Tyler Hammond has a solid traditional country sound mixed with phenomenal songwriting and "If I Don't" sounds like a smash you would hear coming out of your truck speakers. A man that doesn't shy away from his roots and writes songs about truth and experience, which helps his authenticity shine. I sat down with Tyler and talked about his single "If I Don't", the two guys that really made an impacted on him when he moved to Nashville, and how moving to Nashville as soon as possible is key.
Get To Know Tyler
"I was born and raised in Thomaston, Georgia. Nobody knows where that is, so it's like 2 hours south of Atlanta. I really didn't start playing music until later on. My stepdaddy played guitar so he showed me some chords, this was when I was a junior in high school. I kind of picked it up and played a little bit, but didn't think much of it. I went to Georgia College in Milledgeville and that's where I actually started playing music and had a lot of fun doing it. After that, I started rolling with it and have been doing music for about 8 years. I have been in Nashville for 2 years."
Authenticity = Success
You don't need to listen to a full song to hear if someone is singing about real life experiences and being authentic. It sounds silly, but for so many songs nowadays you don't feel the raw emotions behind them. It feels like someone is reading off lyrics from someone else's life. Tyler Hammond digs deep and his music shines with songs that are in depth and pull out authentic, deep feelings that everyone can relate to. A traditional sound that you can tell comes from a true place, you can feel the emotion in each line. In the end, it tells a complete story that rings true to Tyler and so many of us. "If I Don't" preaches living in the moment and realizing what is in front of you before it's too late. I think we have all taken someone for granted before and when they are gone it hurts like hell. A damn good song.
Inspiration Behind "If I Don't"
Written By: Tyler Hammond, Josh Phillips & Michael Foster
"I wrote this one with my buddies Josh Phillips and Mike Foster. We had the title come up while we were all talking and decided to run with it. In relationships, it’s so easy to become content or get comfortable. This is a reminder to always make your person feel special. Feel loved. Feel wanted. So this story just says always remember. Someone else will, if you don’t."
Q & A With Tyler Hammond
Q: What was that "light bulb" moment that you knew you wanted to pursue music?
A: "I grew up my whole life listening to Country Music. I vaguely remember as a young kid, my mom would put me to sleep at night with the TV on and it would be tuned to CMT and Country Music videos would play all night long. Every radio in my mom's car and my dad's truck were always playing Country Music. I grew up mostly on sports and the outdoors like fishing. My stepdad is a big fisherman and I've hunted my entire life. I have more dead animals on my walls than anyone I know. I started playing music a little bit, but when I got to school I played around apartments and bonfires. I didn't know what I was doing but one time a friend of mine knew a guy who had a venue. They let me play on a Tuesday night. It was for a couple hours and I only knew about 15 songs and was almost making stuff up along the way. I did that throughout school and after that I kind of had a band going. I really thought this whole thing was cool and was touring a bit. Once I graduated, I worked a “real job” for a little while. Finally, one day it just clicked and I realized this was the time to do music and that I couldn't waste anymore time. It hit me - either I was going to work the rest of my life or try this music thing. Well, here I am."
Q: Who were some of the first couple of influential people that you met in town and how have they impacted you personally and musically?
A: "Like I said, I started a band with some guys in college. One of those guys, Thomas Archer, was my band leader, lead guitar player and the guy I wrote most of my songs with. Thomas wrote Hurricane for Luke Combs, and a bunch of other huge songs. Half of the stuff I have on Spotify right now, I wrote with him. He was a big help, of course. Another influence is Josh Phillips. I've known him for years playing music and stuff. I've written a lot of songs with him as well. He's a guy that's been telling me "hey dude, you got to do this". He's been a big help to me as well."
Q: What's one of the drunkest nights of your life?
A: "There's a bunch. But I will even say in August at the Whiskey Jam 15th anniversary for Loser's. Some friends of mine flew in, just a bunch of people were in town. I got home from a run on a Monday at like 2:30 and we started drinking right away. I’d been gone on the road for 3 days. We didn't stop drinking and were still at the Red Door around 2am. I know we were all hurting the next day. It was a really fun night, super hot out. We didn't even make it to the end of the night. I had a buddy who was hanging on the fence and texted me to come rescue him."
Q: If you could go back 5 years, what advice would you give your younger self?
A: "I would tell myself to move to Nashville sooner. That's the one thing I really learned. Nashville is a place where you have to "play the game" as most people would call it. I'm the furthest person from ever wanting to do that, but I learned you really do gotta get in there and make connections. Before, we were touring more than some Nashville acts. We were playing 48 out of 52 weeks and I thought I was doing everything I needed to, but without having a foot down in Nashville it's not the same."