At the end of last month, we were given the brilliant opportunity to premiere Tyler James Bellinger’s new single, “Save Me“. We fell in love with the lyrics and his vocal talent from the first minute and we jumped at the chance of premiering it. Now, we’ve managed to exclusively interview this talented singer-songwriter about the track as well as his music career to-date.
Tyler James Bellinger is best known for being one-half of KNGDAVD alongside Jon Buscema. The duo have amassed over five million Spotify streams and their songs have been used in the Guinness’ 200th-anniversary commercials, the 2018 film The Public, as well as the TV shows Cloak & Dagger and Lucifer. As a solo artist, Tyler James Bellinger is starting to create his own waves in the music industry, first starting off as a songwriter; now, he’s coming into his own with his single releases. His most-streamed song on Spotify, to-date, is his collaboration on Smash’s song “Mama Said” which has over 73,000 streams. His 2019 single, “So Damn Good” is his most-streamed solo single on Spotify, which was released prior to “Save Me“, with his LGBTQ+ anthem “Feel Like Home” following just behind which has an awesome music video.
We’re glad to have discovered Tyler James Bellinger as he is a brilliant singer and songwriter, and now it’s time for you to get to know who he is, to discover his music, and follow his career.
Hi Tyler, how are you today? What have you been up to recently?
I’m doing well! Currently sitting in my house eating pancakes and writing you back.
You recently released your song “Save Me”. What is this song about?
“Save Me” was a prayer for me in a really rough time. I was struggling with my relationship, my faith, and, just, overall, feeling pretty down and beaten up. I wrote “Save Me” about my partner but also God, and I wrote it for myself. It was really one of those songs that just flew out… it was very much needed.
It was co-written by Lena Leon, what is she like to work with?
Oh man… Lena’s the best. We usually start each session by catching up and eating then drinking some tea… so its super chill. We’re real-life friends so writing personal songs with her is very easy.
It has also been produced by Michael MacAllister, what’s he like to work with?
I’m super fortunate because I get to work with my friends ALOT! Mike is no exception, we’ve been buds for a few years and when we started this project we went in with a goal of something superorganic and as live as possible instrumentally, and I wanted to really sing about personal stuff and also really sing sing, vocally!
Do you have a favourite lyric from the track? Which is it, and why?
“I’ve been choking on my pride and swallowing the truth, falling in line but I’m still confused, and every other word feels like a noose, hanging from the door”.
I love this line because I had to own up to a lot of shit that I did wrong and how I respond to things when Im afraid, or anxious. This line just feels like a reminder to always grow, and how suffocating it can be when you feel like you’re alone.
Is there a music video planned for the song? If so, can you reveal anything about it? If not, how would you imagine a music video for the song, be like?
At the moment, there isn’t a proper music video planned, because of budget… [laughs]… but I did film a one-take live version that I’m excited about! If things change in the future I do have a treatment I’ve been thinking of, but I don’t wanna give that up just yet!
How have your friends and family reacted to the song?
It’s their favorite of my tracks. I think because of how personal it is and it’s also the craziest vocal I’ve done yet!
You’ve released quite a few solo singles so far. Your previous song was “So Damn Good”. Can you tell us more about this song?
First off, “So damn good” is my favorite to sing live. It’s so fun. I love a good pissed off song! This song sounds like it’s about a romantic relationship but really it’s just a bit more embellished and about my relationship with my bandmate. He knows this, so it’s not salacious, haha; BUT, I think every relationship goes through ups and downs and when your close with someone who’s like family and you also work together it gets tough, especially when your goals aren’t necessarily always the same.
It is currently your most-streamed solo track on Spotify, with over 8,000 streams, how does that feel?
It’s cool! I’m just happy people are slowly checking out the tunes! I’m not sure how to get there but I’m trying to put out into the universe that I’ll reach 500,000 monthly listeners in the next year! Fingers crossed.
We’re definitely contributing to that number as we love listening to your songs. Your actual most-streamed track was your collaboration with Smash, titled “Mama Said”. How did the collaboration come about?
“Mama Said” came about in a writing camp in Nashville! I was working with my buddy Kyle Kelso and the guys from quartered (a German production duo/artists) and we wrote the tune! Then Smash came to hear it and loved it and put his touch on things!
What was it like working with Smash?
It was great! While I haven’t met him in person, he seems like a good dude!
How does it feel to know it’s been streamed over 54,000 times?
It’s nice, cus the song is so fun!
We have to admit, though, “Feel Like Home” has a special place in our hearts as it is truly a great LGBTQ+ anthem. Can you tell us more about that song?
I wrote this song for my partner, whose family is not accepting of him being gay or our relationship, so it was just a song for him, where I could say wherever he goes, I’ll make it feel like home.
The music video was incredible with plenty of ups and downs in the story-line. Can you tell us more about the true story it is based on?
The story is actually based off of the lives of two trans women Chyna and Leah… They were both gracious enough to share their stories with me … and quite frankly it was a blessing to be able to share even a little of their lives with the world.
What has the reaction been like to the “Feel Like Home” song and music video?
It’s been received so well! I’m still hoping it magically becomes viral so more people can see it… I truly think it will make people feel seen, and hopefully change some peoples hearts on the LGBTQ+ community. Particularly for trans women of color, who are being murdered at a higher rate than any other members of our community.
You’re also set to appear on NBC’s television show Songland, what was that like?
Songland was a blast! I met sooooooo many crazy talented people, and I am fortunate enough to get to work with them when I go back and forth to LA and Nashville. A few of them have become great friends actually!
OneRepublic features in the episode that you appear on, what were they like in person?
While I can’t say too much, they were very kind!
How does songwriting differ from being a singer?
It’s just a different ballgame. If I’m writing something for myself, I can be as personal or make lyric choices that are super unique… If I’m writing for pitch or another artist the content tends to need to be more generic. Generic doesn’t mean bad though! It’s harder to write a song that can be universally loved and everyone can sing along to than it is to write a sad song about a moment in my life.
Do you have a specific song you wrote, that was released by another artist that you’re really proud of?
“Save Me”, actually came out first under an artist named Blas Canto!
You are mostly known for being one-half of the duo KNGDAVD. How does your new music differ from KNGDAVD music?
Jon and I decided long ago, that KNGDAVD was meant to be fun, and badass and in your face. So being able to fulfill multiple sides of my creative brain is very, very cool. I’m fortunate to have even one project that people like! Though I’m optimistic with time people will love the solo stuff too! That being said KNGDAVD isn’t dead, just taking a nap.
You’ve achieved success as a duo, seeing your songs being played in commercials, in films, and on TV series. What does that feel like?
Hearing your voice and songs on shows is pretty damn cool. I’m not gonna lie, it doesn’t get old! My partner loves the tv show “Lucifer” so having a song on a show he loves made me smile!
What do you hope to achieve in the coming years?
More songs, more shows, and hopefully a fan base that wants to grow with me. I’ll be honest, I wanna do a world tour at LEAST once!
We’d so be at that tour when it arrives in the UK! And, finally, do you have a message for your fans?
Just thank you. I know I’m not a brain surgeon but I hope in my own way I’m making a difference and helping people smile, grieve, etc.. through my songs.
Also just know you’re perfect the way you are… it sounds so corny but I struggled for a very long time with my sexuality, so I hope that’s something that one day will become normalized and not demonized.
Thank you, Tyler James Bellinger, for taking the time out to answer our questions. We are loving your recent music and we certainly can’t for the next release.
“Save Me” is available to download and stream right now. He has another single on its way, next month, titled “Find A Way”. He is also set to appear on NBC’s television show Songland where undiscovered songwriters pitch their original tracks to superstar recording artists and a panel of music producers. Tyler James Bellinger is set to appear on the episode where OneRepublic are set to feature. Make sure you check out his Spotify profile to hear his awesome releases, to-date.