On autopilot to fame

From the bedroom to the stage, Tyler Ward chats to Stephen Larkin about becoming an overnight sensation and why he wants to work with Taylor SwiftEvery musician sits in their room dreaming of being the next big thing. It seems like an impossible dream, but Tyler Ward is proof that it can happen. Creating original sounding covers and collaborating with others via YouTube, Ward has made a unique path for himself out of the bedroom and into the spotlight.Ward’s links with social media are an aspect of his success that he deeply values and likes that it helps him maintain a strong, tangible connection with his fans. “Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram; all the social medias are so important to keep engaged with your fans daily to just remind them that you’re there.”Ward has an infectious positivity, an aspect of his personality that led to trouble in his time at an Air Force College. “I was laughing too much so they made me clean floors and scrub toilets, it was just crazy.”Despite this being reprimanded for his effervescent charm, he is thankful for his experience there. “I learned how to instill discipline in me, it taught me how to work hard even when I didn’t feel like it. I always tell that to young artists; you got to find what you like and work hard.”For Ward, music seems to have picked him, no matter how much he tried to get away from it. “I just fell in love with how it made me feel and there was just nothing like that. I was starting out to become a teacher, I felt this pull towards music and I was like ‘I got do it, I got to do music.’”Ward’s online presence started out small with videos “just for fun, friends and family… I didn’t think anything of it.” That changed quickly, almost by accident as he explains, “In 2010 I thought I’d do a cover of ‘We Are The World’ with some of the people I was working with and it hit a million views really quick.”It didn’t take long to figure out why. “The Winter Olympics was on that year, it was on like February 10th or February 11th, something like that and I uploaded my video the day before and the Winter Olympics put out a video of ‘We Are The World’ with all these famous celebrities and that was the most searched video in YouTube history and mine was right below it, so it got really popular.“So I started covering a bunch of songs and it allowed me to have this growing fanbase and then I started to put out originals here and there and that led to touring and more music. I didn’t realise it was going to get so big, I wake up every day going ‘Is this real?’”While he is a solo act, Ward is equally impressive when collaborating with others. “One of my favourite collaborations was with Jason Derulo, we got to do a song together. Going from a kid in his dad’s basement to working with megastars is overwhelming but really exciting.”One artist he really wants to work with is Taylor Swift. It’s been well noted that he has a bit of a thing for the boyfriend-hating star. “I once wrote a song for her called ‘Tyler Swift’ and the lyric was “I even promise you this, I’ll change my name to Swift”… I would love to collaborate on a song with her called ‘You’re the problem.’”Although covers and co-operations with other artists are what made him big, original music is where he wants to head and his new album will highlight this intention. “The album’s called Honestly and the cool thing about the album to me is that they’re all my original songs and it’s mostly a story about my failed relationships. Not to say I always suck at relationships, but I kind of do.”Most new artists are usually nervous for their first record, but Ward has no fears about it. “I put out a six song EP last year, it was all original music and that’s when I was really nervous… but for my first album, it only made sense to do all original music because that’s what a true artist would do.”With a blossoming fanbase, Ward seems to be adamant that he’ll keep that personal touch with them all. “It’s so funny because my fans know those details about me so they know me really well and it can feel overwhelming sometimes, but they get it and they know me. Like when I’m upset, they can sense that. It’s weird, it’s almost like my fans are my girlfriend, kind of bizarre.”Bizarre maybe, although no fan seems to be complaining about the situation. And who wouldn’t want Tyler Ward as a best friend?Tyler Ward is playing Whelans on the 16th of November. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.ie.