Let’s file this under “Good things happen to good people.”
You may remember Tyler Barham, the young pizza delivery guy from Montana who was in our “Next GAC Star” talent contest back in 2008. I interviewed him, along with the other finalists, for GACTV.com. I remember how excited he was to be in Nashville for the first time and I recall thinking, “This kid can really sing.”
Tyler was encouraged to enter the GAC contest after Nashville singer/songwriter John Griffin saw him performing a cover of Tim McGraw‘s “Just To See You Smile” on YouTube. Tyler didn’t win our contest – he came in sixth place — but he didn’t let that stop him. The determined teenager went back home and continued performing.
Since he was too young to sing in bars, Tyler used YouTube to spread the word about his music. He became a YouTube sensation by taking online requests and posting videos of himself singing songs by top country artists. In a three-year period, he generated over 4.5 million YouTube plays, 400 thousand channel views and acquired over 14 thousand YouTube subscribers.
Last fall, Tyler started writing songs long-distance with Griffin, via the video conferencing application Skype. In the summer of 2010 he made another trip to Nashville to record his self-titled debut EP, produced by Griffin and Dave Flint.
The EP came out September 4 — and by September 7, he’d landed at No. 39 on the iTunes Top Country Album chart, beating out several notable major label country music acts including debut CDs by Jerrod Niemann and Justin Moore. Not too shabby for an independent artist!