What is the definition of Tydis? A self-monikered pop megastar. Handsome.Energetic. Spiritual. Caring. And most of all-- Talented. The budding superstar sat down with The Evening Whirl recently to talk about his upcoming projects, his challenges, background and overall master plan.
Born in St. Louis, specifically Natural Bridge and Kingshighway and Saint Charles—with brief stints living in L.A. and ATL, the 20-year-old, Lafayette High School alum is on the verge of national fame. He recently shot his first music video, “Make Me Say,” in Los Angeles for his first single produced by the Grammy-Award winning St. Louis producers Trak Starz and featuring rap duo New Boyz.
Tydis always believed in his destiny as an entertainer as far as he can remember.
“I was always singing mostly to the girls in my classroom and female teachers, “ he said. “I was like eight-years old. They were like OMG you should do talent shows.”
It was his middle school teacher, Ms. Porter, who first mentored Tydis as a singer and entertainer.
“She gave me the confidence and boosted me up to pursue my dreams, talent shows and stuff like that, “ he said. “She would sit me down and had me listen to old school songs and learn them. I am thankful for her.”
Also during this time, he landed his first gig performing at the school’s pep rally.
“I was so nervous,” Tydis confided. “It was great experience. I sang the National Anthem and that’s a hard song to sing You gotta be able to sing it.”
More school talent shows transpired from middle school into Lafayette High School where he received a huge following with the girls even spilling over to other schools. However, his male peers despised it.
“I grew up over a lot of people jealous of me,” he recalled, “ I was very, very, very popular and very, very, very kind but they (male peers) wanted to fight me and all. Those battles, going to school, pressures over popularity and which girls liked me and stuff --I went through all that for a reason.”
Not only did the singer deal with school peer challenges, but the boys from the ‘hood became more fairweather as he became interested in becoming a singer than a gang banger.
“Growing up in North City, it’s not a good area that everyone was seeing but I was always a good kid and lot of my people I hung with wasn’t so good,” he said. “As I got older, I slowly changed and the people around me slowly drifted. I’ve made mistakes, too, but everything I been through it’s positioned me as the person I am today. It’s just not being an artist but you have to have a role model kind of thing to yourself, make things possible for yourself.”
Tydis performing at the McDonald's May Day R&B Blues Fest in 2008.
Helping him with those possibilities was while he was in high school he met his current manager, Travis Nelson. Through his manager’s zeal, Tydis’ manager got an audition meeting for the singer with Grammy Award winning STL native producers Trak Starz—Sham and Zo—who rapidly signed him with their own Trak Stars Records, distributed through Universal.
“They do more than what a production team does, more like what a label does,” said Tydis, describing the Trak Starz’. “They were excited when they signed me and were willing to do what can be done to make it happen.”
Meanwhile, Tydis got on the grind tenfold performing at various STL events and venues like Old Rock House and May Day Fest, speaking to youngsters at schools, developing his sound and songwriting skills. He also had a hand in his becoming the first unsigned artist in the St. Louis area to have the most hits on MySpace with over 30 million.
“I was number one for six months,” he said. “I had fans from L.A., Toronto, Australia, Hawaii, China….I was so happy. I stayed up on people’s pages adding and saying ‘Hello, how are you’ not just for them to just listen to my music. A lot of people think things can fall from the sky, well I’m one to think they can. Miracles can happen.”
Tydis on the "Make Me Say" video set with teen hip-hop duo New Boyz.
As a result of his MySpace success, the Trak Starz arranged a meeting with a label exec from Hitz Committee--a subsidiary of Jive Records-- to fly in to the STL and hear Tydis at their state-of-the art studio, The Trak Meet and won the exec over. In late 2008, Hitz arranged a showcase in New York at Jive Records where Tydis performed before several label execs including Blackground Records CEO, Barry Hankerson.
“I thought it would be a stage but it was like singing in an office with about 12 higher ups,” Tydis said before laughing. “So I was like, wow, I had to do something crazy. So I was talking to the women there, pulled a chair up to seduce them, hopped on the table and slid over to the women. They were clapping and afterwards, they said, ‘Welcome to Jive.’”
Tydis said getting signed to a national recording deal was one of the greatest moments in his career.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I just stared at them and wilded out . It was great . I kept the faith and believed in myself and I knew what was for me. I was at a loss for words.”
Tydis and the STL hype dancers on the "Make me Say" video set.
Then, the real work began--countless recording, releasing mixtapes, exercising and receiving artist development through ATL-based grooming company, Marvelous Enterprise whose roster include Usher, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake (whom he compares himself to) and T.I. to name a few.
“I’m thankful for having them on my team,” Tydis said. “To see me and see so much in me, they said out of everyone they have worked with, I was the most hardest-working person that stepped in there.”
Through his artist development, he has developed a sort of swagger that has compared him to such artists as Omarion, Michael Jackson, Prince, Sammy Davis Jr and even Elvis Presley.
“Elvis is the swag king,” Tydis said. “ When I get on stage I do like this rock like Elvis’ rock and people say I look like him when I do that.”
Another distinction was his former “permhawk” that he expressed through his Native American heritage being part-Mohican. But just recently he cut off his mane sporting a fresh low cut.
“I cut it is because I’m a lot older now.” he said. “I wanted to look more mature, but down the lane I might grow it back like a Mohawk. The (record) label is cool with it. They say it's just hair and I can grow it back. It causes controversy but I’m happy about my decision.”
Nevertheless, Tydis is ready for the limelight. As mentioned earlier, Tydis worked with the New Boyz on his first single, “Made Me Say.” The collab happened after the duo’s phone call to him.
“It’s a record I created for awhile, like, a year before it got out and they heard the record in New York and they felt the song was hot and wanted to hop on it.”
Recently, Tydis worked with another budding superstar, female rapper Nicki Minadj singing the hook on her song, “Barbie Girl.”
“I’m cool with a lot of people with Cash Money (Records) and met with Nicki, “ he explained. “I knew her manager and team and we were supposed to meet up with a gig she did here at The Venue Nightclub but I was out of town, but me and my team chilled with them while they were here. We did the hook. Piyow. Piyow. Love you. Kept movin.”
He’s also working on his upcoming CD, “Tydis Rocks” with production by the Trak Starz.
“The album title tells it all,” he said. “It’s totally left field of what you would think. I do rock, pop and urban music, I really don’t label my music. I label it ‘good music’ because it’s for the people.”
When he’s not recording, one can find Tydis at the park, listening to nature and reading books on self mastery. Tydis, whose ultimate goal is to be a motivational speaker, also envisions himself as an established artist owning his own label and fashion line as well as become an top actor/model and a responsible family man.
“ It’s time,” he said. “I feel good about this time and the time I’m coming to the industry. The energy feels right. I’ve never been more ready than any day in my life.”
To check out the “Make Me Say” video featuring New Boyz go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Te1mmwa_j0Q
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