Bryson Tiller

Bryson Tiller

May 10/2016
WORDS Erin Lowers

Since the introduction of The Weeknd, the world has become familiar with a new sound in R&B, one that’s fuelled by drug addictions, dark atmospheres and moody vibes – all of which have subsequently laid out the blueprint for several artists to come, including Kentucky native Bryson Tiller. What’s been understood as a niche ‘Toronto Sound’ has taken its journey across the border and into this 23-year-old’s world, spawning hits like “Exchange” and “Don’t”, and even inciting The Weeknd to jump on “Rambo” himself.

For Bryson Tiller, a high school dropout, success has come at an alarming pace. He started making music and quickly landed on Timbaland’s radar. “[He] told me to quit my job. [I] went down there and he was busy,” he says of the opportunity. “He had this artist named Tink that he was working with, and he was really focused on her, and he didn’t really have time for me and didn’t think it through. He felt bad, but you know, it just told me there’s no turning back. I had already quit my job and I worked really hard to get that job, so now I gotta keep going. I gotta keep making music and see where it goes,” he states firmly.

This game is all about the decisions you make, the people you meet and who you surround with.’ I just always kept that in my mind.

Not long after that encounter Bryson once again captured the attention of the music industry elite – OVO Sound, to be exact. While it was rumored that he had signed to the label’s imprint, Tiller ultimately settled down with RCA Records, following the advice of his manager and lawyers. “There was really nothing at RCA that made me want to sign with RCA. Obviously I wanted to sign to Drake, but I’m happy with RCA now – very happy, actually,” he says. But prior to that decision, he sat down with both Noah “40” Shebib and Drake for some words of wisdom. “[40 and I] really just talked about things sonically, and stuff like sound and music. We also talked about the things you have to do when you’re signed to a major label,” he says. “And Drake, when I first talked to him and asked him for some advice, he said this to me and I’ll never forget: ‘A lot of really talented people fall deeper and deeper into a hole based on this character… This game is all about the decisions you make, the people you meet and who you surround with.’ I just always kept that in my mind.”

Bryson admits that he never listened to Kentucky artists growing up, but rather the likes of Chris Brown and Omarion instead – with the exception of one artist. “Static Major is from Louisville, Kentucky, and he has a different way of approaching every song and harmonies and stuff like that, and I try to implement that in my music too,” he says. Static isn’t the only influence in Bryson’s music, as he goes on to say: “I really want to work with The-Dream. I wanna figure out how he’s been doing all the stuff I fell in love with. I just wanna sit down and pick his brain, like ‘Yo, how did you do this?’ He’s a dope harmonist, and I always wanted to know how to do that.”

If there’s any advice the young rising talent has, it’s to stabilize the fame and family. “Don’t get caught up in anything – not even in work. I got family back home and I can get caught up all the foolishness and ruin what I have back home, and if I get caught up in work, I can still possibly ruin what I got back home, know what I mean? I just try to keep everything balanced.”

As for the rest of the year, Tiller has two goals – create a solid album, and “chill with my daughter.”

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