Perhaps one of my earliest memories is of being a toddler, eyes and ears fixed on the television screen in front of me that was broadcasting Garth Brooks Live from Central Park. That was the moment that started it all; I knew I wanted to spend my life making music.
Through elementary school in the small town of Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania, it wasn’t uncommon to see me performing Elvis songs for my classmates, or throwing on a cowboy hat and singing Garth Brooks for my parents and grandparents at Christmas gatherings. I started taking drum lessons when I was 10 years old, and a few years later was learning guitar and singing. Throughout high school, I played in the school band, sang in the chorus, joined a worship team, and played with as many people as possible in my little town. Through high school, I played drums for a worship team that traveled and played festivals, youth camps, and more. I was also drumming for a punk rock band. Oh yeah I was a rebel.
After high school, I attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania to study music. Around then, I started doing studio session work and continued playing out as often as I could with whichever band needed me as a drummer or guitarist. Eventually I decided to start my own band. I released my first record of original material and with the band Stillframe Sky, began playing locally and on our own self-booked tours. After SFS went our separate ways I started another group by the name Radio Empire. Once again the frontman, I spent a few years with Radio Empire, releasing records and touring as much as our school and work schedules allowed. Gosh, we had fun back in the good ol’ days.
After completing my Bachelor of Arts in Music, I dedicated my life to being a working musician in Erie, Pennsylvania. I drummed for a church, I performed as a singer-songwriter, I played guitar and sang as a sideman for whoever needed me, I sang with a choir, and I gave voice lessons. but eventually I wanted to jump into a “bigger pond” of musical professionals. With an acceptance at a Master’s program for Commercial Music in Los Angeles, I was packing up and heading for the West Coast.
LA taught me a lot about myself and the world around me. My education there was rigorous, but enjoyable. In the two years of living in Los Angeles, I continued doing the only thing I know how to do: create music! I kept writing and performing as a singer-songwriter, I played as a sideman for people, joined a Beatles cover band, recorded, and mixed projects in the studio. I developed many great relationships in Southern California that will last a lifetime.
I had been interested in moving to Nashville for awhile, and many of my colleagues and professors encouraged me to give Music City a try. In June 2014, with a Master’s degree in Commercial Music under my belt, I packed up again and headed to Nashville. I have quickly found myself involved in several projects as a sideman as well as a performing artist, session player, and songwriter. I am honored to be a part of the Nashville community, though I have always said “I’ll go where the work takes me,” and I don’t believe I’ve found where I will settle down quite yet.
So here I am, ready to play for you. I am Tyler A. James, professional musician.