A Steady Beat

After splitting from the rock band, I Anthem, in 2008, Tyler Edwards began work as a solo artist and focused on finding his own style. After releasing one solo EP in 2015, Edwards recently released his first full-length album, A Few Good Hearts. With this album, he covers topics relating to a simple life of doing what one enjoys, and presents his new style in a gentle and clear way.

A Few Good Hearts’ folk/country style is greatly influenced by Edwards’ childhood in South Carolina, where he discovered his love for creating music. It was here that he decided that music was what he wanted to do with his life. In 2015, Edwards moved to Seattle, and began to collect a fan base of locals; his shows often sell out venues around the city.

Edwards has a lot to say about his busy life, and what it was like to create A Few Good Hearts.

Caroline LaMotta: When did you know that writing and performing songs was what you wanted to do in life? (was it only the music or some event that made the difference?)
Tyler Edwards: I realized music and writing was what I wanted to do in High School after quitting baseball. Up until that point in life, all I thought about and wanted to do was play baseball. I never imagined anything could touch my passion for that... but music entered the picture. I was in a place of searching. Writing helped me work though that and still does. Then once I starting playing my songs for people, I got hooked. There is nothing else I would rather be doing.
What was it like transitioning from a member of a rock group, to finding your own style as a solo artist? How is writing and recording different for you now?
One of the biggest changes was realizing that I couldn't hide behind a wall of music. I wanted to write songs that I could play by myself in someone's living room. In that space, the silence really highlights how good or bad the lyrics are. The transition was awkward at first.. I went from trying to fill a room with the excitement and energy of a band to trying to create a unique silence of intentional listening. When that happens, it is amazing. I also became more comfortable with being myself on stage and letting my guard down. I think that comes through in the songs and the spontaneous banter between songs. Lately, I have a band behind me for bigger venues, but I love being able to enjoy both sides of the songs. But I would say I spend way more time searching for the right lyrics now.
Since moving from South Carolina to Seattle, how have your surroundings changed your music?
It has been a positive experience for expanding my musical palate. The appreciation of art and differences has been really cool. I think that is one reason why I came here. I wanted to be in a place where everyone seems to be asking big questions and still trying to appreciate different backgrounds and paths. So, I would say it has changed my music by making me proud of where I come from and also proud of where I am. I think the music I am writing now shows my southern roots but also brings some different musical flavors from what my friends have turned me on to.
Can you describe what a typical day looks like for you when you’re recording?
[H]aha... well this recording process was bizarre. I was working two part time jobs while recording to cover all my bills. Some days, I would open up a coffee shop, record on my lunch break, go work at an after school program, and then come back after that to record some more. But on a full day of recording, we would start by listening through the tracks and latest additions from the day before. It is important to give your ears a break before you listen or make any drastic changes. So, starting the day by listening is always a good way to decide if you love or hate something. From there, we had a list of things to do for each song. Usually the meat and potatoes happen early in the morning... bass, drums, rhythm guitar, piano. Mid day is for vocals, melodies, arrangements, tweaks. The end of the day is usually the grunt work... you have decided what needs to get done. The early day kind of sets the vision of things to finish and get ready for the next day. It constantly evolves and changes though... the days change based on what stage you are at in the record. Lots of coffee.... that is a constant.
What was your main inspiration when writing and recording A Few Good Hearts?
My biggest inspiration and driving force was my love of songwriting and poetry. I really pushed myself to dig deeper into lyrics. This was sometimes really frustrating... but when I had "breakthroughs" that always charged the battery. A break through can come in many ways and forms. So, I was constantly listening and reading. I worked on some of these songs for over two years. I was pulling from things I was going through, things I heard about, and things I faintly remembered. By the time I got into the studio, I knew I had songs that I believed in lyrically and melodically. The recording process was about pushing the songs to a different place sonically but staying true. I have never felt so connected to songs, but that is because I spent time picking them apart and building them back up.
What message would you like A Few Good Hearts to share with your listeners?
I'll let the songs speak for the songs. But I hope that the listener will be encouraged to hear that I am doing what I love in my own way. I hope that by trying to be true to myself other people will want to do the same.
 Do you have anything else you would like to share about your hopes for your music? (And your future plans?)
I write songs to share with people. My biggest goal is to write and play songs that connect. I am really excited to get back on the road and share songs with strangers and friends. The best music is the kind that your friend tells you about; so if you enjoy, I hope you share.

by Caroline LaMotta