10 Questions with ... Tyler Farr
February 9, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Born and raised in the small town of Garden City, Missouri, Farr was first introduced to Country music at age 16, when he spent a summer on the road with his stepfather, who played lead guitar for country icon George Jones. Farr grew to love country music, and he decided to make the move to Nashville to pursue a career as an artist.
He landed a job working as a bouncer at the legendary Tootsie's Orchid Lounge for five months until he was able to convince management to let him sing. For the next few years, he played the Tootsie's stage four nights a week, in addition to working security at the door.
An avid outdoorsman, Farr found a friend in award-winning songwriter and fellow outdoorsman, Rhett Akins. Rhett had heard some of Farr's music, and he wanted to work with him. After writing with some of the best songwriters in Nashville, Farr eventually landed a publishing deal with Sony ATV/Monument Publishing, and it was that connection that ultimately helped him land his recording contract on Sony Music, with Columbia Nashville.
Farr celebrated his first career #1 single in October, when "Redneck Crazy" topped the charts. The song reached platinum status and was the lead single and title track from his debut album on Columbia.
1. Hey Tyler, and thanks for chatting with us. You have a lot going on and it looks like 2014 will be a busy year. First let's talk about touring with Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line; we're talking stadiums here! Intimidating?
No, it's not intimidating. I remember playing acoustic as an opening act for ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd several years ago for stadium crowds, and playing in Colt Ford's band with Hank Williams Jr, so I've grown accustomed to playing different environments. The only intimidating part is wanting to make a good impression on artists that you respect and look up to, like Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean.
2. We've seen you play a club and you make a strong connection with fans, who are just a few feet away. What's the trick to making that same connection on the Aldean tour when some concert goers will be a football field away?
Run out to them and sing right in their face.
3. You've already been out with Florida Georgia Line, another big tour in 2013. What can a new artist learn from that experience?
Florida Georgia Line has made their own impact and brand on country music. Whether you are a fan or not a fan of that, they are creating what every artist wants to create, a strong brand. As a new artist, you can learn from how quickly and effectively they've accomplished that.
4. Now a question about a completely different audience: The CRS New Faces Show in February. This show has launched careers for many, many artists through the years. What's your reaction to being selected - by radio, incidentally - and what does it mean for you?
My reaction is, first of all, that it's just an honor to be up on stage with some of the artists that are up there, and I'm extremely humbled that country radio selected me, Because being selected for CRS New Faces is them saying, 'we believe in you,' and I am so honored by that.
5. While we're on the subject of accolades, "Redneck Crazy" was an American Country Award nominee and your first #1 single. The song had some early doubters but ultimately endured and became one of the most played songs of 2013. Did YOU ever doubt the song's potential?
I never doubted the songs potential. I was never certain it was going to be a hit, or a #1 song, but I knew big things come with big chances and so we took a big chance and the results. It was my first #1 and first platinum-selling single.
6. Your debut album for Columbia Nashville had a strong debut. That indicates some depth of material beyond "Redneck Crazy." Tell us about the song selection process; how many were considered?
Many years of songwriting went into the album. Just as soon as we thought we had the album, I would write another song, and we just adding to it. I kept shaping the alum-almost like a painting-and once we had all the right colors and pieces into place, it was ready. I wanted to make a project that my fans could buy and listen to from start to finish, and enjoy.
7. What's the VEVO "Will Travel For Music" project all about?
It was an honor to be the first country artist ever selected for VEVO's "Will Travel For Music," and show people some of my favorite places in Nashville.
8. Would it surprise you that it surprised me when I learned you had classical voice training as a younger person? Your voice has a great edge to it. What did that early training do to help your style now?
Not it wouldn't. My voice does have a lot of gravel and edge to it thanks to the days in the honkey tonks, when you could still smoke, and thanks to whiskey. The early vocal training helped to create a large vocal range for me, so I can sing with control and use it to get different emotions across.
9. Tell us about your connection to the late, great George Jones and how that impacted your music.
I learned how to tell a story from him, by watching him play on the road. My stepfather at the time was George Jones' guitar player, and so I was able to get out there and watch him.
10. You're a songwriter too and have been able to make a connection with Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson and others. What have you learned about the craft from those guys?
Hard work pays off. They write and write and write. Also, how to be versatile and not to be afraid to step out of the box and take big risks.
1. You're from a town with 800 people and no stoplights. Say I visit Garden City, MO .. what can we do all day for fun?
Hunt. Fish. Drink Beer. Etc. Etc. Not a lot to do.
2. You worked the door at Tootsie's on Lower Broadway in Nashville. How many people who came in really knew anything about Country music?
I think that anyone who walks in has an appreciation for country music, and if they didn't when they walked in, they appreciated it when they walked out.
3. Give us your take on the so-called "Bro-Country" trend in the format right now.
My answer to that is what is "Bro-Country?" Because really, I still have no idea what that means. Can you Wikipedia that?