Interview: Michael Tyler talks songwriting and more
© Michael Tyler, used with permission

Michael Tyler is the epitome of the story small town boy makes it big story. At the age of 12 he started writing songs and pitching them to Jason Aldean’s producer, Michael Knox. Knox invited him to Nashville for a meeting. From there Knox challenged him to write a new song a month and send it to him. Knox mentored him and invited him to permanently move to Nashville at the age of 17. At the age of 24, Tyler is the total package as an entertainer. AXS was able to catch up with Tyler prior to his performance at Country Thunder (CT) in Arizona. Here are the highlights.

AXS: When did you arrive at CT?

Michael Tyler: We got into Phoenix last night. We spent the night there and came out to Florence this a.m. We rested up and we are ready for today.

AXS: Have you played CT before?

MT: This is our first time. I’m super excited. It looks really cool. Everything looks great from up on stage.

AXS: Where do you live now?

MT: I live in Nashville. When we left, it was snowing. It’s 90 degrees here right now.

AXS: You might have to shed your outer shirt soon. Do you have any tattoos? There are a lot of people out here with tattoos.

MT: No, I don’t have any tattoos. I’m holding out. I don’t know if I love something that much to have it on my body for the rest of my life. If I find something important enough I might do it. I’m not against tattoos. I just have to find something important enough to do it.

AXS: How old were you when you first started performing?

MT: I grew up with it. It was all over the place with my grandparents, my uncle, my great uncle, my mom. Everybody sang and played music. I probably picked up a guitar when I was 12 years old when I first started plucking my first couple of strings, playing the drums and singing.

AXS: When did you start writing your own music?

MT: I’ve been writing my own music since I started playing guitar. I’ve got a couple new songs that I wrote for Jason Aldean that are going to be in his new album, Rearview Town, coming out next week. I’m excited about that.

AXS: Who else have you written for?

MT: I have a couple of songs on other Jason Aldean albums. I’ve written songs for Locash. I have a song you may have heard of called “Somewhere On a Beach” that I wrote for Dierks Bentley. I wrote everything on my record.

AXS: You have an album out now?

MT: Yes, It’s called 317 and we released it last year in March. It’s awesome to get some music out there for people to listen to and relate to me in a way I could finally do it.

AXS: Are you working on new music now?

MT: Yes, we are working on new music and I’m saving songs that I’m in love with that I don’t have it in my heart to pitch to someone else. We are waiting to see what’s goin’ on.

AXS: Musically who has influenced you the most?

MT: I grew up listening to everyone from Jason Aldean to the Backstreet Boys to Lynyrd Skynyrd and AC/DC. That’s a hard question to answer but I’d say my primary influence is Jason Aldean. My producer also produces Aldean so there is a lot of influence there. When I heard his first couple of songs, I started writing like that. I loved it. Some of the songs on my record have that Aldean vibe to them. But I also love Keith Urban and I love everything. Not just country music.

AXS: If you could only play three albums in the next year, what would they be?

MT: That’s a tough one to narrow to only three albums.  The new Kacey Musgraves album, Golden Hour, is great. I could take that one for sure. I would do the new LANco album, Hallelujah Nights. I’d take some AC/DC, too.

AXS: Dead or alive, who would you like to see perform?

MT: Elvis all the way. I wanted to see him perform so bad. He had a way with everything he did. I watched so many interviews because that’s all I can do. I watch the documentaries and listen to his music. He was just the dude for a long time.  No one has ever surpassed the coolness of Elvis. I wish I could have seen him live.

AXS: If you were going to ask yourself a question in an interview, what would it be?

MT: One of the questions that I never get asked in an interview is ‘Are you having fun?’ My answer is heck, yeah. I’m so excited to be playing CT today. The band is excited. We’ve been talking about it all day today, all week and it’s finally here.

AXS: Do you have anything on the horizon that we need to know about?

MT: Right now we have a new single out called “Hey Mama” and it’s getting radio play right now. We are going to release the music video on Mother’s Day. We sent out some posts on Facebook asking the fans to send us pictures of their moms. We got a lot more than we thought we were going to get. We get to pick from those photos for the music video. I’m anxious for the fans to see that.