While there are a lot of great singer/songwriters in the music industry, it’s rare that someone has the incredible vocals, sensational writing ability and positive attitude to put them in a league of their own. Tye James is one of those rare cases.
Tye has a genuine passion for music and is determined to use his gift to accomplish his goal of making it in the music industry. Tye has been working hard and putting his all into his craft and it reflects in his projects and live performances. Back in 2012, he released a free EP project entitled “The NaivEP” and ever since then, he’s been on a roll.
I recently sat down with Tye to talk about everything from musical influences, advice for aspiring artists, future material, and more. Check out our interview below.
So, what made you decide to pursue a career in music?
It’s the only thing I really loved, truthfully. It kind of picked me; I didn’t start singing until I was about 12 or 13 because I had to take choir in school. Ever since I started singing, it’s like there’s something in me saying “This is what you’re doing, that’s it.”
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
My musical inspirations would be Sade, Queen, and Toni Braxton. As of late, The Killers, James Morrison, Emeli Sande, and Kelly Clarkson, she’s one of my favorite live singers.
As far as material that you’ve released so far, what are some of your favorite tracks?
"Naive" and "Reminds Me Of Home". "Naive" because it’s my favorite to sing live and "Reminds Me Of Home" because essentially, it’s about my great grandmother who’s the foundation of my faith and it just gives me a good feeling.
You’ve released two videos recently: “Zombie” and “Reminds Me Of Home”, so what was it like shooting the video for Reminds Me Of Home”?
Shooting that video was ridiculously awesome. It was myself and Chris (the videographer), we drove down to Dover, Delaware, where my grandma lives, and we literally just filmed everything. When I go to hang out with my grandma, she smokes like chimney (laughs), we drink wine, we chat, hang out with her dog - we just hang out, it’s really all we do. Sometimes we’ll go out to dinner and watch TV, simple stuff like that. There was also footage of me at the bar that I worked at while I was in college, and still sometimes do, and footage of me working with my dad which I do pretty frequently in the summer. There’s also footage of me with my family and my friends - It’s pretty much as much as you can get in a 3 minute video.
What made you come up with the concept for the “Zombie” video?
The idea was just kinda someone that gets so wrapped up in a relationship to the point that it consumes them and they kinda go crazy. It was so fun to be the bad guy in the video because in your first bigger budget video, you wanna look like he good guy, but it was fun to be the creeper (laughs).
How has reception been as of late as far as shows and YouTube covers?
Reception’s been really good. I covered Katy Perry’s “Roar” and we got over 7,000 views pretty much all in the first few weeks, which is awesome. With my YouTube videos, they’re all live and that’s why I like them so much because you can see me as a live singer, flaws and all. You get a taste of what my live shows are gonna be like. We also did another cover, “Arms of a Stranger” by Kevin Gates, that was fun to do because it’s cool to switch up the melodies of a rap song. That cover’s actually done better than the Katy Perry video. Kevin has quite a following, it’s weird because he’s signed to a major label, but he’s still not really out yet so he’s still somewhat of an indie artist in a way.
As far as your journey as an artist, what’s been one of your most memorable moments or shows?
I think my favorite show was the Talent Island show at the Hard Rock Cafe because it was home based, it was sold out, and I had my own 40 minute set where I got to sing the whole EP along with some covers and it was super well received. Also, doing the 10 Show on NBC was fun too because I got to kinda show everybody what I do. The beautiful thing about me is that there’s no preface where I’m at - no one has any preconceived notions about what I should sound like vs. what I look like or anything.
What pushes you day to day to keep pursuing your career?
I think everyday is different. Lately, I’ve had my fair share of not wanting to do it at all, but honestly, there’s something in me that keeps telling me that I’m meant for it. I can’t function without it, I’m not meant for a 9 to 5, and I’m not meant for a mundane life. I know there are gonna be more hardships and things like that, but I just have to get it and that’s all that’s inside of me.
How do you balance working and pursuing your music career?
I work for people who are very wonderful to me and understanding of everything. I just take off accordingly, I’m blessed to be able to do so.
What advice would you give any artists aspiring to get into the industry?
Don’t do it (laughs), it’s terribly upsetting for your ego. But, if you’re like me and it’s the only thing that you love, do it. Just be prepared for people not to like you and be prepared to work your ass off, and still have people not like you (laughs). Do it for you, doing for anyone else isn’t gonna get you shit.
What can fans expect from you in the future?
I’ve been recording slowly for the past 6 months, just taking my time. I’m working with Kwame on some stuff, I’m working with Dilemma again, I’m working with Mike Jerz, and I’m working with my buddy John. We’re working on some cool shit, so I’m really excited. The next step for me is evolving from the last project - You’re gonna continue to get honesty from me like on the last project, maybe even more personal material on this one. It’s gonna be a really nice stepping stone from “The NaivEP”. It’s gonna make sense, it’s gonna be a good follow up, but it’s also gonna stand on it’s own, so I’m really excited for it. I’m also doing another YouTube cover with my friend Ally and we’re gonna cover Sia’s new single “Chandelier” and we’re gonna shoot a video for it too, I’m super excited for that.
Follow Tye James On Twitter:@TyeJamesMusic
Also, visit his website: TyeJames.com
Author: James Gadsden, HF® Journalist