Rising star Filmore may draw comparisons to Sam Hunt, but his unique blend of country, pop and R&B, is all his own.
The country breakout artist, who hails from Wildwood Missouri, got hit with the musical bug years ago while in college. After forming a band and independently growing a solid fanbase, he moved to Nashville and made a go for it as a solo artist.
In early 2019, Filmore inked a deal with Curb Records and released his debut single, “Slower,” to country radio. Since its release, the up-tempo song, which he co-wrote with Justine Ebach and Steven Dale Jones, continues to climb the charts at radio.
It certainly seems there is no slowing Filmore down. To date, his music has been streamed over 83 million times. Aside from that, he recently made his Grand Ole Opry debut, and wrapped up an opening slot on Walker Hayes’ Dream On It Tour. Filmore is currently on the road performing for various fairs and festivals. Later this year, he’ll join Lauren Alaina on her headlining That Girl Was Me Tour.
Read on for our exclusive Q&A with Filmore.
Melinda Lorge: Can you talk about your unique sound and image?
Tyler Filmore: You move to Nashville and people tell you the way that country music is supposed to be or how it’s supposed to go, and you try to fit these molds. Even from a writing perspective, like when I got my publishing deal, you’re trying to sit in this pocket, but sometimes looking ahead and where the genre can shift, and stuff like that, it’s just changed a lot since I’ve been here. With that being said, the genre’s not changed, it’s just bigger, and there are many different facets of it. So, for me, my main goal from image, and from the way that I write my songs is just being 100 percent true to myself. Image-wise, the haircut happened by accident. I grew my hair out, and some girl cut it and then it just sort of stuck. The rest is a culmination of where I grew up, what I listened to growing up, and my storytelling and how I want my story to come across.
Lorge: Growing up, what were some of the influences that shaped you as an artist?
Filmore: So you have my dad, who listened to everything old country: Hank, Cash, Elvis, everything. Then my stepdad, he was super into the eighties. I think he was like an eighties DJ for a second in college. So he listened to a lot of Def Leppard, Van Halen, John Cougar Mellencamp, that kind of stuff. My mom is from Columbia, South America. She moved here when she was like 15 [years old] to the states. So there’s all that salsa and random Hispanic music in my past as well. So, honestly, you have that, you have the Internet, you have radio stations, everything that you kind of grow up with. It’s a melting pot of influences. So, at this point, I’m just telling my story the way I want to.
Lorge: How did your friends and family react when you told them you were moving to Nashville in 2011?
Filmore: Everyone was super supportive. There was no negative [reactions] and people thought I would do it sooner. But, I moved here knowing nobody, not a soul. That was a little scary. But, then I made friends and kept building from there.
Lorge: What were your first few months here like?
Filmore: I had just graduated college and brought down two of the guys. We played in a band. Weirdly enough, it was also called “Filmore” at the time. We did three-part harmony because I’ve always been super into Rascal Flatts. They came down here and we were recording at a studio called Sixteen Ton Studio, which is not there anymore. It was this red building, right at the corner of Grand and 16th Avenue. We showed up for a week, and we were staying like an hour outside of town on someone’s floor.
Later, there was a house for rent that we saw right behind the studio, behind Music Row on South Street. In that two-week period, where we were just kind of floating around Nashville, I rented that house for $800. We didn’t have any furniture or anything, so we went to the Holiday Inn and tried to go to the front desk and ask for pillows for our rooms. They didn’t fall for that, so [we] ended up with a stage rug in the back of the car. We had the headrests because you could pull the headrest up. There are photos of us, from when we first moved here, and we were just sleeping on the floor with the rugs. That’s how I ended up living here.
Lorge: Can you share the story behind “Slower?”
Filmore: On that song, it was me, Justin Ebach and Steven Dale Jones. I’ve been writing with those guys for a while. The song comes with the feeling of how I live my life and I think that’s kind of how everyone in that writer’s room lives their life. So it was very easy for us to relate to. I sort of tied it into where I grew up and tried to make it a blanket statement for what this feeling is. I like to think of taking things a little bit “Slower” and trying to hold onto a moment. Living in the moment is a huge thing for me. I hadn’t really 100-percent written that song that way and so from lyrical breakdown, to the melody, to just the way the whole song is constructed, it was trying to capture that feeling. It is very thought out in the way it slows down before the chorus and then really hits on the chorus. It’s supposed to really grab your attention.
Lorge: You have celebrated several milestones recently. What would you say is your biggest success so far?
Filmore: It would be a live moment for sure. I can’t remember the exact first time, but I would say the moment where the crowd is singing every word of “Slower,” or any of my original songs back [to me]. When they’re singing my words back – which has been happening a lot recently – I think that’s the biggest accomplishment. I can’t put it on like a date or a time. But the action of that happening is the biggest.
Lorge: Do you celebrate a bit when that when it happens?
Filmore: I still celebrate. I try not to freak out on stage when it happens. You never know, you’re in different markets, you’re across the country, you’re in places you’ve never been before, and they’re singing the song an…I don’t know, it just doesn’t get old. There’s no way I’m not shocked. I’ve never been here. I don’t know whether you’ve heard this or not. I’m just playing my music and I wrote this song and now you’re singing it back to me? I’m gonna try not to cry on stage, honestly.
Lorge: That’s got to be a great feeling! Have you ever received a peice of advice that has really stuck with you?
Filmore: I think the advice would be to find people that believe in you – like truly believe in you – and that will follow your vision. Definitely have a vision and that vision shouldn’t be fake. You should just be who you are. I truly believe that. It takes a lot of figuring out who you are, and it’s just part of the process. Once you know that you’re doing what you were meant to do as an artist, whether people believe in it or not is a different story. There are a million different paths, but there’s an honesty and a truth to that path. And, it is also a grind, but the reward is second to none.
Lorge: Love that! So what’s next for you?
Filmore: Currently, if you add them all up, the way they are on different platforms, there are about 19 songs out, over the course of a couple of years. They all kind of flow together and, for me, it’s just to continue that process. How they are put out and how that process continues is in the works right now. But, plenty more music by the end of the year. I’ve got a story to tell and I’ve got more emotions to let out and want more people feeling sad, happy, and like they need a beer, I guess. I think in this day and age, people don’t want to wait for new music. I’m excited to make it happen.