Interview: Tyler Ward Talks His Yellow Boxes EP & Tour, Fan Support and Overcoming Dark Place

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Popular YouTube artist Tyler Ward released his Yellow Boxes EP last week and received continuous fan support over the years.

He sat down with us to discuss how far he has come, his darkest times and how the fan support has made all the difference in his career.

The Yellow Boxes EP is a collection of songs that each have their own stories within them. Ward's balance of country, pop and acoustic sounds is very light an delicate but inspirational. The second track "I'm not perfect.

You're not perfect.

Let's hang out." is a shining example of how Ward tells his story and takes on a vulnerable role as he admits to not being perfect.

The six-track Yellow Boxes EP also contains a bluesy ballad titled, "In A Moment." Each track is uniquely executed to explore all of Ward's skill-sets and skillfully done.

Ward is currently on his Yellow Boxes Tour that runs through mid-November.

We were able to sit down and chat with Ward about the inspirations behind the album and much more. You can check out our interview with him below or catch the Yellow Boxes EP on iTunes and Spotify.

I have to address the "Omen" cover. What made you want to cover the song and what's the process like for you when you're covering songs?

"That was interesting because I'm working in partnership with American Express and they are working with Disclosure.

So, I'm kind of the ambassador for that project and they asked me if I could do a cover of a Disclosure song. I was like 'oh well this one's cool.'"

"I did that one and it's kind of interesting because it was a quick request and I was on tour and it was my only day off.

I was at my aunt's house; I went into their living room and pushed things aside, basically setup shop and just started recording. I recorded the audio got all the lyrics and tried to figure that thing out."

"Normally in those situations you kind of have to know what you're going to do which is why we recorded the audio and shot the video after. We got all of the audio right, recorded the video doing 8 or 9 takes with the song.

I dumped all of the footage into the computer, I mixed the song, edited the video, retouched some of the vocals, submitted everything to YouTube and Spotify and it was released the next morning.

It was about a 12-hour process and it was a quick ask so I felt rushed. But it kind of came out nice, I thought, so it was really cool."

You've been one of the pioneers for YouTube stars who are now reaching many different levels of fame.

What made you want to start a YouTube channel, and how important was it for you to make it possible yourself and other artists profit from the covers they did online?

"I loved the idea.

For some reason it was built in me to produce music and I love creating, writing and all of these things so I just took the elements that I had and figured, if I want to be a producer and work with other artists, I have to practice on myself."

"I started practicing, recording and mixing things trying to figure out what sounds good.

I just started putting things out online and YouTube was a platform that, I kind of by accident, started putting videos out with.

People were finding them and giving me feedback like, 'oh I really like this.' This kind of cooler, central fan-base developed and started following me."

"I found out that 'We Are The World' was going to be remade in February 2010 and thought to myself, I'll just get all of the artists that I work with together and we'll do a remake and release it the day before the new one was to be released for the Winter Olympics."

"The real video was the most searched music video in YouTube history and mine was right underneath it in the search.

I was like 'wait a second.' This stuff kind of all came full circle.

I'd been practicing, now I can utilize the search engine in YouTube with covers and still practice to become a producer, 'wow this is going to make sense.'"

"At that time you couldn't really monetize covers, you couldn't claim ad-revenue so we figured out a way to legally start selling songs on iTunes and streaming songs."

"Now, there's a way that every single song is monetizable so, the person that wrote the song is making money and the person who owns the master and creates the recording, which is myself, then puts it online can make a streaming profit on all platforms.

It's just a really incredible way to make a living and be able to do what I love to do."

When did you first feel like you were starting to reach where you wanted to go with your music career?

"Man oh man, that's a great question. See I thought my peak was going to be going around every weekend playing bars.

You know, $200 every weekend and taking my girl to Chipotle. Every single day that it was more than that, was just a gift man."

"I was like 'wow, this is amazing' and four years into it I was like, 'is this thing going to end?'"

"Everyday I feel like I'm hitting a new peak and it's still growing, like wow, this is real life; this is my career.

Every couple of months I have to step back and think to myself, 'this is real what an awesome opportunity just to be able to do what I love to do. I'm so fortunate.'"

Can you talk a little about the writing process for the Yellow Boxes EP and some of the inspirations behind the music?

"Honestly, I was struggling in those four or five years going from hero to zero, I guess you can kind of put it that way.

Coming from playing for a couple of people then selling out shows across the world, that doesn't happen to many people and it's such a shock through your system."

"From struggling to getting everything you want, you feel like you're better than you really are. I believed a lot of lies about myself.

I believed that my head got big, I was a little bit prideful, I was a little bit arrogant and I was only humble in certain respects.

People are kind of manipulative in a way and there was moment I got to a peak I guess you could say."

"I thought I found fulfillment in life.

Like 'oh man I've got all these girls in my life and I took advantage of that and then I would take advantage of the fact that I was making a little bit of money.

I got to a point and I thought to myself, 'is this all there is? Do people spend their entire life looking for...this?'"

"I thought that there had got to be something more.

I started to think if this is all there is then I'll take advantage of the party scene and got in trouble with some addictions and some abusive of some vices in my life.

I was drinking a lot, I didn't want to necessarily but at least it's the one thing I thought that kind of made sense."

"My identity was found in my success so if the numbers were up I was feeling good. If the numbers were down I was feeling like crap man.

Then I felt well, I'm a rock star. Rock stars drink and they party. That didn't work I was tired of it and waking up with a hangover."

"Then I thought well now what? There was a moment in that mess and chaos; and I don't know what you believe in or what other people believe in, but to me, it was a God moment.

He said do you want to live or do you want to die and if you keep doing this, you'll never find fulfillment. You can just stop and follow what I have for you."

"So, I stopped and it was crazy, just one day at a time, these vices, these struggles and these addictions slowly started going away. That's when the Yellow Boxes EP started. So everything that you hear is just a personal reflection of where I've been, when the industry has lied to me and taken me to certain places.

Almost like, 'man you can be so happy if you get this one thing' and it's such a cheap, non-fulfilling situation when you get everything you want.

It's not about that. That's what the Yellow Boxes tour and EP specifically is about."

How important is the fan support and did you ever imagine that you would have almost 2 million subscribers on YouTube?

"The fan support is everything. There was a moment a few years back where I was offered a handful of record deals and I was stubborn.

I didn't know anything and I thought I'd rather have a direct connection with these fans instead of doing these record deals. So, I said no until the right deal would come along."

"Being able to communicate directly, being able to deliver music directly and being able to ask for their support directly, had been game-changing.

It's been everything that kept me afloat.

When I didn't know how I was going to be able to pay my rent or where my next paycheck would come from, the fans were like, 'oh, we are going to help you out, we are going to buy your music, come to your shows and buy your merchandise."

"I was like damn, this is crazy. So, direct to fans, direct to consumer has been everything for my career."

How has the experience of Yellow Boxes Tour been and what have you learned from it so far?

"The Yellow Boxes tour is so interesting to me. Every single show, I have a set list and I have everything planned out. But, every single show is different and it will take a different direction."

"What I've realized in doing a smaller venue is that I get a chance to connect one on one with a lot of the fans. I'll ask them to stay after shows so we can just hang out, get to know them and that's been a game-changer to me, Just hearing people's stories and instead about thinking about me and how amazing my career is, it's kind of not important.

It's more about you, what's going on in your life? What's going on with these kids or people that show up to support me? People are people and people matter.

That's been a huge shift in the Yellow Boxes tour this time around."

What do you want to accomplish with the album and further more with your music in the future?

"I have no agenda man. I just want to make music that I feeling comfortable making and let the chips land where they may."

Have artists like Jason DeRulo, Jason Mraz or Hunter Hayes shared any tips with you in terms of how to manage success?

"No man, I think the one think that I've noticed from them is that they're talented, have a great team around them and they just do them. They work hard and I get it so mad respect to those guys."

Do you intend on continuing to balance YouTube and music full time?

"Yeah. Until I feel no more passion, absolutely.

Is there anything you would like to say to your fans, followers and supporters?

"I'm just absolutely so blown away by the continued support over the years. Last night the album came out at like 11 o'clock and I was just getting tweeted non-stop about their favorite songs. There is so much support and it's overwhelming.

People still care. I can't thank them enough, genuinely they're freaking amazing. I've got some amazing fans man it's pretty cool."