Country Next: Grace Tyler
We take pride in introducing fans to country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. Here, we chat with Grace Tyler.
Photo Courtesy Grace Tyler
Grace Tyler’s solid country vocals are about to take her to the next level of country music stardom. The rising singer/songwriter, whose influences include Lee Brice, Miranda Lambert, George Strait, Carrie Underwood, and more, has all the talent to sell out large arenas all over the country.
Unlike a lot of young children, growing up, Tyler knew she was destined for the stage at an early age. She found her passion for singing as an adolescent in her home state of Frisco, Texas, where she participated in kid’s karaoke.
“I was so shy as a kid, but for some reason, give me a microphone and a stage, and this whole new person comes out,” Tyler says in her official bio, posted on her website.
As a teenager, Tyler formed a band and toured the Lone Star state before making her way to Nashville, Tenn., where she graduated from Belmont University in under four years.
Since earning her degree, Tyler has released a slew of music with songs like “Dust,” “Cowboys & Tequila,” “Bad Boy,” “My Mistake,” “Whatever It Is,” and “Texas & You.” More recently, she released “Warning Label” – a playful song that finds her sharing a message that includes the lyrics “I don’t just give my love away / So if I give it to you / It’s up to you to stay / It’s gonna be a wild ride / So you better hang out tight.”
In May, Tyler will share another brand-new track exclusively with Country Now. In the meantime, Tyler, who will take up the role as the official tourism host at the upcoming 2023 Academy of Country Music Awards, caught up with Country Now to talk about her journey in music, recent releases, and more.
Read on to find out more about Grace Tyler in this exclusive Q&A below.
How did you begin a career in country music?
So, I am from Frisco, Texas, which is right outside of Dallas. It’s considered the sports capital of the United States for kids growing up. I always thought I had to play sports, but I always loved music. There was one bar in town, and every Tuesday night, they would do kid’s karaoke. My parents thought it was, like, free babysitting. So they would drop me and my friends off. After a while, people were telling my parents that I wasn’t half bad. They had thought so too, but they didn’t know if they were biased parents. So my parents asked me if I wanted to do voice lessons, and I was like, ‘Absolutely.’ I started playing full-band gigs by the time I was 13 around the Dallas and Fort Worth area. I knew that what I was put on this earth to do was to play music and create music. So, when I graduated high school, I moved to Nashville and attended Belmont University for three years. I graduated last May, and now I’ve been doing music full-time.
Did you learn a lot about the music business while at Belmont University?
I loved it because when you move to Nashville, many places where you’re networking or meeting people are in bars or at writer’s rounds and things like that. But when you’re not 21, it’s much more challenging to meet people. So it was a unique experience with a group of people who wanted to do the same thing. For the first time in my life I was surrounded by people who love music and want to follow that as their career. We could connect in ways we couldn’t with the rest of the town until we were 21. So that was super cool. I was one of those COVID-19 college kids, so it gave me something to do when all of Nashville shut down. I graduated a year early and took extra classes during COVID-19 to help put myself ahead. So it wasn’t your typical college experience, but I’m glad I did it.
Did you always want to be both a songwriter and a performer?
I started performing before I wrote music. I did a lot of cover band stuff back in Texas. I started writing when I was 14 years old. I was insecure about my songwriting at an early age because, you know, you listen to all of the songs you love, and you’re like, ‘How can I ever write something like that?’ It just takes starting. I joke too. I say, ‘There’s not much I can write about when I was in high school that Taylor Swift hadn’t already written about,’ So, I felt like it was moving to town and experiencing life, the hard things, and also growing up and maturing, not only as a writer but as a person as well. I was blessed to get into writer’s rooms with incredibly talented writers. I think I learned just from watching what these people were doing and learning from them while I was writing with them.
Can you tell me what inspired your song “My Mistake”?
That was the first song I wrote when I moved to Nashville. I had been dating a guy throughout high school. Where I come from, it is common to marry your high school sweethearts. My parents are high school sweethearts, and their friends are high school or early college sweethearts. Growing up in that culture, I figured, ‘Oh. We had been together for two years. We’re both moving to Nashville together.’ I had all these plans for my life before life began as an adult. I was blindsided when we broke up and heartbroken. It wasn’t like I was moving away from him and could move on. He lived in the same building that I did when I moved here. We had bible class together too, and the poor professor stuck us right next to each other. I did a lot of praying for that boy, let me tell you! But it took everything I was feeling. I just threw it into words.
What was it like receiving such a positive response to that track?
Yeah. So I posted it on TikTok, and it blew up. It was crazy to see that these words I had put into a song other people were relating to. They were like, ‘I feel this way, and you explained my breakup too.’ It’s awesome to see what music can do to bring people together.
Is it therapeutic to get a song like that out into the world even though you’re in a vulnerable space?
Yes. Absolutely! I call my songs, like, time capsules – that song in particular. I’ve moved on from that relationship. I’m in a super happy new relationship now. Every time I sing that song, it brings me back to that feeling and emotion and how I felt while writing it. It makes me feel like I can still connect to people, experiencing that now because I remember those emotions. I’m glad I put in that song because I’ll forever remember the way that felt.
Your current song is called “Warning Label.” How did that song come about?
I wrote that song with Jesse Labelle. It was actually our first-ever writing session together. It’s always special when a whole song comes from just meeting somebody and opening up. The idea came while I was talking about dating, my life, and things like that. Like, ‘Oh. If a boy knew that I laid my dishes in the sink, he’d probably run away, or I get a little tipsy after a drink or two.’ I love it because girls can relate to it, and then their guys look like their girlfriends when I play it at shows. They’re laughing too because they’re like, ‘Yes. I wish you’d come with a warning label.’ But I joke around. I say, ‘Somethings you keep to yourself, and you make a guy fall in love with you. Then you can reveal a little more.’ Little things like, ‘I’m going to say I’ll be ready in ten minutes, but I’ll actually be ready in 30.’ You know, little things like that I feel like a lot of girls can relate to. It’s, again, funny seeing that a guy can relate to it as well.
How would you describe your sound to people just coming across your music?
I’d say my music is more mainstream country, but there are hints and elements of my Texas country roots. I grew up listening to many Texas artists like George Strait and Randy Rogers Band. While that’s not exactly the lane I went in with my music, there are touches of inspiration that come from that for sure. I’m a sucker for ‘90s country as well.
You’ve been selected by the Academy of Country Music Awards to be the touring host. How excited are you about that, and how are you preparing for that?
Oh my gosh! I am so excited. The ACMs are in my hometown of Frisco this year, which blows my mind. I remember when we got our first Target. So it’s insane to me. I feel blessed because Frisco isn’t a big city. It’s not Dallas, Los Angeles, or Las Vegas. So it’s cool seeing it represented by country music. I think it’s super awesome. I feel like it’s a town that gave me so much. I used to say that I grew up in the town. I was born and raised there, and we had cow fields and farms and things like that when I was a kid. That wasn’t weird. It was how it was, and now, you go there, and there’s The Star, where they’re hosting the ACMs and all of these businesses and all this tourism happening there. It makes me proud to be from there and represent my favorite local places, restaurants, things to do, and Texas gear. It has shaped me into the person I am. This community has built me up in so many ways. It’s exciting to give back a little bit and to put a spotlight on all of my favorite people and places in Frisco.
What are you most looking forward to at the 2023 ACM Awards?
That’s a good question. I’m just excited to go. I went to the ACMs with my dad when I was young. It was the last time they were in Dallas. I remember being in awe and shock, seeing all these artists there and just wanting that to be me one day. Although it’s not me getting an award or anything, it is one step closer for sure.
What can fans expect from you next?
So the plan for the rest of the year is we want to release a bunch of singles. I’m super excited about the music we have out. We’re putting out new music every couple of weeks. So, you definitely have to stick around for that. I think, this year, the plan and the music we have set in place show another side of me that I feel I haven’t shown yet. I am super excited. We’ve got the fun warning label song, but we also have some more serious, heartfelt songs coming out too. It’s going to be a cool mix of music this year.
Fans can keep up with Grace Tyler on Instagram.
Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Country Now, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.