Tyler Ward: A taste of America in London
Colorado-born singer Tyler Ward took the stage at Dingwalls, Camden Town, to an intimate crowd of around 150 last night, 23rd February. The 23-year-old, who spoke to me of his six-year pursuit to make it as a singer, started performing in his mum’s basement before shooting to relative fame through his popular covers of well-known chart hits on YouTube.
Having supported the likes of the Jonas Brothers, Ryan Cabrera and Gavin DeGraw, Ward definitely fits into this typical American high school pop-rock genre which he described as “sing-along radio-friendly music”.
Whether Tyler’s style will be appreciated by us Brits, a nation of – shall we say – more cynical minds than our American counterparts will be interesting to see.
Whilst Ward is undeniably talented and has a genuinely strong singing voice, I personally found his performance rather over the top and exaggerated in a way that characterises the kind of teenage puberty stricken – let’s get all our feelings out through singing about them – type pop rock.
From the fashion, with each band member wearing black shirts and a different colour tie, to the performance style which included choreographed dances and mock heavy metal head bashing, to the choice of songs, all just seemed dated and frankly, rather tacky. If Ward is loved in the US, the performance didn’t fit in London’s musical scene. There was no sense of modern innovative breakthrough music and it felt more like karaoke, albeit a very upscale karaoke.
As Ward sifted his way through covers ranging from Oasis, Katy Perry, Adele and The Beatles to Coldplay and Ed Sheeran to Shaggy’s Angel, there seemed to be no consistency. Ward’s style changed from song to song and even his original songs provided an assortment of acoustic love ballads, wannabe heavy metal tracks and Jason Mraz-type beat bopper tunes.
To be fair, Ward is clearly trying to show diversity and perhaps reflect the variety of his musical influences who he credited as The Goo Goo Dolls and Tupac, but a jack of all trades is a master of none.
Ward has got the talent but needs to majorly strip back until he can focus this raw talent in a direction that he really believes in, especially if he wants to make it here among a nation of British critics.
On the plus side, Ward has definitely got the drive it takes to make it; his passion and love for what he does oozes out contagiously. He writes all his own material and after each show he packs all the equipment into a minibus which the band take turn in driving around Britain to their 22 shows.
The crowd did seem to encompass a number of die-hard Tyler Ward fans who knew every lyric and had been to every show. Truth be told, most of them were under 18. Maybe this is Ward’s target audience; providing a kind of overdramatic and emotional yet clean cut and parent-friendly style that would work well in a teenage market. If he wants to make it with us adults, he needs to grow up and produce a sleeker, sexier and more sophisticated sound.
For more information on Tyler Ward click here.
Listen to Tyler Ward’s cover of Paradise here: