Last week, I "introduced" YouTube sensation turned mainstream pop-rocker Tyler Ward to my Tragic Kingdom readers. Ward, who released his latest video over the weekend (watch Tyler's version of Hunter Hayes' "Wanted" here), is finishing up the national leg of his world tour. The tour is his first in promotion of his first original-tuned EP Hello. Love. Heartbreak.
Tyler took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to chat with me about his new original music, what he's got planned for the holidays and what it was like when he first realized he was becoming a star.
Interview with Tyler Ward
Chris Vetrano: You just released a new EP of original music [Hello. Love. Heartbreak.] that shot up the charts. Can you explain to my readers how the process of recording the EP was different from your YouTube cover tracks.
Tyler Ward: I’ve never sat down and actually recorded an entire project at once. This was incredibly personal, and something I’ve dreamt about for years! I truly made this album for my fans - and for myself. I had to challenge myself to do this, and I wanted to produce, engineer and write as much of it as I could. I actually took about 3 months to write the album across the country. After the release and the response the only thing to say is I’m so thankful to the fans for really supporting my original music along with the covers on Youtube :)
Chris: You’ve covered almost some of the biggest songs from the biggest artists in the world. What has been your favorite track to redo? And why?
Tyler: Every cover I do really does impact me in different ways, but I would probably say I really feel there was something special about [Kenny Chesney's] “Somewhere With You” and most recently “Red" [by Taylor Swift]. Almost all my covers are chosen because of my emotion to the song... both those songs really pulled something out of me that was unexpected!
Chris: You're now a well-known artist with a huge following, so I imagine you often get recognized on the street. Do you remember the first time you realized your success had reached that level? Tell me about the first time you felt like a “star”.
Tyler: [Laughs] I think when two fans somehow found my house back in Denver and showed up the morning after a show with Oreo cookies for me... I remember thinking they must really like me and my music to do this! [Laughs]
Chris: You tour all over the globe. Where is your favorite place to play and why?
Tyler: I definitely have some favorite shows from the past year and half of touring, but walking on stage the first time in Germany last year, seeing thousands of people screaming for you, and singing the whole time was something I will never forget.
Chris: What can fans expect from Tyler Ward in 2013?
Tyler: I’m really excited to finish Part 2 of Hello.Love.Heartbreak. and tour more in Canada, Europe and get to Australia and SE Asia as well. I’m really close to announcing a big deal in Europe too!
Chris: You are clearly one of the busiest guys on the planet. If/when you get some free time, how do you spend it?
Tyler: [Laughs] I’m not really sure - movies and working out I guess. I try to see friends as much as possible, and to be honest I still love to sit in my studio and try to be a better producer.
Chris: Your initial success has come from covering other people’s songs. Have you ever been approached by one or more of the artists you covered? What was their reaction to your version?
Tyler: I’ve heard from a few artists that they like what I do, and they thought my interpretation of their song was cool - definitely a huge compliment for them to say that!
Chris: You were nominated as one of RyanSeacrest.com's Featured Artist of the Year. That's a huge accomplishment - congrats! When you get news like that, how does it impact you / what you do?
Tyler: My manager forwarded over the email and stuff like that usually takes some time to sink in. Everyone at RS.com has been amazing this year, and to know he's aware of what I'm doing with my originals and covers is a big honor!
Chris: Well, we will be sure to keep voting! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, I know you're busy on the road. Are you getting time off for the holiday?
Tyler: [Laughs] I'm gonna make it home [to Denver] with one day to spare! Gonna relax with family and friends back in Colorado and maybe going to Vegas for New Years!
Look out Vegas! Vote for Tyler in Ryan Seacrest's Featured Artist of the Year poll here, and don't forget to download Hello. Love. Heartbreak. on iTunes now.