Tayler Lynch was a teenager with a budding television acting career already under his belt when he heard a song that inspired him enough to change career paths.
“I heard Brad Paisley’s ‘Letter to Me’ on the radio one day,” he said. “And, it hit me right then, and I was like, ‘I want to do this. I want to affect people the way that song just affected me.’”
Three album releases later, the young songwriter and vocalist from Louisville, Ky., is making noise in Music City and beyond. He sat down and talked to us recently about his career, including “Pieces of Me,” his latest album project.
“Pieces of Me” features 10 songs, the majority of which Tayler wrote solo, bucking the Nashville trend of co-writing. “I kind of knew what I wanted to do (on the album), and I really didn’t know how to explain what I wanted to do,” he said. “So I thought, ‘you know what I’ll just do it. I’ll do it myself to see what happens.’ And, I also wanted to see if I could do it myself. I’d done a lot of co-writing and I wanted to give it a shot I wanted to see how good of a writer I really was on my own right and see if I could really do this on my own.”
He added, “I think there’s probably 2 or 3 songs I did a co-write on. The rest of them I wrote by myself, so a lot of the influences and the ideas and things like that came from different artists that I listen to, and really just what sounded good to me, what felt right to me.
“A lot of the songs came from me sitting around playing my guitar and experimenting with chord structure and things like that,” Tayler said. “I would play a couple of chords, and they sounded really good together, and I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to build a song around that,’ and then the idea for the actual lyric would hit me and it just kind of went together really well.”
If you haven’t heard Tayler’s music yet, you certainly will. And chances are good you have seen him on television. Even before he was in high school, Tayler had built a solid acting resume, including appearances on Grey’s Anatomy, Everybody Hates Chris, Desperate Housewives and ER.
“I actually started out in the entertainment business as an actor, probably from the time I was in the third grade until right before my freshman year in high school,” Tayler said. “I would travel – my mom and I – back and forth to LA.”
His acting career, however, took a backseat when Tayler entered high school. “Before I started high school, I was told by the school that I needed to make a decision,” he explained. “Did I want to go to school, or did I want to travel back and forth to LA? Because they weren’t willing to work with me the same way my elementary school and middle school did.”
He said, “I decided that I wanted to have the normal high school career and experience all the things that come along with that. In doing so, I realized I really have a love and a passion for music that I hadn’t fully vetted out, because I had been doing acting; and, so I guess it kind of worked out in the long run.”
Acting’s loss became music’s gain. “Without being able to travel, I had to find something else to occupy my time with. And, I was like ‘I can do this music thing, and I’m actually passionate about this’ – and passionate in a way I really didn’t think I was at first.”
Tayler said he would give himself an A-minus for his writing on the “Pieces of Me” record. “While I am proud of it, and I do think I did really good work – and other people think I did really good work – I don’t want to give myself a perfect grade because there’s always room for improvement,” he said.
His favorite song on the album is “When He Gave Me You,” Tayler said. “I wrote that song for my parents, so it’s kind of got a special place in my heart, and between the three of us.”
The Nashville music industry is taking note of Tayler, as well. For the past 2 years, he has been named an Emerging Artist at CMA Music Fest. And, he was recently the featured Artist of the Month at the “Welcome to Nashville” showcase at the legendary Silver Dollar Saloon. Back in his hometown, he has performed the National Anthem at several events at The University of Louisville, the latest being at the KFC Yum Center to more than 10,000 people.
Tayler has also sung at several breast cancer awareness events for the university. His grandmother is a 2-year survivor, and he lost two other grandparents to cancer. He said singing at events like these is him doing his part to help find a cure.
When he is touring, Tayler said playing clubs and festivals are his favorite venues, “just because people who are there, especially clubs, they’re there because there’s music. They’re there to hear somebody play.
“It’s a struggle sometimes when you go someplace where people aren’t necessarily expecting for there to be a band or there be music, and then you spend part of the time playing trying to get people warmed up to you, but if you’re at a club but you’re at a festival it’s kind of a given. You can jump right in,” he said.
Though he occasionally performs solo, he mostly fronts the Tayler Lynch Band. About his show, he quipped, “Think vintage Garth Brooks type of energy, and the hip shaking of Luke Bryan.”
He called Brooks, “a huge influence. He and George Strait are two of my biggest influences. In 5 years, I’m hoping to be signed to a label. I’m hoping to either probably to be an opening act for somebody. Hopefully now that Garth’s back on the road he might need me,” Tayler laughed.
Tayler hits Nashville at least once a month, usually to perform. He is studying music business online at the Berklee College of Music. ” I want to know as much about the business as I can,” he said. “For one it interests me. And, two, I don’t want to get screwed. I want to know what some record exec is telling me is the right thing.”