Singer-Songwriter TYLER JAMES BELLINGER Opens Up About His Latest Music, Being On The New NBC Show ‘Songland’ and More!
Posted On 16 Jul 2019
Meet the singer-songwriter, Tyler James Bellinger, who is best known for churning out hits behind the scenes. He continues to put his unique stamp on the music industry with his powerful solo releases.
Produced by Michael MacAllister, his newest single, “Save Me” is out everywhere now.
“I wrote ‘Save Me’ with my friend Lena Leon in 2017” shares Bellinger. “The song was a prayer for me. At the time I was going through some relationship troubles and I was struggling with the idea that my relationship wasn’t going to work out.”
“Save Me” is part of Bellinger’s forthcoming project. He will continue to drop new music this summer coinciding with his upcoming appearance on the NBC television show Songland. On the show, undiscovered songwriters pitch their original songs to superstar recording artists and a panel of music producers. His third single “Find a Way” will follow soon.
Earlier this year, Bellinger released his lead single, “Feel Like Home,” and its accompanying video. This song celebrates belonging and acceptance for LGBTQ+ homeless youth. The song is based on true events from lives of two trans women of color who shared their unique stories with Bellinger. For the release of the video, Bellinger partnered with The Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive agency dedicated to LGBTQ homeless youth.
“’Feel Like Home’ is incredibly personal to me, as I wrote it for my partner,” explains Bellinger. “My hope is that the video will continue to draw light upon LGBTQ+ homelessness and the adversity that trans women, particularly trans women of color, face daily.”
In addition to his songwriting and solo career, Bellinger is one half of the band KNGDAVD. The act has amassed nearly 5 million plays on Spotify. KNGDAVD’s single “Blood On Our Hands” has been featured in Guinness’ 200th anniversary commercials and the trailer for the new movie The Public. Their single “You Never Know” was featured in the Marvel TV show Cloak and Dagger, and their song “Say My Name” will be featured in the upcoming season of Netflix’s Lucifer.
Connect with Tyler James Bellinger:
Spotify // Instagram // Facebook // Twitter // SoundCloud
Learn more about Tyler James Bellinger in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
Thank you ! I’m currently sitting my local coffee shop… its like 2 blocks from my house , so its perfect to come and chill and get emails done!
Now that we are half-way through the year, how has 2019 been treating you? What are some goals that you have for yourself this year? How close are you to reaching them?
2019, has been a pretty damn good year so far. Ive definitely had some amazing experiences between “Songland” and the sessions Ive had the past few months. As far as goals go, to keep releasing singles and build a nice following , I’m so excited about this song called “Rain” Ive got coming, and anxiously waiting to see if this song that on hold goes through! Another goal is to get another KNGDAVD single out for those fans who have been so patient with Jon and I. Achieving goals in the music business is such a funny thing to gauge… Whenever I’m bummed about progress in my career, I remind myself looking back at the prior year, and usually there’s been some serious leaps forward. Id say i’m getting closer to my goals, but so many of my goals are things that are only in my control as far as writing the songs, I don’t control if/when an artist will decide to release a song so that’s tough.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Honestly, music has been my life since I was a child… I didn’t realize i could actually sing til I was around 12/13 … but the second It dawned on me that it could be my career , I was obsessed. As a kid I took piano and guitar lessons , but would always hum things to myself instead of practicing , so I think singing was the natural progression.
The moment I knew singing was for me was when I had a solo in “ a Christmas carol” in middle school. That feeling was everything to me . Following music as a profession wasn’t a difficult decision to make, but it’s definitely been difficult to continue to pursue, but the pros definitely out way the cons.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
Oh god. All the time…. I just know that nothing will fulfill me the way writing and performing does. This is gonna sound totally gross but I got to help out with an autopsy once , and if I didn’t do music, Id definitely wanna be a doctor and figure out how/why people died. I just think the human body is amazing, so to be able to explore science and the anatomy would be cool. Now everyone is gonna think I’m a weirdo…. but I guess I am .
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
How finding your tribe is so difficult but so necessary . It’s really easy to get jealous of other peoples success and pine for things that aren’t yours. I find having a good support system of people that are both friends and collaborators to be super helpful, for both my musical output but my mental health. Because its really easy to spiral in this career and be depressed about all the things that didn’t happen like you pictured.
A welcome challenge is pushing myself to try things I don’t think Id be good at… I never thought Id end up doing elm stuff, and its something that has been opening up to me in such an awesome way. Its fun to push yourself out of your musical comfort zone… its also really important to pay attention to the people in your sessions that have had success in a field , and ask questions and learn…
Let’s talk about your newest single called “Save Me.” What was the inspiration for this track? How would you say that it compares to your forthcoming project and previous songs that you have put out before?
“Save Me” has been the song I’ve been waiting to release for what feels like forever. Originally for my project, “Save Me” ended up getting released by a Spanish artist Blas Canto first, so I had to wait a while to release my version. This song was a prayer for me during a super tough time. I was struggling with my relationship, my faith , and my career in music… “Save Me” was a prayer for help, but it ended up being a song I really needed to write. It was freeing and therapeutic. Compared to my previous releases, I think “Save Me” is the most personal and vocally advantageous thing I’ve ever attempted, it sonically fits in the wheel house Ive created for this current project, but it’s just feels the most special to me.
I would love to know more about partnering with The Ali Forney Center for your single “Feel Like Home.” Why is this organization so important to you now?
I thought it was super important to highlight LGBTQ Homelessness with my video “ Feel Like Home,” but it would be pointless if you can’t direct people somewhere they can educate themselves further, or seek help. That is where Ali Forney came in…. they are the most comprehensive resource for LGBTQ Homelessness in the country, so it was amazing that they partnered up with us for that release. The reason I care so much about LGBTQ Homelessness is because Ive been running music at a church in Philly for a while that has a non profit called Broad Street Ministry above them where they serve as a resource for Philly’s most at risk individuals… Over the years Ive got to learn more and more about how 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ, and its just astonishing that this fact keeps getting swept under the rug…. also as a member of the LGBTQ community, we really need to look after each other in real meaningful ways.
What was it like being on the NBC show, Songland? What did you learn from that experience? When will your episode be airing?
“Songland” was a pretty surreal experience. I will be featured on the One Republic episode, but that is pretty much all I can say. I had a pretty insightful conversation with one of the producers so I’m excited to see what airs!
How would you say that being a solo artist compares to being in your band, KNGDAVD? Do you find that you enjoy doing one over the other right now?
Both my solo career and KNGDAVD service me in two different ways. They are both parts of my musical identity and brain so I wouldn’t say I favor one more than the other, but I do really enjoy the live performances that I get to do as a solo artist. I love a good stripped back set with just guitar and vocal, or guitar ,percussion and vocal, thats my favorite!
Where can people see you perform next? Do you plan to tour at all this summer or later this year? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far?
I’m really not sure a tour makes sense at the moment, I feel like I need to keep releasing music and building a fan-base that I can actually tour and perform for! I have been doing one of shows though and that has been really awesome. I’d say just keep an eye on my socials and you’ll know where I’m performing.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music?
I feel like I change and grow as a musician every couple months. The more talented people I get the experience to work and learn from ,I evolve a little more and more! I think obviously my voice is my voice, but its so amazing to try something you think you’ll suck at and end up with a really cool sound! So to take where I started and where I am now, its been a pretty crazy ride !
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now? What has social media done for your career so far?
Social media is tricky. Its great because you have a platform to talk directly with people and share fun videos and art, but it sucks because its really easy to compare yourself to everyone else. I’m definitely an Instagram guy , its more fun than all the other socials… I think. It also has everything in one, so its convenient. Social media has particularly been amazing for my band, helping us to grow a small but loyal fan-base of gamers, and it happened all because of twitch and Youtube. One day Nightblue3 found our tunes and started playing them while he streamed his matches , and it really helped us establish an awesome support system.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Brandon Flowers, Emeli Sande, Priscilla Renea, Mariah Carey , Ive got a bunch of people… But right now these are my constants . They’re all incredible writers and I think singers.. and thats influences my solo project SO MUCH. Im gonna sound like a total stalker, because I have mentioned Priscilla Renea in every interview Ive done this year, but I really wanna write with her. Her album “Coloured” moved me to tears… It was the first album in the past year that i listened to all the way through and loved every song.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
I don’t know that Id have anything super crazy, but Id love to do a video for a bunch of songs. Right now I would love to shoot a crazy spaghetti western video for an upcoming song i have called “Rain,” with just dessert shots and old motels and maybe some choreography but that is not in the budget at the moment…. anyone out there wanna pay for it and I’ll love you forever.
What has been the coolest place/TV show/commercial that you have heard a song of yours?
Having KNGDAVD’s song in the Guinness 200th anniversary commercial was pretty amazing, that was our first big sync so it holds a special place in my heart. Recently we had a song in the new season of “Lucifer” on Netflix, and that was cool because I finally had a song in a show that my partner loves… so that was cool for a different reason.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I’ve really focused on writing songs I wish I had as a little kid lately.I feel like that is super important, because everyone needs to be seen and heard, and feel like they fit in somewhere. Representation really matters…
I hope that no matter what your background is, you can listen to my songs and feel honesty and feel like I’m going through what you’re going through.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about your music?
Just follow me on socials and wherever you stream music, because I have so may tunes coming that I’m really pumped about. Also message me, I’m friendly and love hearing from people and talking 🙂