Sheffield-based singer/songwriter Tyni has been honing her synthpop-based material for a while now, leading up to the recent release of her debut EP Cherry Trees. We caught up with the hotly-tipped 22-year-old artist to find out more…
SYNC: So tell us a bit of the background to the Tyni story so far…
TYNI: I’m a pop artist having a love affair with my music. It’s my relationship without the problems. My name was originally given to me by my dad. When I was around six I would dance around on my tip-toes in the kitchen and he would call me tyni and it stuck (I’m still only 5’ 4’’). I guess it all first started when I would sit by my dad whilst he played the guitar and we would play songs by The Beatles, I remember that well.
I’ve shifted through a lot of identities throughout my life and as an artist I’m forever evolving even as a person and now I continue to be that way. But I do think it takes several things to create a person’s own sense of uniqueness. Open-mindedness is key; change is also good. I think I want people to still feel magic in music and that’s really my priority. I’m not cool and that’s never been a goal of mine. I want to be a truly great artist, true to my craft.
SYNC: It sounds like you’re well-travelled, with spells in the States as well as in London. What took you to the US and how did your time there influence you creatively?
TYNI: I’m gonna live there, in LA. I’ve made a point of saying that now! It was the greatest place to be, it still is and I often think about it! Driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, up at 3am getting late night milkshakes at Mels Diner! Don’t get me wrong I’m very proud of where I’m from and I don’t think that I would have been the same having not been from Sheffield, it made me. But LA is shape shifting, I’ve always wondered if people eventually get fed up of it, but I highly doubt it. I spent months out there writing and recording my album and just messing around really, experimenting with parts of myself. I think I’ve always been meant for something more in life, I’ve always believed that and being in LA kept me in tune with my beliefs.
SYNC: Tell us about the tracks on the Cherry Trees EP and what those songs mean to you.
TYNI: The idea of my music is so people lose themselves in a world that doesn’t have to feel necessarily like living in reality, like the way movies felt once upon a time when movies were classic. But I also think for me on certain songs like Fighter, it’s for waking people up and making them ‘feel’. That’s what I love about music, it can take you back to a moment in your life. You’ll realise in time that’s the sort of realness that will never actually leave.
TYNI – Fighter
SYNC: What’s your approach to songwriting? Is it collaborative or very much a solo process?
TYNI: I think process is important especially. The first part is to know who you are and what you want to share with the world. It’s a combination of things and it does all depend. I do write a lot of ideas in my bedroom – I do that because it’s impossible to be distracted in a room with four bare walls and the odd self-help book knocking about. I have to be excited, it can be as simple as one single chord that gives me that magic feeling and if I get that then there’s a good chance something good will come out of it.
I work with producer Wayne Wilkins [responsible for Beyoncé’s Sweet Dreams, and who has also worked with Natasha Bedingfield and Cheryl Cole] who is just one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. We’ve worked together on a lot of my music and we have a great working relationship. When we work together we are always in a very focused space. I’ve also done collaborative work with artists such as MNEK and RAYE.
SYNC: Which artists have inspired you in the past – and are there any new/emerging singers or bands that have particularly got you hooked?
TYNI: Music was literally the only thing I’ve ever wanted to own. It can change me and I think I like that. My tastes aren’t really pop dominated; I have a collection of artists that are my go-to’s. The music I grew up around was mainly The Beatles, The Monkees, Phil Collins and Genesis – pretty much all male artists because of my dad of course! I’m inspired visually by a lot of artists, although those kinds of artists are like gold-dust now. When I was around 15, I discovered Bowie, and I saw music very differently after that. I still credit him for a lot of the changes in my life, he provided a safe place for kids like me.
The visual elements of music today feel very standard and the world has this impression that beauty is this boxed thing, it’s not. I feel that there is a lack of individuality at the moment and that’s really sad. I figured I don’t easily adopt this idea everybody is back on R&B – I don’t really recognise with that since my true self is pop music! I like Dua Lipa, I met her at Glastonbury and she was a true sweetheart. She was rising beneath the surface for quite some time. She’s a girls girl which is a nice change and I think she’s the start of something great.
TYNI – Cherry Trees
SYNC: Your style comes across as super-strong and individual – how difficult can it be to stay true to your own personality within your music/image against external pressures of expectation?
TYNI: I think if it’s real it’s not hard and if it’s hard it’s not real. I’m like a child in the sense I dress exactly as I want and every day is different for me. I’m really into checked trousers at the minute and steel cap boots. I’m not just here to follow a trend or to pretend I’m into a particular style. I’m not really fashionable – in fact, a lot of the stuff I put together makes me feel physically sick! My influence in style has come from a lot of different people through time. Nina Hagan is one of my favourites. She’s kind of spooky and I like it. As for music, I’m not in any hurry to jump on a scene. If it’s real to me that’s cool. If it’s not, I’m still gonna keep doing my thing.
SYNC: What are the plans for the rest of 2018? Are there any live shows in the diary?
TYNI: I have a world full of unheard music I’m ready to share with you all. I have a lot of live shows going on I’ll be playing The Great Escape Festival in May down in Brighton which I’m super excited for. I’ll also be headlining The Leadmill in Sheffield on 29 June. My next gig will be at Sheffield’s Frog and Parrot on 5 April.