Toronto indie-pop singer Tyler Budd didn’t think much would come of it when he started making music, but due to a persistent creative spirit and some key connections in the music industry, what began as a casual pandemic hobby has steadily grown into something that Budd can call a resounding success. The summery romantic charms of his recent track “Love, In Paris” even made enough of an impression to land a critical promo spot on the season finale of Good Girls.
Beginning his career as a photographer shooting acts like Greta Van Fleet and Skratch Bastid, Budd’s latest single “Blink” sees him continuing to make the most out of his distinctive airy falsetto as he sings about living in the moment and indulging in every second of a perfect love connection. According to Budd, the single was meant to sound “like if George Harrison and Jeff Buckley bumped into each other downtown and smoked a joint.”
Produced by Steve Stout of the iconic rock band Lifehouse and coming equipped with some trippy visuals designed by surrealist Brazilian artist Takii, “Blink” feels like a 70s-inspired, beachside summer anthem, released just in time to brighten up the depths of February.
We caught up with Budd to talk about his new artistic venture, his love for Clint Eastwood, and his latest single.
You’ve said that making music began as a pandemic hobby. What were the early goings like, and when did you realize this could be for real?
It was mostly just trial and error. Playing around with the limited chords I did know until I thought I found something cool. I was luckily enough to link up with someone way more talented than me, Herag Sanbalian to produce my first three tracks. I think I realized there might be something there when I had my first sync placement in the series finale of Good Girls or getting on a couple Editorial playlists. It was kind of a head nod like “Hey, this is alright.”
Who have been some of your musical inspirations?
Definitely Jeff Buckley. I spent a lot of time in Valencia for grad school and would just plop on my headphones on the way home from lunch with a bit of a buzz. Siestas are a real thing. As sad as this may sound, I’ve heard Sgt. Pepper for the first time this year and have been obsessed since.
Do you have a different creative approach when it comes to music vs. your time as a music photographer?
For photography it’s definitely the Law of Averages. I wish I could say I was a technician, but I was 100 per cent an auto-focus bandit. I went in with the mindset that I wouldn’t regret a photo I didn’t take. It made for some file management issues, but I always felt I came away with the best possible result. Music for me is the exact opposite. It comes in waves or is very fragmented. I’m far from proficient, so getting to a level when I can capitalize or make the most out of a moment is what I’m trying to focus on. As well as just simply doing more of it.
What’s been the best part of your new creative pursuit so far?
Meeting new people for sure – I’ve been pretty into playlisting lately and I was lucky enough to present the Spotify Arbitrage model I built at Berklee College Music. Through that process, I ended up meeting Steve Stout who produced the record, when he was submitting songs to one of my playlists for projects he’s in like Øzwald and Lifehouse. It also allowed me to stay connected to people throughout the pandemic. Justin Zuccato was the first person to ever write a song and be like “Hey, you should sing this.” When we recorded the vocals for “Blink” he had a very clear vision of what he wanted, usually I think of notes as steps or feathers when singing. So this was a real education and the track is definitely better for it.
How did you get connected to the surrealist designer Takii and what do you like about his art style?
Takii slid into the DMs. A lot of Brazilian designers have a really cool cut and paste quality to their graphics. The surreal scenes that he features in his work and character elements are really unique and playful. I lucked out with the artwork he created for this one.
You namedrop Clint Eastwood in the lyrics – what’s your favourite Clint Eastwood movie?
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly jumps to the top of my mind as a visual moment, but he’s also directed some pretty great stuff over his career. He’s just classic.
What are your next steps? Do you have any plans to take things into a more live music setting – and if so, what would that look like?
I took a short hiatus when I picked up a little Suzuki cruiser and started working on a musical instrument NFT project. But I’ve finally gotten into writing again, for myself and for other people. I would love to play live and build out a show. I might start with putting some short videos out, but I’d like to find the right partners to help release more music first.