He might not be this year’s winner of American Idol, but East Bay native Tyler Stimpson has a bright future ahead of him. The up-and-coming singer/songwriter was the featured artist at UrbanKnightRadio.com’s final Tuesday Tunes event of Spring 2015 on May 5.
“I started getting into music when I was about 13 years old, which is when I started my YouTube channel,” said Stimpson, who is an online student at the Berklee College of Music. “My dad started teaching me how to play guitar then, and we started learning blues covers and just been going since then.”
With an acoustic guitar in hand, the singer/songwriter was cool, calm and collected as he performed his three-song set in front of a welcoming Academy audience. Stimpson performed two originals, “Headlines” and the ever-catchy “The Fool,” which prompted those in the room to clap along. He also performed a cover of Nick Jonas’ “Wilderness.”
Following his performance, we chatted with Stimpson about his recent experience on season 14 of American Idol. He shared that it was a friend of his that wanted to check out the audition dates for the long-running singing competition. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “It was like the week before, and we decided to go to San Francisco and try it out.”
Stimpson performed the popular Maroon 5 track “Sunday Morning” for both the producers and this season’s panel of judges: Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr.
“Mostly [the feedback] I got was that my voice was a little bit different,” Stimpson said. “I’m not very technical when I sing, so I don’t do a lot of runs and stuff like that. They kind of liked that when my voice gets higher, it gets a little bit raspy. … They said to just focus more on that and maybe practice some more technical things that I could add into my music.”
And of course we had to know which of the judges was his favorite.
“Probably Keith Urban,” Stimpson said. “Because he was very like…he has these puppy dog eyes and he looked so sweet. [laughs] And he was the nicest one out of all of them, I would say from what I got.”
He shared with the UKR team that his trip to Hollywood was “pretty rough.”
“We were there for three or four days; I had about three and a half hours of sleep the whole time,” said Stimpson, who made it to the group rounds during Hollywood Week. “We were up all night trying to practice our song. That’s where I got cut. … We were the only group [where] they cut all four of us.”
Even though his trip to Hollywood was cut short, Stimpson sees the positives in his Idol journey.
“It was a good experience,” he said. “I learned a lot and met some really good people that I’m still working with.”
Stimpson shared that as of late, he’s been adding a new song to his YouTube channel every week. He said that the song selection varies, but covering current hits helps build his growing fan base and getting his name out there. He also finished recording a five-song EP that will be released later this year.
This article has been reposted with permission from Academy Art U News. Photo credit: Bob Toy.