Tyler Matthew Smith’s music fuses Folk, Soul, Rock and World music. His life fuses music, social good…and living in his van.
“I've spent the last two-and-a-half years living in my van, traveling with my music when I could, substitute teaching and avoiding the detection of neighborhood watch when I couldn't.” Such is the temporary, nomadic life of a musician.
Tyler calls himself a horn player turned troubadour, which is on full display in his debut LP “Hamdulillah” released late last year. His background on the horn is mostly in funk, soul, blues, and jazz, but currently, his lyrical songwriting leans more towards folk than anything. “My musicality is really more rock though, so the sound sits somewhere in between.” You can clearly hear influences of Paul Simon, Bruce Hornsby, Bonnie Rait, and Jackson Browne in his music.
Growing up in the small California foothill town of Nevada City, his parents, both public school teachers, were strongly influenced by the music and message of the 1960’s. The family lived in tents while they built their house—logging the property, and milling the lumber themselves. Surely this work ethic and musical influence shaped Tyler’s career and lifestyle choices.
While he began playing the saxophone in the 6th grade, Tyler’s evolution into a career in music does not tow a direct line. He studied political science at university, and worked for the New York City Council on education policy before ultimately being lured into a career of music, driven by his passion in both music and social good.
“I started writing songs with the idea in mind that the challenges we face as a society (particularly as exemplified in public education) are deeper than can be solved by acute solutions. The songs I started to write were really focused on personal renewal, awareness, and mental health, which was a combination of needing that for my own healing and identifying those things as important tools for social good.”
ARTICLE CONTINUES ON THE NEXT PAGE