Tyler’s brand new single When You’re Home is now available on all platforms (check out the single HERE). The Canadian singer/songwriter stopped for a quick catch up, find out what he’s got planned for 2021!
Thank you, Tyler for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. Firstly, how are you?
All things considered, I’m doing pretty well. Pretty excited about my new single “When You’re Home” and I’m happy and healthy. 2021 isn’t looking so bad, comparatively.
Can you give us a bit of background info about yourself? For the few that may not know you, what type of music do you create?
I’m a Chinese Canadian singer, songwriter and producer currently living in Toronto but grew up in Vancouver, BC. My musical journey started back in 2012 when I won a national singing contest on a local music network. This opportunity led me to my record label, a platinum-selling debut single and eventually my debut album. Over the past 8+ years, I’ve released 2 albums, signed to a modelling agency, acted in the lead role of a feature film and chased my dreams along the way. Music is my main career focus. I write songs from a vulnerable and honest place and my music has been likened to Shawn Mendes, Niall Horan and James Arthur. I play multiple instruments from guitar and piano to bass and drums. I collaborate but am also quite hands-on with all my songwriting and assist with producing as well.
What inspired you to start ArtistsCAN with Fefe Dobson?
This all stemmed from a conversation I was having with my manager, Danny Reiner, who works with both Fefe and myself. We were discussing the passing of the legendary Bill Withers and reflecting on his legacy while listening to his music catalogue. We thought it would be a good idea to pay tribute to him through covering one of his big hits “Lean On Me”. It started as just something I would do but then we had realized that the lyrical message of the song was something that our world really needed to hear during these early weeks of the COVID pandemic and all the uncertainty our world was experiencing. I called up Fefe and got her on board, and the song became a duet that eventually snowballed into us tapping into our network and assembling some of Canada’s best and brightest music talents.
I was inspired by the health care and front-line workers who forged ahead during this all and how selfless they had been and continue to be. I felt like I wanted to contribute in some way, through my own talents and to use my platform for something bigger than myself. We partnered our project with the Canadian Red Cross to offer relief to those in need during this pandemic.
How does it feel to have worked with huge Canadian artists such as Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne and Michael Buble?
I was honoured that they had all answered the call to be a part of this incredible collaboration. Michael Buble is one of my favorite artists. I’m a big fan of Bieber and Avril as well. I really appreciate that everyone lent their voice, free of ego or reservation. In my lifetime, I never imagine to be involved or on the same song as so many of my favorite artists, and sure enough I ended up pulling them all together. It was and still very much remains a special moment for me.
With the cover ‘Lean on Me’ reaching over 10M streams, surely that’s a huge achievement?
Absolutely. [We’re] proud of the response it’s received and the impact it has truly made. All of the royalties from the single and video are all directly donated to the Canadian Red Cross and will continue to overtime. I’m proud to have made a difference during such an unprecedented time in history and to have made the most of a challenging situation.
Have you made any new year resolutions for 2021?
In terms of my music career, when the coast is clear and it’s safe to do so, I really want to take my music beyond the borders of Canada and tour internationally. It’s always been a goal of mine to travel and perform in different countries and continents around the world. Personally, I just want to be a better version of myself. The best father, son, husband and friend I can be for the incredible people around me. That means quality time, checking in on people I love and showing empathy.
What inspired you to write your latest single ‘When You’re Home’?
I wrote the song just before the COVID outbreak, back in February during a songwriting trip to London. I had seen a commercial on television for a video game and there were elements of the music and strings in particular that just captured my interest. I brought this idea into a session and started building around it. The sentiment of the lyric is pretty universal. It’s a song about feeling the warmth and love of someone or something in your life, regardless of time and space. The song almost means more to me, because of the quarantining we’ve all been living through. To love and be loved is that feeling of being “at home” with someone and that’s what I wanted this song to convey.
How would you describe your sense of style?
My personal style? For a long time, I was really comfortable living in athletic gear (track pants, shorts, t-shirts) and when I’d go to events or on stage, I would wear a lot of distressed jeans and t-shirts in the early days. I really tried to expand and open my mind to finding a direction and that process really started just a few years ago. I really like bold fashion for stage performances that make me feel energized and larger than life. Outfits that articulate and compliment my music. I draw a lot of inspiration for UK street style for my everyday life and refer to the 70s and 80s for creative shoots. I’m constantly evolving and experimenting. Recently I’ve been wearing cropped leather joggers, fresh white kicks and a cool jacket. I’m a big fan of cropped pants. Nothing wrong with showing a little ankle (laughs).
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I’m always thinking and planning ahead. I want to continue making music and eventually performing in places like Europe, Southeast Asia and South America for example. I really feel music is a universal language and I’d love to expand my fan base and connections abroad. I’ve seen such an overwhelming response of support from fans internationally and I’d really like to meet them all in person. I’d also love to collaborate with some international artists in the years to come. I always find new music and artists on streaming services and it’s pretty incredible how much access we have to listen to talent from all over the world. Such unique voices and artistry to discover and inspire.
What’s your ‘go to’ outfit when performing on stage?
Depending on whether I’m on tour or if it’s a one-off show, my stylist and team will help me choose an outfit. I do think it’s important to have your stage outfit reflect your artistry as much as having a solid performance. Any time I can find a pant that has a little stretch to it, especially in the crotch area is key. I like to do high kicks and stunts on stage during certain parts of the show. Knock on wood, I haven’t had any pants split on me thus far, but there are times I have to scale back on the action in order to prevent an accident during my show. My last tour I wore this amazing denim fringe jacket on stage to start the show that a lot of my fans really loved. It was heavier than you would imagine, so I would only open the show in it.
Out of the three tours you’ve performed at, which was your favourite and why?
A few years back when I had toured with Selena Gomez, I really learned a lot from her. Not just from her presence on stage but behind the scenes. She’s really patient and sweet with her fans and all the crew backstage. There’s something special about an artist of her caliber making the people around her feel welcomed and appreciated that I really admired. She had a massive stage on that tour as well, so I learned how to use as much of it as possible so I could connect with people in every seat of the arena. Ultimately, I am grateful for any opportunity to tour and perform my music live for my fans or new people.
What can we expect, music-related, to come from you in 2021?
Now that my new single “When You’re Home” is out and available, I’m focusing on promoting that. This is just the first of many singles and videos to come. We have lots of music ahead of my new album coming this spring. We just wrapped the album track listing and we’re doing some special versions of songs. I’m really trying to feed the appetite of my fans who are hungry and in need of music, probably more than ever. On the other side of COVID, when it’s safe to do so, I’m beyond excited to bring this new music into rehearsal and put together an amazing live show for my fans. Fingers crossed we can tour by the fall. If not, there will be some virtual concerts to look forward to in the months to come.
What inspired you to do all the amazing charity work that you do?
My mom taught me about giving back. I am from a big family, 1 of 5 siblings. We didn’t always have the best or newest of everything, but my parents did their best to make sure we were given every opportunity and really support my dreams and ambitions. I don’t take any of that for granted. When there is an opportunity for me to use my voice for better, I feel it is my obligation.
Lastly, did you always know your career would be in music?
I was actually going to be a semi professional soccer player. I played soccer (European football) growing up all the way to university level where I received a scholarship to play. I was a goaltender. It was in my first year of university one of my best friends and roommate and the time had convinced me to submit an audition for a singing contest that would lead me to where I am today. Soccer and music are my two passions. When I have time off from music or need to relax playing soccer or kick around a ball is my escape. The opposite was true during my teenage years. I would escape the stress and pressure of elite level soccer through music by playing my guitar.