Virtual Gardening with Tyler Major

Interview By Nayla’ Savannah

I discovered Tyler Major one night through the world wide web and the details are something we will not discuss… I was drawn in by how dreamy the production was on Random Heart/ Meadow garden (Final Phase), and from then on out I have been a fan. I was certain that I was going to be a producer and that this was a great guy to look up to.
Tyler Major is a member of NRK aka Nobody Really Knows which is a musician collective based out of Atlanta. The music that comes from Tyler and NRK are sounds that cannot be matched. You cannot go on Youtube and type in Tyler Major type beat and expect anything remotely in the same headspace. Tyler makes new age funk and that is a perfectly fitting description.
Artists often learn about their favorite artists second hand, but not often like this. I finally get to sit in Tyler’s (Virtual) Garden and learn some tips  
What do you use to produce?
I use Ableton and a midi keyboard.
What was your first piece of equipment? Still have it?
My first keyboard was the SH-201 synthesizer by Roland. I got it in 2010 when I started making beats but only ever used it for its midi capabilities. Unfortunately, I had to get rid of it when I moved to Los Angeles the summer of 2015.
If you had to choose between rapping and producing which one would you choose to give up?
I’d give up rapping in a heartbeat. I couldn’t imagine having to rely on other people for my production.   Anyone can sound good rapping once you get your craft down, but if the production isn’t unique, interesting, or mixed well, you’re just another person that can rhyme words together pretty good. Production is how you set yourself apart from the rest.
How did you get started making music?
Well I had been adamantly writing songs/verses since middle school. I wasn’t recording yet but was just infatuated with the art of rap, delivery, flow, structure and just studying my favorite emcees and getting better technically…I started recording and producing my own music when I met NRK at high school my junior year in 2009. I’ve been creating and releasing projects ever since.
What do you believe being a successful musician takes?
Everyone measures success differently but I believe that once you find your sound, start playing it for people you know have similar musical interests. Once those people start to really enjoy your music and look forward to hearing your next release/songs, keep those people involved and excited about your music. I’m a firm believer in the “grass roots” route as an artist. Gain one listener at a time, keep them coming back for more music, and be 100% transparent and genuine with those people that constantly support what you do.
What's your favorite verse you ever wrote?
Verses are like people to me. They each have their own story to tell, purpose and multiple layers to be peeled back to find the beauty in them. My favorite verse always changes but my favorite verse right now is “This Fruit” from my “As The Water Falls” project. I feel like it’s a great representation of what I do lyrically, who I am as an artist, what I stand for and how I blend it all in with my production.
Are Ad-libs important?
They can be but most of the time because my music is based around atmosphere/vibe in relation to my lyrics, I don’t like a lot of distractions from those 2 things working off of each other.
What's your favorite flower or plant?
Tulips all day.
Why flowers? Why a garden?
Because gardens like most nature, represents a sense of stillness, ease, release, and relaxation. I’ve always created my music from that inner space. Like that feeling you have after you decided to randomly take a walk outside to clear your head. That same calm feeling is what inspires my sounds, my arrangements and my mixes.
Any instruments you'd like to play?
I’d like to learn to play the harp one day. One of the most angelic sounding instruments there are out there next to the flute.
Favorite musician of all time?
That’s tough. But I’d have to say Lonnie Liston Smith. The emotions he can articulate through his piano playing is uncanny. You can feel every melody he plays. He’s the reason why I play all my melodies by hand. I never program melodies. The human touch to the keys translates more soul to music than clicking notes with a mouse ever will.
What's the best joint project you've put out so far?
It would have to be “The Moon Lookin Fye Again: The Album” by Coodie Breeze and myself. Technically, he rapped and I made the beats but we really produced those records together. From arrangements, sample choices, tempos, topics, everything. We’ve known each other since the playground so when we create, we are a lot more open and free flowing with each other’s ideas than we would be with someone else.
Do you enjoy working on collaborations?
I enjoy collaborations where everyone puts their egos aside to make the best music possible with the skills we all bring to the table organically. The best thing about music is the best work just happens. Not a lot of predetermined nonsense. Just that vibe is there and that’s what usually resonates with the listener.
What's the best advice you've gotten so far?
It sounds really cliché but staying true to your sound and who you are as a person will help you get to where you wanna go more than anything else. If you make the music that’s true to you and what you love and learn how to translate that passion to other like-minded people, you will always be around the right people that “get” you musically. You can take a lot of different paths in this music game that might not necessarily be right for you and can hinder your growth/success. Know yourself and sky’s the limit.
If you didn't do any collabs would you be where you are now?
Definitely not. I’ve learned something new in all of my collaborations I’ve been a part of. Whether its new techniques, creative exercises, time management, etc. So many things I incorporate into my daily creative process that make me a much better musician and producer.
Listening to Tyler Major’s discography is like taking a trip into an alternate universe full of peace, music and gardens. You can listen to tyler’s music in any mood and hear different nuances in his music and lyrics that continue to make him a unique and pleasing musician to hear. I hope you hear the magic I hear when I listen to his music.
You can find him in these locations on the interwebs: