Touring With Young Children, Record Labels, and Christmas Music: An Interview with Tyler Somers of Jenny and Tyler

Jenny and Tyler are a husband and wife folk duo based in Nashville, whose career contains five studio albums, three EPs, two Live albums, and a Christmas album. Up until the most recent album, Of This I’m Sure, Jenny and Tyler released their music on their own with the help of crowd funding. I was given the opportunity to talk with Tyler Somers and meet with them before their show at the Art House North in St. Paul. Tyler and I talked about life on the road with two young daughters, joining a record label and working with producers, and recording a Christmas album.

Jenny and Tyler started touring over seven years ago. During my interview with Tyler, he described touring with their two daughters, the oldest being three and a half, as, “crazy, great, and hard all at the same time.” Tyler talked about how after being on the road for over seven years, touring and traveling had lost all its romanticism, and being able to see life on the road through the eyes of his daughters helped bring that back to touring. Tyler also mentioned, that even when being a parent and being a working musician clashes to make life hard for both, Jenny and Tyler and their children, “The childlike, bright eyed approach to life kinda feed our souls.”

As their albums have progressed, Jenny and Tyler’s sound has grown and changed over the years. With the last few records, they started working with producers during the recording of Open Your Doors. Tyler said he has had, “Some of the best life experience from working with producers.” As their sound has changed, adding more percussion, strings, and quirky instruments, they have needed more musicians to play on their records and to play with them live. Tyler said they have a few friends they can call on to help on the records, but drummers and other musicians usually come from a the producer’s list. Living in Nashville gives them the opportunity to use many great session musicians for recording, and Jenny and Tyler have the input to pick and choose who they can use to bring life into their music.

Recently, Jenny and Tyler made the switch from being completely independent artists signing to a record label. They previously relied on crowd funding and self-financing to release their previous albums. Of This I’m Sure and their new album Christmas Stories was released through a new label called Residence Music. Tyler said that a big reason they made the switch was because of their manager, Christie Bragg, who worked with the larger label who started Residence Music. Tyler said, “We looked at the philosophy the label had and saw that it lined up with ours.” Residence was started with the belief that musicians who believed in God could make music for a general audience. Jenny and Tyler, being the first artist on Residence Music, found that they were able to learn and grow together. They still ran into areas of disagreement, usually when it came to marketing choices. Jenny and Tyler are still able to be in full creative control with the music. Tyler described the label as, “having another team to glean wisdom from and get more opinions from.”

Today, November 4th, is the release of Jenny and Tyler’s newest album, Christmas Stories. During my conversation with Tyler, he told me that the influence behind doing a Christmas records was their love in classic Christmas music. Tyler talked about how listening records and listening to Christmas music was one of the biggest things that got them into the Christmas spirit during holiday season. Tyler described the album as, “…paying homage to music that influenced them.” One of the songs on the new record, “Winter Wonderland,” was a label choice to have on the record, but Jenny and Tyler had a great time recording and arranging so it would show the influences of those old jazz standards.

 

You can tune in to The Remnant to hear the latest from Jenny and Tyler, as well as keep up to date on their various social media.

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