Hailing from Montana, Tyler Barham is an aspiring singer/songwriter who is now living in Nashville . You may have heard of him before – at the young age of 18, Tyler was a contestant on GAC’s show “Next GAC Star” and came in 6th place. Before his TV success, Tyler was well known on youtube and facebook with a following of over 25,000. He just recently recorded and released his newest EP in Nashville titled “Twenty One,” which happened to be released on his 21st birthday. Now that’s something to party about!
Working with Dave Flint and John Griffin, his self-titled EP (which debuted last year) reached #39 on iTunes beating out debut CD’s by now popular acts Jerrod Niemann and Justin Moore.
Tyler still stays true to his fans by posting covers of songs on youtube and by doing live online webcam concerts every Tuesday called “Tuesday’s With Tyler” on his website here. He broadcasts at 7PM Eastern/6 Central/5 Mountain/4 Pacific.
I had the pleasure of talking with Tyler via email, and he was nice enough to do an exclusive interview for us. Tyler was very appreciative and down-to-earth. He chatted with us about how he started out, his inspirations along the way, his dream duet with Taylor Swift, and his biggest milestone so far – releasing his 2nd EP, “Twenty One”.
You were on GAC’s “Next GAC Star” in 2008 and came in 6th place. Tell us a little bit about that experience. What was your favorite part? Least favorite part?
Placing top 6th for GAC’s “The Next GAC Star” definitely came as a surprise to me! I entered not expecting to win or even make the top 16. I was just curious how I’d match up against the competition and I thought it couldn’t hurt entering it. I’m very glad I did. John Griffin, my producer, actually recommended the competition in a YouTube message to me. Months after the competition was over, I was going through my inbox trying to figure out who had told me about it and found his message. I messaged him thanking him once again for mentioning it to me, that it was such an amazing experience, and seeing if he had any tips for song writing or any original songs I could mess around with. He responded suggesting that we co-write songs over Skype and two EP’s later here I am living in Nashville trying to further my career even more! The contest was a dream come true for me and I was the youngest contestant in the top 6. I was only 18 at the time and just out of High School. Being in the top 6, I was flown to Nashville twice all expense paid, and definitely got a taste for it would be like to have singing as a career. My favorite part was probably meeting Phil Vassar and hanging out with him on his tour bus. He’s always been one of my idols. We did so many amazing things though that it’s really hard to choose. I’m not sure that I had a least favorite part about it to tell you the truth. It was the most amazing experience and I’ll never forget it.
Who most inspires you as an artist?
Garth Brooks has always been a huge inspiration to me as an artist. I grew up always listening to his music and singing his songs in competitions and just for fun. He is definitely a legend of Country Music and my parents always told me stories of how entertaining he was to watch live and how wild his concerts were. From what I heard he was so full of energy and just entertained the crowd as he was born to do. He’s well known by millions, has been very successful, and was able to make a career out of what he loved to do. That’s what I aspire for.
What is your current favorite song?
There are so many amazing songs out right now. I don’t know if I can choose a favorite, but I have a Summer playlist I’ve recently created on my Itunes and a few songs in that playlist include “Honey Bee” by Blake Shelton, “Georgia Clay” by Josh Kelley, “Country Girl” by Luke Bryan, and “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” by Jake Owen.
Tell us something our viewers and your fans might not know about you.
Something not many people may know about me is that when I was just a baby…a few years old probably…I climbed up on the heater, fell off, and broke my left leg. I don’t remember it being broken of course because I was just a baby. I got a cast on it and of course the week I got my cast off, I climbed up on the kitchen table, fell off, and broke it again. My parents weren’t too happy with me. Come to find out I have a slight fear of heights now…imagine that.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t pursuing music?
Truthfully, I’m not sure what I’d be doing if I wasn’t pursuing music and singing. I’ve never really found a backup plan because singing has always been what I loved and dreamed of doing. I’m giving singing the best shot I’ve got and if it doesn’t work out for some reason, life will go on, and I will keep truckin’ along in search of another career path.
What’s the best advice someone has ever given you?
I’ve been given a lot of amazing advice in my life, but what immediately comes to mind is when my dad would always ask me if I had practiced singing lately, to which I responded “I have, but probably not as much as I should’ve”. He looked at me and said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, PERFECT practice makes perfect”. I knew exactly what he meant and returned to my room to continue practicing. I know it’s a cliche’ motto and many have heard it before, but it’s very true and I’ll always remember it.
What’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
The most embarrassing song on my Ipod? Well, I listen to a lot of different genres of music, so I’m sure there are a lot of embarrassing songs on there. I’m not sure what song is the most embarrassing, but I can think of a few artists I’d have a hard time explaining if I were riding around with friends, hit that shuffle button, and they came on. Sarah Mclachlan is one, Sheryl Crow being another, and we may as well end with Dixie Chicks. I have quite a few of their songs!
Do you watch American Idol? If so, who is your favorite American Idol contestant from all seasons? Favorite from this season?
I actually auditioned for American Idol back in 2006 but didn’t make it. I don’t really watch it religiously or anything, but my favorite contestant of all time from American Idol has to be Carrie Underwood. She’s been very successful, has an absolute incredible voice, and went to the most amazing genre of music! From this year, I’m not sure I have a favorite. I haven’t watched it as much as previous years and have instead found myself intrigued by this new show called “The Voice” on NBC. Blake Shelton is one of the judges and so far it’s been great and definitely is an interesting show.
You are friends with Mitch Rossell. How did you meet?
Mitch Rossell and I became friends when I moved here to Nashville. I had known Mitch through his success and videos on YouTube for quite some time and I subscribed to him years ago on YouTube. After moving to Nashville, I met him in person one night during a “Tuesday’s With Tyler” online concert because he was doing some writing with my producer. He’s a great guy and not to mention a very talented artist and writer! We did a few collaboration videos on YouTube and our parody to Blake Shelton’s “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking” gained some attention from Miranda Lambert to which she challenged us to do a parody to her hit song “White Liar”. The result of the challenge can be found on YouTube and was entertaining and a blast to make. That’s the wonderful thing about music and living in Nashville is meeting new artists and joining together to support each others music.
I see you are a fan of Taylor Swift. If you had the opportunity to sing one of her songs on stage with her, what song would it be?
I’m definitely a fan of Taylor Swift’s and it’d be amazing if someday I was able to do a duet with her. She’s without a doubt an amazing artist, songwriter, and entertainer! If I had the chance to sing one of her songs with her on stage, it would probably have to be “Teardrops On My Guitar”. It’s one of the first songs that in a way launched her career and talk about an amazing song. It has such well written lyrics and Taylor has a great way of making the lyrics and melody of her songs flow rhythmically and perfectly together. They never fail bringing forward the true message of the song and getting the listeners to relate in some way.
If you were headlining a tour, who would you choose as your opener?
If I were headlining a tour, I would have to choose one of my friends as the opener. I’ve met a lot of great people and artists since I moved to Nashville and Addison Johnson, Mitch Gallagher, and Katie Basden are all really great friends of mine and talented aspiring artists as well, so it’d mean the most to me to have one of them open for me…if they wanted to of course.
What is your favorite song to play on the guitar?
I’m still learning a ton about playing guitar and only know certain chords, but one of my favorite’s to play right now would have to be Chris Young’s new hit “Tomorrow”. I did a cover of it recently on YouTube and the chords are a little challenging for me because it involves some bar chords, but I enjoy a good challenge and that song is such a powerful song and really tests my range singing wise as well.
You released your EP “Twenty One” on your 21st birthday. What were some of your biggest inspirations for it and how much of it did you write or co-write?
Releasing my 2nd EP on Itunes was a big milestone for me and it was very special to me because I released it on my 21st Birthday (which just so happened to be March 21st) We decided to call it -Twenty One- for that very reason. I had a great release party for it here in Nashville and had a great turn out! A lot of my new friends came out to support me and actually a lot of John’s songs inspired it. John Griffin had quite a few songs written from years back and were some of his best material so it was an honor for me to be able to record them. I thank him for giving me the opportunity to do so and for allowing me to have them on my EP. I was a co-writer on 4 out of the 6 songs on my 1st (Self Titled) EP and 2 out of 5 on my new EP (Twenty One). “Dance With The One That Brought You” I was a co-writer on and that was the first song we started writing when I got to Nashville. “It’s All Because of You” was another one I was a co-writer on and it was the last song we wrote for the EP. The funny story is we finished writing it in the studio at the same time Dave was laying down the track for it!
Which of your songs are you most proud of (or mean the most to you) and why?
I’m proud of every single song, even if I wasn’t a co-writer on all of them. It’s always amazing being a part of the writing process, but I am very proud of the way my EP’s turned out! John is an amazing lyricist and producer, and Dave Flint my other producer, did a great job playing most,if not all of the instruments on the songs and producing the tracks. If I had to choose one that I’m most proud of it’d have to be “17 & Young” since it was the very first song that John and I ever co-wrote together over Skype, as well as the very first song I was ever a writer on.
If you could write with any singer/songwriter, who would it be?
I think it’d be a blast to write a song with Taylor Swift and make it a duet so we could perform it together. I truly think it’d be a hit and be really popular among our fans! And I know she’s an excellent songwriter and heard she can write songs pretty quickly. It may just be a rumor, but I’d be willing to find out.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Ten years from now…that’s quite a ways away, but at that time I would hope that I’m established as an artist and have a successful career started in Country Music. I would hope to be signed by a major record label. That would be my dream…to do what I love to do and to make a living out of it.
Check out Tyler singing “It’s All Because of You,” a song off his new “Twenty One” EP now available on iTunes!