Born into it, Tyler Dean Mcdowell’s life has always revolved around music. Growing up touring with his father, Tyler caught the musical bug early on and has never looked back. After a childhood stint as a pop star, Tyler is now ready to tell his own story as well as pay homage to his upbringing.
Recently, we had the chance to to chat with Tyler about growing up around music, what lessons he’s learned over the years and so much more!
Worlds Of Country: So you grew up around music. What lessons would you say you learned from that and what was that experience like?
Tyler: it’s something that people ask me a lot, know, what was it like growing up on the road and for the longest time, like, you know, people would be like, what was it like having a singer as your dad? I was like, he’s just he just my dad, you know, he’s just he’s just a guy. And then when I got older, I realized it really did give me probably a different perspective. Than most, you know, I got to see the inner workings of the business, the highs, the lows and all that kind of stuff. What did it teach me the most? I don’t even like to use the word fans, but fans are the most important, you know, like truly it’s no matter what I talk about the highs and the lows. But, you know, when you talk about the lows, you hyphenate those specifically. It’s worth it because the people you’re doing it for your employers is what I would call them. Because they do, they pay the bills, you know, and I want to be there for them. And my dad, he has always made the fans the priority. He’s always taken time to make sure that every single piece of paper is signed, that he takes pictures, talks to everyone. It makes it really personal. So I think that’s one of the most put on the spot there. But that’s one of the most valuable lessons. Just make sure you’re there for the people because they’re the ones you’re doing it for some growing up around everything you’ve taught.
Worlds Of Country: You must have caught the bug from music very early on.
Tyler: And I mean, I don’t even remember when it started, really, you know, I always say that I sang my first words, you know, I was on I mean, there are clips and videos and you can find them on YouTube. Dad told me on Music City tonight and Crook and Chase and stuff, and I was still in diapers. It’s just my life and it’s my life. And I and I do. I love it. I have a lot of interests, a lot of things. I’m a writer, novelist, screenwriter, things like that. Filmmaking is a passion. My dad would say a jack of all trades and a master of none. But again, it goes back to creating music for people and performing for people. Those are the things that I enjoy most, creating something. So I guess it kind of goes hand in hand with the novel writing and screenwriting and all that. It’s just creation. I like to create stuff, a lot of creativity and like all aspects of the I try, I try and I don’t know if I succeed, but I do try some.
Worlds Of Country: Who would you say is your biggest musical influences?
Tyler: And see now this is this is where it gets tricky because I can I can offend a lot of people with this because see I grew up surrounded by country music and you know, some people would say that would I guess it’s either you can pick one, you either decide you love it and it becomes your thing or you get sick and tired of it because you hear it so much. And unfortunately, that was me. Like when I was growing up, I used to make fun of country music singers.
You know? And so my influences were crooners, you know, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, people like that. Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Michael Jackson. It went into the rock stuff, Aerosmith, AC, DC. And I started out as a pop artist. You know, I like to say, before Justin Bieber and Aaron Carter, there was Tyler Dean, which is what I went by. I went by my middle name to kind of differentiate myself from my father at his suggestion. It wasn’t like I was ashamed of it. You know, it’s just that he didn’t want there to be any bias. And yeah. So I was Tyler Dean and was a little pop artist. And then when I was 15 and 16, the label that I was on at the time, they were convinced they couldn’t make the pop thing work or that’s what they said. And they asked me to be a country artist. And so I was like. OK, I mean, it was kind of an ultimatum, you know, if I didn’t if I said no, it was over. So I was like, all right, well, let me go to Wal-Mart and get some CDs. And so I did. I remember them all. I got Chris Kagle, I got Keith Anderson, Joe Nichols, big and rich. And when I got to Big and Rich, I think I actually still have all the CDs. When I got to Big and Rich, I was like, I can do this because it’s more like my roots rock. You know, it’s rock and roll. And so, yeah, it’s a long winded way of answering your question. I think that my biggest influences would be like Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and of course, you know, I got my dad. But I mean, again, he’s just he’s just my dad.
Worlds Of Country: so you speak of the label pushing you in a certain direction. Now that you’re separated from them, do you feel that you’re more able to do what you really want to do?
Tyler: Yeah, absolutely. And I, I hold no grudges whatsoever, you know, and it’s part of the process when you’re signed to a label, and especially when you’re so young, you know, they’re I don’t blame them for trying to guide me in a direction because that’s what they have to do. You know, I was just a kid. But yes, now that I’m on my own and I can do what I want, I’ve spent the last I think it’s going on for years now, building this project and, you know, the best laid plans demise. I mean, there’s been one hiccup after another, but we had a plan and a song we were going to release and we were like, OK, this is it. And this was like I think before the apocalypse and we were like, this is what this is what we’re going to do. And then it’s a weird story. And I think it’s b it’s either the first or second time I’ve talked about this. But I had the chance to converse with a lady who is way out of my league. And it wasn’t like that. It wasn’t talking like that. I mean, if something happened, I mean, I’m all for it. But it was just nice just to talk to her. And I thought, man, I wish she would just, you know, just come out and just come to Nashville, just get some hot chick and like, we’ll just have a good time. We’ll go down on Broadway. And I’ve always said I’m not a songwriter, but within 30 minutes I wrote the song and that we changed the game plan. We kind of shifted gears. And then, you know, now we’ve released this song. And I think I think it’s I’m a big believer in if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. And we just kind of went with the flow and now here we are.
Worlds Of Country: What’s the plan for after “Come to Nashville”.
Tyler: It’s a surprise now.
So I have been keeping it kind of under wraps for a very long time. And it’s the next song that I’ve wanted to do for years. I would stand backstage when I was 17 and I was like, you know, something could ever happen if I’m ever fortunate enough to get a little success. I said, I’m going to do that song, which is one of my dad’s old records and.
I got into a position where I could, because people forget, like recording music, it costs money like that. You know, I’m not. I can’t play every instrument known to man, like I said, Jack of all trades masters. I do just a little bit of everything, but that does not include playing drums or piano. I can play about three notes on a guitar, but if you can’t do that, if you can’t play all your stuff, then it does cost money.
So I got into a position where I could have a little money in the bank and I was like, why don’t I just go ahead and do the song now? And that was the first I think it was either the first or second song on this project. And some would say that I’ve been sitting on it. I was waiting for the right time. And then I was reminded by two people actually.
There’s never going to be the right time, like nobody’s ever like you just have to pull the trigger. I was concerned that without the security of a record label’s legal team, that if I released the song and it got like two thousand views or something, somebody else might hear it. Yeah. And be like, hey, that’s a good idea. And then they put theirs out and then nobody ever hears mine. And I sit in the car with my cousin who has sung background vocals with me on most of all of these songs I think except one, he’s a very gifted singer that’s way better than me. I would just have to tell you, he’s incredible. And he said, Tyler, he said, when they tell you, you got to take a chance. This is your version of that. You have to take a chance. And so I just made a decision. I was like, OK, well, you know what will at least come to Nashville and then the next one will be this one. So I’m not going to tell you what it is. You’ll have to, you’ll just have to wait. I’m pretty excited about it.
Worlds Of Country: How many of the songs did you write?
Tyler: So that’s that’s very interesting. Originally, the and I’m glad you asked that question, I. Often speak of how I believe there is this. Well, two things, there’s no formula to success, right? There’s no formula. People ask me, like, what’s the secret? If there was a secret, I would have already used it by now. Right. But I think the business, Nashville specifically, I think that you have to follow the steps of the person who came before you. You have to do it to work for them. So it’s obviously going to work for you. Right. And it’s true. I mean, it does for a lot of people. But I feel like if you and I don’t think I’m like I’m not going to say like I’m worthy of breaking the mold that came before me, but I want to try. I feel like anybody who’s ever made something of themselves did so by breaking the mold. And so they tell you, you got to go down to the writer’s rounds. You have to know, you have to write all your songs. You have to sing them. And I have nothing against that whatsoever. But if I wrote every single one of my songs, it would be a lot of people who would be out of business in this town. So one of the songs on the EP. Was written by a good family friend of ours, and then the rest are songs that inspired me and I wanted to try to do my take on those. So come to Nashville and actually there’s one we have written that’s not recorded. So I guess that’s one. So there’s two other songs that I wrote on the EP. All the other ones are just kind of revisions, three imaginings, like a cool mix there. Yeah. And, you know, that’s I don’t want to again, I’m not comparing myself to those who came before me, but it’s just like Elvis and all those people that they forget, like Hound Dog. That’s all right, Mama. And all those little I don’t know how that was, but that’s all right, Mom. All those songs, they were old songs that he did remakes of. So I kind of wanted to try to do the same thing and do my own spin on stuff.
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