Denver-based musician and producer Tyler Ward has a lot to celebrate. He’s got a new EP in stores, Hello. Love. Heartbreak., which only took 12 hours to hit #1 on the iTunes U.S. Singer/Songwriter charts, a quickly growing fanbase, and he’s currently touring Europe. Not so bad for someone who first gravitated toward a career in sports. Though Tyler is well known for his cover songs on YouTube, his new EP (Part 2 is coming in March), showcases his original work. Check out our interview with the talented musician and producer, in which he talks about conquering the fears that often come with releasing original work, expanding his audience through social channels, and his goals of helping young artists grow.
Congratulations on your new release Hello. Love. Heartbreak., which reached #1 on the iTunes U.S. Singer/Songwriter charts just 12 hours after its store release. What kind of marketing did you do leading up to the release?
Thank you for the support and kind words! It’s been awesome to see the response! We utilized my social media channels: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc., and kept posting every few hours to create buzz and remind people of the new album. But the biggest part of our marketing plan was out of our control. Having an incredibly loyal fan base to deliver the music was our biggest secret. My fans helped me put together the album from start to finish. They funded the album and then they consumed the album. They were ready for it. They were eager to hear it! Without them, I would have never hit number 1.
I can see that you’re very active on social media (and you’ve got an impressive 300 million video views and almost 1 million subscribers on YouTube!). What are some specific ways you use these channels to grow your brand?
I use social media for everything. From posting an emotional thought to promoting my world tour. It’s very important to me to keep that line of honest communication open with my fans.
You’ve put a lot of cover songs up on YouTube and the digital stores. What results have you seen from this?
I started posting covers on YouTube every week or two for the last 2 years. That really helped expand my audience. It helped me reach people who would have never known who I was.
You’ve talked a lot about the challenges you’ve faced when it comes to releasing your original work. What advice would you give to other artists struggling with these same fears?
To the artist who thinks he or she is not good enough: It’s a lie. As cliche as it sounds, you are your toughest critic. I’ve learned that the hard way. You will never listen to your own music the same way as the person sitting next to you. Learn to step back, breathe and let go. It’s gonna be okay.
What are your goals as an artist?
First, I would love to have a long term career. Touring for 10+ years. A top 40 hit. However, when I reach my peak, I want to develop and work side by side with young talent. I want to help someone go further than me! That would be very rewarding!
Why does TuneCore work for you?
TuneCore is great. The customer service is outstanding and I love the accounting software. It’s simple and easy to get all the download/streaming information you need!
How do you feel about streaming? Do you put your music on streaming sites? Or do you think artists aren’t fairly compensated for streams?
I honestly think streaming is the future of music. Every single month, without fail, I’m getting more and more revenue from streaming sites. iTunes has stayed consistent, but streaming is becoming more and more of my main source of income.
What have you learned from the artists whose work you help produce in Tyler Ward Studios? Has your own approach to music been shaped by working with other artists?
Working with and producing many different artists, I’ve learned that a great song is invaluable. If you are an average musician but have amazing songs, you will have a lot more opportunity than the great musician with mediocre songs. I’ve taken this knowledge and tried my best to create great original songs every time. With that said, I’m a huge fan of co-writing because other people can sometimes add that extra line, word or phrase to make your good song into a great song. The music is everything!
What’s the most important tip you could give to an independent artist trying to get his or her music out there?
Find out what you love to do and what you are good at, then do it. Work hard and don’t make excuses. If you really love what you do you will find a way to solve every issue that comes your way. Eventually, if you’re supposed to be doing music, it WILL work out!
What can we look forward to next?
I’ll be releasing Hello.Love.Heartbreak. Part 2 in march of 2013 and I’ll be on tour for the next three months in Europe/US/Canada. In fact, I’m answering these questions from a hotel room in Berlin right now! ;) Can’t wait to see you guys on the road!