Seven Questions In Heaven With Tylan

Tylan, formerly of Girlyman, will be releasing her first solo album, One True Thing, on June 18th. Today, she's spending Seven Questions In Heaven with us.

Describe your music for our readers who may not be familiar with you.
Genre-wise my music is alt-folk singer-songwriter. Lyric-and melody driven. Musically/lyrically I've been compared to Patty Griffin, Janis Ian, Bruce Springsteen, etc. If I'm going to flatter myself, I'll say I'm like the love child of Woody Guthrie and KD Lang, if such a thing were possible or desirable.

Who are your musical influences and idols?
There are so many artists under the radar who haven't gotten the recognition they deserve, people like AG, Kris Delmhorst, Coyote Grace, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Antje Duvekot. I'm constantly inspired by my peers who have been doing this for years, writing incredible songs, recording CDs on their own dime, working their asses off, and playing night after night for very little money. I also look up to great songwriters like Ani DiFranco, Paul Simon, Dar Williams, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Indigo Girls, Bruce Springsteen, etc.

What was the first album, cassette, or CD you bought with your own money?
Michael Jackson's Thriller was the first album I was completely obsessed with, but I'm not sure I was old enough to buy it myself. I probably went to the mall and bought Wham's Make It Big myself. George Michael was just the consummate pop star to me back then.

You just finished a tour and have a little lull before hitting the road again on May 5th. What are you up to?
Well, I do have a couple weeks off, but to be honest, trying to run my own business takes up most of my time these days. The touring is kind of the easy part; it's the reward for all the work that goes on behind the scenes. But I do at the moment live on an organic CSA farm in Sonoma County, which is pretty dreamy, and the weather is starting to get really beautiful. So I've been going wine tasting and making little trips to the East Bay, where my girlfriend and I are hoping to relocate this summer. We're hoping the perfect place will just magically materialize for us, so if anyone knows of such a place, let me know! I just moved to the Bay area in January, so there's a lot for me here to explore when I get the time.

One of your Kickstarter rewards was a dinner party at your Atlanta home. How did that go? Were you a little nervous about it?
It was great! Like really, really great. I had no idea how it would go and I definitely wondered if I was a little nuts for inviting a bunch of people I didn't know (and who didn't know each other) to my house for dinner (which I cooked). But it was a real treat for me in the end. When people first started arriving I was sweating a little, and they seemed shy and nervous too. I had that moment of, "Oh no, this was the worst idea ever." But then slowly people started to warm up and talk to each other, and by the end of the night we were all sitting around the living room chatting and laughing and singing songs. It was a really wonderful experience for me to get to know some of my biggest supporters in such an intimate context, and it happened at an important moment, right as my solo shows were beginning. I felt nervous about trying to establish a career outside of Girlyman, and here was a room full of people telling me that my songs are important to them. It helped.

Now that you've had a chance to do both, do you prefer recording as a solo artist or as a member of a band?
It's not that I prefer one over the other. I think being in Girlyman was perfect for that stage of my life. I loved being part of an ensemble, and I loved collaborating with such talented songwriters and musicians. And right now, doing this project feels very right to me. I'm learning how to call my own shots musically and I'm growing in huge ways creatively and as a performer. In many ways it feels like Girlyman was excellent training for what I'm doing now. The other thing is that "solo" is a very deceptive term; you never really do anything in a vacuum. Everything is a cooperative effort, from making the record with Michael Thomas Connolly (who produced One True Thing) to playing shows with Ingrid Elizabeth (who is a member of Coyote Grace and also is my partner). But I am really enjoying exploring my own voice and seeing what I'm capable of. I've been very lucky because my career has been engaging and fulfilling at every turn. And I'm really loving this new chapter!

You're the opening act of a music festival. You can get any five artists, living or dead, to perform on the bill with you. Which five do you choose and what song do you all perform as the final jam?
Living or dead? Oh boy. How about Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and Ani DiFranco? And let's sing "I Shall Be Released."

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