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Interview: Tyler Braden loses his phone in London but wins hearts & minds wherever he plays

Tyler Braden is an emerging Country artist with all sorts of things happening right now. Freshly released EP ‘Neon Grave’ is shifting streams and units (our review here) and Braden has just completed a successful stint in the UK playing in London, Dublin and Glasgow at the C2C festival. We caught up with him in London to talk all about it.

Lovely to catch up with you Tyler. How’s the trip to the UK so far?

Oh man, we are having such a I great time. I lost my phone on the tube in London and because of the network settings and plan that I’m on I can’t find it so I guess that’s gone now, apart from that I’m having a blast!

We’ve eaten a lot of good food over here and played a couple of good shows too. I slept for 17 hours on that first night over here, can you believe that? I’d been awake for 28 hours before that and then I slept for 17! Crazy.

Congratulations on ‘Neon Grave’, it’s a really strong EP. There’s some muscle in the title track. Was that written out on tour with Brantley Gilbert or have you had it for a while?

We’ve had it for a while, actually. I wrote it in 2020. Rock has always been a big influence on me. If you were to come to a full band live show you’d see that it is like being at a rock show. The first bands that I ever was in were rock cover bands and things like that. That’s the direction I think we are beginning to lean in going forward, putting more of that kind of music out in the future.

What Rock bands are the biggest influence on you?

The Foo Fighters, Nirvana, a lot of 90s and 2000s rock. I even like listening to bands that are not as heavy, like Coldplay and artists like that. We used to cover bands like Three Days Grace and Breaking Benjamin as well. My writing doesn’t necessarily lean in that way but I am influenced by the Foo Fighters a lot.

‘Try Losing One’ has such powerful vocals. Do you look forward to singing that song live or is it a stretch at times?

90% of the time I will look forward to it! (Laughing) Sometimes I might be a little tired or might be a little worried about where my voice is on that day, you know? It’s not an easy song to sing at all. What I do always look forward to is the reaction of the audience to it though. I won’t lie and not say that there aren’t any times where I’m not a little concerned about singing it but it’s always been a great experience for me to sing it.

What was behind the decision to put Sydney Sierota for Echosmith on the re-imagined version of ‘Try Losing One’?

So, I’m blessed to have the same management as Echosmith and we’d heard she was looking to do something in the Country space. I believe the genre boundaries are blurred enough these days for this type of collaboration to happen and be successful. We were thinking about a duet version and when we heard Sydney was interested it was a no brainer.

She was amazing to work with and did so great on her vocals, she did it all at her home studio and sent it back to us so quickly.

Did the pandemic effect the release of ‘Neon Grave’ or your career at all?

Not so much ‘Neon Grave’ but it did effect my last EP. I put an EP out at the end of 2021 which had been pushed back somewhat. It was kind of a blessing in disguise, I think, because a lot of the songs on ‘Neon Grave’ were written during the time when I had a lot more time to focus in on writing. The pandemic gave me a rare chance to focus in and hone my writing skills because there was nothing else to do.

‘Middle Man’ is such an impactful song, you certainly know how it hit people, emotionally, where it hurts.

That was written sometime in 2021. The inspiration behind that one came from people’s reactions to ‘Try Losing One’, actually. We wanted to write a song about loss and all the ways it can hit and effect you. We wanted to tap into that emotion when you want to just talk to or update someone who isn’t around anymore. How do you do that? What does that look like?

You were a fire fighter for seven years. When you started that job were you playing music or did that happen during that phase of your career?

I had sung in Rock bands a lot before I joined the service. Whilst I was a fire fighter I did a lot of solo and acoustic shows too. Small stages, restaurants, things like that. I wanted to move closer to Nashville to try and give the singing career a shot and the fire service enabled me to move much closer to Nashville and it worked out so well!

What aspects of the job do you miss and what aspects are you pleased to leave behind?

The days I don’t miss are the days you don’t want to talk about, right? The things you see are not always easy to witness in that job. The brotherhood and camaraderie is something that I do miss, though. I met some of my best friends in the world doing that job and you learn and develop a kind of emotional strength and balance that I don”t think you get in many other jobs. It made me who I am today.

How have you changed as a writer since moving to Nashville?

I’ve changed 1000%! (laughing) I’d literally written about 10 songs before I moved to Nashville. I only wrote a handful more in the first year in town because I was working so hard in the fire service. I’ve grown as a writer so much, it’s quite hard to know how to put that into words.

Co-writing was something that I had to learn how to do. There’s such a lot of huge pluses to getting in a room with other people who can see things from different aspects and angles. You might have written a song completely different without another persons help, guidance and talent.

Would you take an outside cut for yourself right now or are you focused on building your own writes?

Absolutely. The best song always wins, no matter where it comes from. Imagine being someone who turned down a great song that could open up all sorts of opportunities just because you weren’t in the room when it was written? I’ve played a song a couple of times at the things we are doing over here that I didn’t write – I’ll put it out one day but I’m definitely not against putting out something I didn’t write. I might tweak it here and there and make it my own, you know, but the best song always wins!

You’ve also written with artists like Breland and Dylan Marlowe for their projects. Does that help hone your craft as well, writing for other people?

Sure. The funny thing there is when you are in a room with other artists, writing, you are sometimes not even sure who will end up with the song until deep into the session. Sometimes a third of the way into the write one of the artists will start to show a real interest in taking the song for themselves and then they kind of take the lead to make it fit into their own sound and style. Breland did that, Dylan did it in the room too.

If you could sit down with any writer who you haven’t worked with yet to write the lead single from your next EP, who would you choose and why?

I’d love to get in a room with HARDY, right? He would be great. ERNEST too. Ashley Gorley is here this weekend, he would be great as well. Any of those guys. There are so many great writers in Nashville it’s hard to just keep the choices to those guys! (laughing)

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

We’re touring everywhere that we can, man! (laughing) We’re doing shows with Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan and we’re doing some shows with Brooks and Dunn too, Chase Rice, Riley Green. It’s going to be a big year for us. We’ve got some festivals like Stagecoach lined up as well later in the year. We’re also headlining our own festival in Playa Del Carmen in Mexico too, so it’s a busy year ahead!

What do the folks back in Slapout, Alabama think to your success? (Tyler’s hometown) Is there a sign up on the border yet, you know, ‘The boyhood home of Tyler Braden’?

(laughing) I think they’re proud. You don’t get to go home all that often doing what I do now but my parents are very proud. My mum gets every song, still, that I write. I send them all to her and she’s still telling me to release songs that I wrote four or five years ago! (laughing)

I’m not sure that Slapout even has a border to put a sign on! (laughing) It would have to be on the wall of the first store in the town.

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