Apologetically Canadian: Tyler Joe Miller

Apologetically Canadian

Can you tell me a bit about the Canadian country music scene and its influence on you growing up?  

In Surrey BC, I grew up in the city but in the summers, I grew up in my cabin, which is about five hours north. I’d be out in the middle of nowhere, if it was dirt biking or hunting or fishing, whatever it was we’d be up at my cabin listening to country music. I wasn’t thinking, this is an American artist, and this is a Canadian artist, it was just country music. I’d hear Brad Paisley and Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson but then I’d hear somebody like Paul Brandt who’s like a Canadian legend over here. I would not have known the difference of somebody being a Canadian artist, or American or anywhere else. I think it instilled in me just a love for stories and storytelling. Country music kind of goes through different waves of different genres stepping in but at it’s heart, I think Country Music has always been about telling stories, I think it always will be. I think that Canadian artists do a pretty good job of telling stories. 

I think we spoke when ‘Pillow Talkin’ first came out but of course it went on to become your first number one, can you tell me about what that meant to you?  

We thought that we had missed it by one spin. Nobody would have thought it was going to come down to that but they republished the chart, and we ended up having the number one. I was on the job site when I got the call. I was painting, my ex girlfriend’s dad’s place. I said, I was gonna do this, I’m gonna continue to do it. We had just broken up. I remember getting the call but I was spraying the ceiling and my manager was trying to get me to jump on this call. And I was like, No, I’m covered in paint. So, I was a little annoyed I had to leave off. So I jumped on the call, and everybody’s on it from the label. And I’m just like, What the heck is going on? And that’s when they told me that I had the number one. I remember they filmed the Zoom call and my first reaction was like, Are you sure? Then I was like, Okay, I gotta get back to work. I didn’t fully understand the weight of that and how big of a thing it was. It was the first time ever in Canadian country music that somebody got a number one on their first single on an independent label. I was confused. I was excited. I was skeptical, all at the same time. So there was so many emotions going on.  

Fast forward to now, your latest single ‘Should’ve Known Better’, can you tell me a little bit about the story behind that song, please?  

We wrote that up in the mountains in BC here and we did a bit of a writing retreat. ‘Should’ve Known Better’ happened one hungover morning. Me and my two buddies, we’d written together before, we go to write a song, we’re all a bit slow. So I had this idea for a song and it ended up being like, a really slow, ballad of a song. If somebody listened to that song, they’d be able to tell that we’d been drinking the night before. So I was like, guys, we got to switch gears, this is just a depressing song. Let’s write the opposite of what we feel like we should write right now. Jeff Johnson, started strumming stuff on his acoustic and started spitting out some lyrics. Dan and I started chiming in and then he says, ‘should have known, should have known, should have known better’. I showed him my notes app on my phone and one of the titles that I wanted to write was called, ‘Should’ve Known Better’. We wrote it pretty quickly after that. 

What’s been your proudest moment so far? 

I played a home town show a couple days ago, and my dad, my brother, my mum, and my stepdad were all in the front row at the show. My brother had never seen a show. My dad had seen me once. And I think my mum, and my stepdad, had seen me once. To see them out there. They’re rocking my merch and people found out that they were my parents. So they brought them up to the front of the stage so they could get the best view and be able to be up there. I think there was 7000 people there and to be able to see my family at the front of all these people, the sea of people, was the coolest thing in the world. For me, that was my proudest moment, my family being able to see what I’ve built and what I’ve become as an artist. 

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