant pop song. I know you’ve been making music for quite a long time, so I wonder if you can chat me through your journey as an artist?
Yeah, I started writing music basically when I started learning how to play music around the age of 12/13 years old. My first instrument was actually the drums, and then guitar, and I started learning piano as well, so I learned all of these instruments within a year or two. Not at a Jimi Hendrix guitar level, or a Travis Barker drum level, but just the foundation of these instruments which was enough for me to then write a song. Or say, ‘let me make this beat’. Which is what I did. I started writing songs – one song a day, two songs a day – just going through the motions of being in my youth and into a teenager. There’s a lot of feelings at that age right?! I was fortunate enough to have this skill and this talent, to be able to put all those feelings into songwriting. It was always just an outlet and escape from reality for me.
At that point, my main focus was actually that I wanted to become a professional footballer. That was where my head was – it’s funny, now that I’m doing music professionally, my dream of becoming a footballer has switched into my outlet. When I need that escape, I go play football. But the journey’s been incredible – from playing in my house in a bathroom because the acoustics were good… to playing on stage in front of 20,000 people. That journey has been fun to reflect on and it’s made me very proud of where I am right now. I’m always setting new goals for myself, but that’s not to discredit the journey that has led me thus far.
“the journey’s been incredible – from playing in my house in a bathroom because the acoustics were good… to playing on stage in front of 20,000 people. That journey has been fun to reflect on”
Yeah, can I ask – both of those careers, whether it was being a footballer or a musician, they’re both dreams, you know – you have to be a big thinker to go after those. Do you think you are naturally that way and did you feel encouraged to pursue those ambitions?
I did feel encouraged, you know my mom was my biggest support. As well as my friends – looking back now, the songs that I was making then, they were bad. I’m not gonna lie, they were pretty bad. But my friends and my family were like, “yeah, that’s awesome! Keep going!”.
I think one of the hardest things to do in life in general, not just in the music industry, is to believe in yourself. So having that belief system come from somewhere else is so important, because, even today there’s fear and there’s self doubt. It depends on the mindset of the day because you pour your heart and your soul into music and you believe in it, but if no one else does, it makes you doubt yourself and think ‘oh shoot, maybe that wasn’t good… maybe i’m not as good as I am.’ It’s just a vicious cycle, but if you have that belief system from your friends and your family and your close loved ones, it makes it a lot easier to get through whatever you’re feeling and pursue your passion.
“I think one of the hardest things to do in life in general, not just in the music industry, is to believe in yourself.”
For sure! It’s a constant challenge. In terms of the process to getting to where you are now as an artist with a team and a label, how did you actually start making those connections? How did you take it beyond those initial moments of Tyler working on his music with his friends and family supporting him, to being the artist that you are now?
I actually was in University at the time on a soccer scholarship. And my roommate told me about a competition online. I submitted a few cover songs and I ended up winning the whole thing within Canada. It was put on by Much Music which is like MTV in Canada. Through that I met Sony Music, and that kind of got the conversations going of, you know, ‘let’s get you into some professional writing sessions’ (not.. not in your bathroom but, in a studio). I co-wrote my first ever professional recording called ‘Kiss Goodnight’ and that went platinum shortly after the release and that’s the song that kickstarted my entire career. With that just came more connections, networking parties and all that. You do the work and you smile, and you get to know people and create the relationships. That’s kind of how that all came about.
Going platinum in your first release is quite a feat! Did that feel surreal?
It was pretty surreal. I think… it went platinum and then we moved on to the next song and then the first album came out and it wasn’t until after the first album, probably a year and a half later, I was like holy sh*t.. like what just happened. I was literally just studying in University and now I’ve got a platinum record and an album out under a major label. Like, cliche but, pinch me I must be dreaming type feeling. It was awesome to reflect on that and even still to reflect on that is pretty wild.
Yeah. You’ve also toured with some pretty remarkable artists. Have you learned things from being around those artists that you’ve been able to use?
Yeah, I’ve learned a few things. So one of the most memorable tours that I was on was with Selena Gomez. And chatting with her and seeing her perform every night, the biggest takeaway I got was how thankful she was for the support from her fans. Which is so true. It seems obvious but, once you really think about it, without the support from the people who listen to the music and stream, watch the videos, follow you on social media… you wouldn’t be where you are. That is the lifeline and that made so much sense to me – I knew it at the time, but it just really emphasised it, so I always work to make sure my fans and the people that support me know that I’m super grateful and there’s an unconditional love between me and them. They understand me as a person and as an artist, which is all you can hope for as a musician.
Yeah I read a really great book actually on Lady Gaga and her relationship with her fans a while ago. How do you work with that relationship, do you communicate with them on social media etc?
Oh yeah absolutely, we’re so accessible as artists now, and I think it’s only to our benefit to build the platform and to reach new fans in different territories. It’s so important for me to stay connected to fans because, like I said that is the lifeline of the career. So I comment I follow back and it’s genuine – there is a business side to the music industry which everyone understands but I fully understand that it’s got to be a relationship, it’s not just a business relationship, it’s a friendship it’s… I don’t know what the word is for a fan to artist relationship but yeah.
Yeah I know what you mean – there has to be almost a sense of community that you need to enable.
Totally, community that’s a great word, yes.
You’ve got an album coming out this summer. How much can you say about that and your thinking process going into it. Did you have a very clear vision for what you wanted this to be?
It’s so funny, I had an idea of what I wanted to do but it’s not until you start writing the album where it just becomes clearer and clearer and clearer, every song you write. The direction of the substance that you’re talking about. So that being said, this record I started writing back at the beginning of 2020 with a trip down to L.A. and then I actually wrote a bunch of songs in the UK in London. Which, by the way, I don’t know why, but I do my best writing over there, and with the singers and songwriters and producers over there… it’s the weirdest thing, I can’t explain it, but I just love it so much. I love working with everyone over there. This third album in particular was kind of interesting because I started and then the pandemic hit so, so I was at home in my home studio trying to work out how I’m going to write the album? Thankfully, we have the technology.
“I actually wrote a bunch of songs in the UK in London. Which, by the way, I don’t know why, but I do my best writing over there, and with the singers and songwriters and producers over there…”
This album has a bunch of different flavors from around the world – sessions that were set up in Berlin, in L.A., in New York, in the UK, all in the same week. Usually you’d have to spend like two or three weeks in one spot at a time, but you get all these different writers within one week and the album starts taking shape. I don’t want to sound too cocky but like this album is really good. I’m really proud of it and the team that we’ve put together to create it has been so amazing. I’m just extremely proud of the content and the sonics, and all the melodies. It just makes me very, very happy.
That’s such a lovely feeling and exactly how you should feel! And you brought up London, which is great – that’s where I am. I don’t know how much time you’ve had to really get to know the city, but do you have any go to areas? And do you have a favourite studio?
Favourite studio is a good question. I’ve actually never been to Abbey Road, so that’s on my list but it’s all really been like backyard home studios that I’ve been writing in. I’ve been there three times and that’s been the most of what I’ve been doing. In terms of areas I would always go to Shoreditch. You’ve got the Soho House there, so usually after the sessions, I would head out to Shoreditch and have a few drinks and play some ping pong which would just cap off the night nicely.
Nice yeah it’s like a little oasis.
In London exactly.
In terms of your career, with traveling and certain exaggerated experiences that you go through, do you feel like you’ve had high highs and low lows?
Yeah definitely this career is filled with them. You know, like on tour with Selena Gomez; absolutely high. You’re surrounded by such amazing people and you’re seeing your fans every night and playing music.
And the lows…. when you’re not touring you’re trying to find inspiration to write for an album but it’s just not hitting. So it’s just those dry months of not touring, not finding the inspiration – you can’t seem to write anything or enjoy writing. And in those moments, like I talked about before, self-doubt can really hit you mentally and it’s taken me this long to know, but you have to be okay with those weeks or months at a time when nothing’s coming. You can’t force creativity, you shouldn’t force creativity anyway. It’s very important to take those mental breaks and reset. Instead of just writing, writing, writing, writing, singing, producing, writing, writing, reading. And that goes for any career. So those are the lows definitely but I just had a daughter in December so that makes the lows not so low because, even when nothing is going on, I still have her at home, which is just an incredible feeling.
A nice lil person to cuddle. Do you have any daily rituals or practices – do you meditate?
I try to every single day. When my daughter is sleeping and when the house is quiet. It is obviously difficult, but even if it’s just a couple of minutes a day. I usually drink a matcha tea every morning and when I’m making that is when I go through my affirmations of the day and just very quickly say what I’m thankful for in my mind and go through those motions of positivity and how I see the day going.
Tyler’s latest single ‘Be Like You’ is HERE! Listen links 🙂