Dec 29, 2015 6:00PM

Get To Know R&B Upstart/Family Man Bryson Tiller

Trap soul.

Until very recently, Bryson Tiller was living in a car and working three jobs so he could afford to make music. These days, the Kentucky hip-hop/R&B artist is signed to RCA and has copped praise from everyone from Drake to Sylvester Stallone (lol). 

We called him up to congratulate him on his epic EP Trap Soul and to chat about the surrealness of overnight fame. Turns out the guy likes Mariah Carey as much as we do (read: heaps) and is a massive family man. 

Madeleine Woon: Hey Bryson! How ya doing?
Bryson Tiller: I'm good, I'm at the mall with my family.

Congrats on the new album Trap Soul, it's so great. What does the album mean to you?
Thank you, I appreciate it! It doesn't really mean anything to me; it's just a bunch of music that I made. I guess at this point of my life I'm happy, 'cause I am where I want to be and I can take care of my family without struggling.

How did you come up with the album name Trap Soul? Is that the genre you see yourself fitting into?
A fan actually commented on one of my songs on Soundcloud saying, "This is like a trap soul movement", and I was like, "What is that?" That's like the perfect way to describe what I'm making right now. So I just decided to run with it as a project title.Are there any other genres outside of hip-hop/trap/soul that inspire you?
I love all genres of music. I just love music, for real.

Can you remember any of your earlier influences?
I was listening to a lot of Chris Brown when I was a teenager...

I saw on your Twitter that Chris Brown cosigned you — that must be a pretty crazy feeling if you grew up listening to him!
Yeah, that was pretty crazy. The craziest thing was when he actually took my song to use on his album…

What was it like seeing Sylvester Stylone give your props?
That was amazing. I think that was the most surreal moment, because he's like a Hollywood legend. So to see him even acknowledge me, to see my name on his Twitter, is just crazy. There are a lot of people who make songs called 'Rambo' or use Rambo references in their songs, and I've never seen him cosign anybody else, so you know, cosigning me — I'm a nobody… It was crazy.

It seems like everyone is cosigning you at the moment. I saw a tweet from Drake last month saying a Bryson Tiller/Drake collab needs to happen soon... 
Yeah, a lot of people mention to me about big artists they want to see me collaborate with. Just being mentioned alongside such major artists is crazy.

I've also read that you're inspired by Kanye, that he makes you want to "invent some shit and change the world". Do you think music has the power to do that?
Ah, yeah. I'm not even just inspired by his music, the things he's saying inspire me; he's just so passionate with everything he does. I saw him tweet a little while back something like, "Do everything that you can in one lifetime" and I'm like that person. I also remember watching an interview where he was saying his mum told him he could do anything, so he believed that. And I feel the same way. I feel like I can do anything if I put my mind to it. Like, literally anything. I feel like if I wanted to be a professional chef, I could do it, and I don't even know how to cook [laughs]…

That's a great outlook to have on life! What was it like opening for Travis Scott?
That was amazing. I'm so glad I did that. I was so nervous before I did it, and my managers told me that I should get my feet wet. So, you know, opening for Travis was the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet, because his fans are like super turnt. 

How does performing live compare to recording in the studio?
Those are like two completely different things. I feel like I'm getting close to mastering the art of songwriting and recording, but performing is a whole new art to master… 

You make references to comic books and anime in your music, is that just you communicating what you know?
Yeah, for sure. When I grew up, that's all my little brother and I did. I don't read comic books that much, but I love anime, especially Dragonball Z… If I was from the streets, I guess I'd be rapping about the streets, you know?

Do you have any other projects on the go at the moment, or are you kind of just enjoying your album for now?
I'm not doing either [laughs]. I'm just going to continue touring and getting better at that, and then get back working. I wish I could enjoy myself, but I've gotta get back in the studio.

So, how did the Mariah Carey sample in 'Don't' come about? It's so great!
That was just one of those moments in the studio when I was just vibing, and I started singing old school lyrics and stuff. I love Mariah Carey…

Same. She's amazing! Thanks so much for chatting to us, Bryson.
No, thank you.

Photos: Courtesy & @brysontiller

Madeleine Woon