Michael Tyler – 317
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) Who are some of your musical influences?
A) I have a couple. One of the big ones is Jason Aldean. Another would be John Mayer. The Script. Itty Bitty Dirt Band because “Fishin’ in the Dark” was one of my favorite all time songs. Keith Urban is a huge influence. I hate to say this, but I did grow up listening to The Backstreet Boys. [laughs] Those are a few. Even Poison, Cinderella and Warrant – a lot of 80’s rock.
Q) Your album 317 is out now. Talk about the significance of the title.
A) One of the first times I drove to Nashville by myself, I had packed up and had this little Mazda car. I had been to Nashville a couple of times, but this was it – I was moving away from home. It was six hours away so I packed up my car and put everything in it. I drove to my apartment and when I pulled into my apartment I looked down at my odometer and it was around 317 miles. So, I always remembered that. I knew I wanted to write a song about it eventually, but thought it would be cooler as just the album title because it means a lot to me.
Q) Your first single out now is “They Can’t See.” What was it about this song that made you want it for your initial release?
A) “They Can’t See,” I just love the message we put behind it and it is one of the most “me” songs on the record. It has a real positive message and that’s what I want to do. I want to make people feel something good.
Q) What do you think it is about the song that fans are connecting to?
A) I don’t know. Everybody dreams about that perfect person that they can’t wait to meet or that one. Everybody is living for that. I think that might be one of the reasons that people are digging it.
Q) What inspires your lyrics?
A) It’s different all the time. A lot of the songs on the record are from me growing up in a town with 2,000 people, past relationships and experiences. Sometimes you’ll just see a title on TV and you think, “Dang! That would be an awesome song!” one of my buddies was at a publishing company and all the lights went out. He was walking down stairs and just stared singing “Baby when the lights go out…” He went, “Oh crap! I have to record that!” Jason Aldean recorded for on his last album They Don’t Know so it’s just different every time.
Q) How much of a hand do you have in the production of your music?
A) I get to hang out in the studio the whole time for every step of the process. Michael Knox and I have a lot of the same opinions so it works out. Michael is a magician in the studio!
Q) Talk a little about your song “Somewhere on a Beach” and how it got to Dierks Bentley.
A) It was going to be my first single and we wrote it at a writers retreat in Florida. We got back to Nashville and finished it one day. We just got this email from Dierks’ manager one day saying, “Dierks heard ‘Somewhere on a Beach’ and is really serious about it being his first single for his new album. Would you be okay with this?” I was like, “Heck yeah I’d be okay with a Dierks single!” I am a huge fan of Dierks Bentley so we let him have it and he did his thing with it. And it paid off!
Q) The song won “Song of the Year” and it became a number one. How did that make you feel?
A) It’s awesome! It’s the reason I moved here. It’s one of my dreams that happened and came true. Having a number one of the charts is something that people claw at for a long time! I’m just so happy and I feel blessed it finally happened. We’re rocking and rolling now!
Q) What can fans expect from a live Michael Tyler performance?
A) We do two different things. When we do small shows, radio shows and more intimate things I bring out my acoustic and I have an acoustic guy with me. I have a drummer that plays an electric pad that has all the samples on it. But everything that we do when we come out with a full band is energetic. There are energetic parts of the shows and a real intimate part of the shows. And I just want people to forget about anything that is going on and I want them to pay attention. I want them to watch the show and be entertained and like it.
Q) What songs are you most looking forward to performing at your shows?
A) “They Can’t See” is my favorite song on the record, hands down, because it’s the coolest for me to perform. But I love playing “Hey Mama” and telling the story behind that live and “Love Myself.” All of them are really fun to perform, but if I had to pick a few then it would be “They Can’t See,” “Love Myself” and “Hey Mama.” “Secret” is another fun one to play live, too.
Q) You are a part of social media. Why is that such an important way to connect with your fans?
A) Yeah, I think it’s awesome. We’ve got the feedback we wanted and people are liking it. People are digging into the record and listening. They are listening to the deep album cuts and loving those too. So, it’s awesome for us! This is crazy, you know?
Q) Have you started to get recognized more often?
A) Yeah, every now and then I get recognized. It was funny. We just got back from Vegas and I played a show with LOCASH there at the House of Blues. We went to the awards a couple days after and there were some people who were like, “Hey! Did you play at The House of Blues? Can we get a picture?” It was awesome!
Q) CMT included you in their “2017 Artists to Watch” list. What did that mean to you?
A) It was great! Of course, I grew up watching CMT (along with everybody else who loves country music), but I would sit on the coffee table before school whenever the Top 20 countdown was on with my guitar and try to learn the songs and learn the chords. Now that they picked me for 2017 and playing my video is just awesome and a dream come true!
Q) Who would you most like to collaborate with on a song in the future?
A) Oh let’s see. I think it would be awesome to play a song with Keith Urban or Carrie Underwood. She is amazing! It would be awesome to just hang and sing a song with her.
Q) What do you hope people take away from listening to 317?
A) A lot of the songs are about me from where I grew up. So, hopefully kids from these small towns can relate to a lot of these songs, the heartbreak and good times. Just go on a ride of my life for a couple of years with this album and relate to it.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your music?
A) I would say thank you so much. I’m just glad that people are digging it. Hopefully this is going to be a long run. I’m going to put some more music out there and keep putting music out there. I’ll keep playing more shows for whoever wants to listen.