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American Idol Interview: Tyler Grady

March 10, 2010 01:16 PM by Christine McDow

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Tyler was that singer this year that stood out on American Idol because he was so different from all the rest.  Many viewers were shocked when he did not make it through the first week of American Idol when America got to vote on their favorites.  What do you think? Should he have made it further?

Question: I was wondering, it seemed like the judges were kind of, as usual, a bit contradictory.  They were telling you on one hand you were there partly because you were so unique and you had this kind of seventies look and sound happening, and then they were critical of the performance because of that.  What would you have done next week?

Tyler Grady: To be honest with you, if I would have made it through – first of all, I would like to say that I’ve seen that I’m getting some heat in the media about my comment before the show ended, and I just wanted to let everyone know that I really meant no disrespect by that.  I just wanted to—I felt that when I watched the show back on Wednesday, I felt that I was too caught up in the moment to stand up for myself, and whereas contestants are absolutely encouraged to express themselves when they’re being critiqued.  I felt like – I was kind of shocked with the criticism, and I just didn’t get a chance to express my feelings.  So when I said that, I was just kind of – I was expressing myself.  I meant no disrespect and I’m not bitter at the judges or anything like that.  That was kind of silly.

But to be honest, if I would have made it through to another week, it would have been due to a fan base that appreciated what I was doing, so I probably would have just stuck to my guns and performed in the same style I’ve been performing in.  I may have chosen a more recent rock song, but you wouldn’t have seen me coming out in baggy jeans and wearing a headset microphone.  I wouldn’t have been changing my performance style at all.

Question: You mentioned kind of just saying what you were feeling at the moment.  It must be kind of tough being thrown into that first week and not only having to prepare the song, but also dealing with the photo shoots and all that kind of stuff.  Is that a big presence in your life that first week while you’re trying to prepare?

Tyler Grady: It’s certainly stressful.  As a contestant on the show, you really do begin to realize just how difficult it is to be in a situation like that.  It really made me appreciate performers that do television, because I’ve never been in that situation until Idol, and it’s really a different ballgame.

Question: A lot of people were sort of saying that had they let you develop a little bit more, given you more of a chance, you maybe would have found your groove.  I want to ask, are you the sort of person who would listen to criticism and change whatever it was about your performance, or are you the kind of guy who would sort of tend to do your own thing?

Tyler Grady: I definitely respect the judges and I think that they’re very qualified to be critiquing the contestants on the show.  But at the same time, like I said, when you’re building a fan base and your fans are supporting you, they’re supporting you because of what you’re doing.  So you can’t turn on your fans.  You can’t change up what you’re doing to the point where you irritate your fans.  If they’re supporting you, you need to give them what they want, support them back, you know what I mean?

Question: How would you read the temperature of your fans while you’re in the competition?

Tyler Grady: I’m sorry, could you rephrase that?

Question: Like how would you get an idea of what your fans would want or not want, while you’re in the heat of competition?

Tyler Grady: Essentially, if I would have gotten through another week, I think it would have been fair to assume that my fans appreciated my style of performance, because I’ve been consistent from the Boston audition until now.  And if you see my band play ever, that’s exactly the style of performance I give every time.  And in response to Ellen’s critique of my lack of honesty and charisma onstage, I do absolutely respect her as an entertainer and as a critic, but I feel like she kind of misrepresented me there, and if you were to ever see a Wailing Waters show, I’m very consistent in my performance and I feel that I’m very honest onstage.  I think that’s one of my strong points.

Question: I wanted to follow up a little bit on the “contradictory” term that came up before.  The judges I think in your audition said that they loved your seventies look and they wanted that in the competition.  And then they turn around and tell you that you need to lose it.  I was scratching my head at that point, so how did you feel and what was your reaction to hearing that?

Tyler Grady: When you’re a contestant in that situation and you’re getting conflicting views, it’s very confusing.  But you know what, at this point I’m trying to move on from that.  I don’t have any bitterness or anything from that, and I’m going to go back to Pennsylvania and work with my band and you will see the same sort of performance that you did on the show with my band.  The name is Wailing Waters, so keep an eye out for us.

Question: Is there anything you’ll take away from the show?  Will it change you as a performer in any way, or are you going to kind of stick to your guns?

Tyler Grady: You do need to stick to your guns as a performer.  You have to stay true to yourself.  Honesty in performance is everything, and I am very honest when I’m performing on stage.  One thing the show has done is educate me.  I mean, American Idol is one of the best education programs you can possibly get into, and you can’t buy into it, you have to audition for it, and it’s very difficult to get into.  But there’s no better school for the entertainment industry than American Idol.  I mean, we literally had the best of the best as far as the band.  Ricky Miner and the band are incredible, the backup singers, the production crew, the producers – everyone is top of the line and you get a phenomenal crash course on the entertainment business.

Question: I just wanted to know, what were you thinking of singing next week?  Did you have something yet, or you hadn’t really fully prepared?

Tyler Grady: That’s a good question.  There was a list of songs that I had cleared.  Two of the songs I was considering were Bob O’Reilly by The Who and Remedy by the Black Crows.  But after the critique, I was definitely considering picking a more modern rock song.  I wasn’t sure which one.  The style of performance would have been the same, but just to show the judges that – when I’m performing with my band, we’re performing original material that’s written in 2010, and we’re also, when we do any cover songs, we’ll cover sixties rock, we’ll cover 2000 rock.  It’s not about the era, it’s about the performance, it’s about the emotion.  And I just want my fans to realize that what you see on American Idol is the type of performer than I am honestly, and if you see my band perform, you’ll see the same thing.  So hopefully I can get my fans from the show on board with my band, Wailing Waters, and if all goes well we’ll release a record in the near future.

Question: When questioners were asking earlier about some contestants didn’t get any air time between the audition and the first performance, you really didn’t get very much.  I mean, they showed you a lot on the first show, on the first audition show, and then you basically disappeared until the end of the Hollywood round.  Do you think that hurt you at all?

Tyler Grady: I don’t want to make excuses, and I know the media is already claiming that I’m making excuses as far as blaming the judges for what happened on the show, and I don’t blame the judges at all.  When I made that comment, I was simply expressing my feelings at the time.  I felt like as a contestant on that show, you need to stand up for yourself and go out with some dignity.  But I really don’t make excuses for what happened, and I don’t think – Kelly Clarkson and Chris Allen, both winners of American Idol in the past, didn’t have that much air time going into the live show, so I wouldn’t say that that would have affected the results.

Question: One question here is, do you think your stick-by-your-guns attitude and you’re apprehensive not to change your styles was part of the reason why  you were eliminated, Tyler?

Tyler Grady: Well – no.  To be honest, I can’t explain to you why I was eliminated.  Well, actually, I can explain to you why I was eliminated.  I was eliminated because I didn’t get enough votes.  I got one of the least number of votes out of the 12 guys, that’s why I got eliminated.  As a performer you have to stick to your guns.  You have to be honest and you have to stay true to yourself.  If you’re going to change your style of performance and your style of vocals and be inconsistent, you won’t be able to build a solid fan base, because people won’t be able to catch on to you.  So you really can’t – and once you do build a fan base, you need to feed them what they appreciate about you.  I mean, you can’t constantly change yourself or you’re not really respecting your fans, so –

Question: Being from Pennsylvania myself, what would you say to other Pennsylvanians that were interested in auditioning for American Idol?  What would be your suggestions to them?

Tyler Grady: Honestly, you might not take this advice from me because I got eliminated, but really I think the best thing is to stick to your guns and be confident in yourself and don’t second-guess yourself.  Just go with what you do best and – it was a great ride.  I had the best time of my life on that show, so I was definitely –

Question: On Idol they talked a little bit about a couple of your influences, the Jim Morrison – there were a lot of people online that were saying Mick Jagger.  For you, who are the musicians out there that you strive to be the most like?

Tyler Grady: Out there currently?

Question: Actually, let’s do one current and maybe one retro.

Tyler Grady: I’d say my favorite current band is Kings of Leon.  I think they’re doing a great job at keeping rock and roll alive in this decade.  And my favorite band of all time is Led Zeppelin, for sure.

Question: Do you have any closing remarks, Tyler?

Tyler Grady: I would just like to say to all my fans and the viewers of the show that I’m going to be working with my band, Wailing Waters, and hopefully if all goes well we’ll be releasing a record and performing, so keep an eye out for us.

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