Waves, Kaizen, and Authenticity: Getting to Know Timothy Myles
If you’re in Nashville, you may notice that you’re hearing the name Timothy Myles around town more often these days. The Chicagoland native is a musician on the rise; one whose engaging live performances and knack for songwriting are helping him grow a strong reputation.
Both of those unique abilities came in handy on June 22, when Myles was named the winner of the inaugural Top Writer Showdown at True Music Room.
“I’m one to view the entertainment industry in general as one where you catch your waves,” Myles said. “You decide how far you paddle out, and you decide how far you take your wave. After looking at the prize package (for the Top Writer Showdown winner), I was like, ‘This is a wave to catch.’”
Myles became aware of the Top Writer Series in its preliminary rounds when his friend, fellow singer-songwriter Kiera Loveless, invited him to participate alongside her in the April 30 preliminary round. He would proceed to win that round to advance to the final. Loveless, a fantastic singer-songwriter in her own right, finished as runner-up.
“I took it really seriously,” he remembers. “It was another opportunity to push forward. I went into the final thinking, ‘I’m going to do everything in my power to make myself win.’”
Myles enlisted the help of trusted friends and collaborators to prepare for the big day. These included fellow musicians Mitch Curley, Dylan Roth, and R&B singer A’Rose, who helped him select songs for the competition. Meanwhile, singers Justin Watts and Nathan Wingate were recruited to provide harmonies during what became the winning performance.
“They have the best voices in town. I needed the best I could get onstage,” Myles said. “They came up and made the set more than it was.”
For winning, Myles received tickets to John Mayer’s Aug. 8 performance at Bridgestone Arena, three hours of studio time with Battery Lane Music, a night’s stay at the Cambria Hotel, a $100 True Music Room gift card, and the publication feature you’re reading right now. In addition, Myles learned the importance of – and value in — focusing on catching one “wave” at a time in his music career.
“If you look at the entire field of waves, you will be overwhelmed. You won’t know which one to strike at,” Myles said. “What I learned most from the experience is that – whether it’s a live show, release, or getting your band together – that’s the one thing you need to focus on.”
Ready to ‘Drive Through the Night’
The lessons Myles learned from his Top Writer Showdown victory are serving him well as he prepares for the future. In the immediate sense, that includes “Drive Through the Night,” a new single set to drop on October 4.
“Drive Through the Night” is a collaboration with Oliver Risch and Gregory Bruick of The Parasocial Club. The single is a boppy and soulful slice of heartland rock, complete with a major-league chorus that stands out as one of the year’s most memorable.
The song came unexpectedly from a co-write between Myles and Risch.
“I had no idea what I was going to write that day. I was walking up to the door, and thinking about The Parasocial Club and what would fit that style,” Myles recalls. “This melody that I had come up with three years ago to the day came into my mind. It’s one of the most miraculous writes I’ve ever had in my life.”
“That was another wave, having that melody come back,” he continued. “I said, ‘That’s the song we’re writing today.’”
And so, the pair got to work. Myles stretched out of his comfort zone to incorporate nuances of The Parasocial Club’s thoughtful song structures and alt-rock edge, with Risch lending his production talent to the track and Bruick jumping in on drums. The result is a song that has been described by peers as a modern, young approach to Bruce Springsteen’s songwriting.
“Anytime someone says that about a song, I’m like, ‘OK, I’m doing something right,’” Myles said.
The future: Improvement and Growth
Myles keeps the Japanese phrase Kaizen, which means “improvement,” close to his heart as he continues his quest to master his craft.
“It’s a Sisyphus complex,” Myles notes. “You’re never going to reach (perfection), but it’s something to aspire to. That’s something that I’m looking to do in every aspect of my life, including music and the way I go about my business.”
With one hot single already in the pipeline, Myles plans to continue this journey by recording and releasing new projects from the backlog of material he’s written over time.
“I’ve spent the past three years writing. I have enough songs to take me to the day I die,” Myles said. “I don’t need to write any more songs, and I’m trying to remind myself of that. Now, it’s focusing on putting out a lot more recordings.”
Myles is also placing emphasis on performing for and connecting with audiences – both in and outside of Nashville – as 2019 gives way to the New Year. In order to build fan bases in new markets, Myles plans to employ a grassroots approach centered on live shows.
“With Zac Brown or a legacy artist like Bruce Springsteen, playing for people – even through social media or online performances – builds the connections that drive us through,” Myles said.
Authenticity is at the core of those connections, and Myles strives to ensure that fans of all disciplines come away feeling something genuine, no matter how they consume his music.
“There’s someone who needs a song about heartbreak, or about their pet dying,” Myles said. “Or beer. You can write a beer song, but write a good beer song. If you bring forth authenticity, people are going to connect to it. People will connect to whatever message you feel is true.”
Fans in Nashville will have the chance to connect to Myles’ message during a special engagement on September 11, when he will perform as part of a 9/11 tribute show at The Back Corner.
Myles plans to use the evening’s platform to deliver a message of unity.
“I’m hoping to take the subject of the day and gear it toward a positive message,” Myles said. “How can I best use this moment, not just for me, but the people listening?”