With a mysterious demeanor and reserved manner, it's difficult to size up Bryson Tiller by the clothes he wears, his social media or even his music (which, by the way, has its own category: Trap-Soul. Pre-order here). A chill sit-down in his hotel lobby, however, is enough to bring it all out. Suddenly, the cosigns from Drake and Timbaland mean nothing. Now, instead, it's your cosign that matters. And your cosign, he will inevitably have.
To date, Tiller's SoundCloud has garnered over 30 million listens and 110K followers with his hit single "Don't" at the forefront. Recently Tiller's "Just Another Interlude” (a play on Omarion’s “Bria’s Interlude” from Drake’s So Far Gone mixtape) reached two million listens.
When asked about the accomplishment Tiller sighs in disbelief, his eyes pointing up to the ceiling.
“Damn,” he says, as if still in awe. “That’s crazy.”
Ironically, Tiller's bashful character can speak volumes. Though shy as he may be, he is a rising star nonetheless. For those not exactly familiar with the trap-soul crooner yet, consider this the perfect opportunity. Keep reading to find out who the man behind the music is.
REVOLT: Tell me about your night. What have you been up to since you got to New York?
Tiller: Me and my best friend went walking through Times Square, just doing stupid stuff. We looked like real tourists taking pictures. Everybody looked at us and laughed.
Nah, then we went to Insomnia Cookies. We got one in Kentucky. I was so hype that y’all had one here.
I went there the other day! What’d you have.
Twelve dozen chocolate chip—traditional.
Noted. So "Just Another Interlude” recently hit a milli. Congratulations!
Damn, yeah, that’s crazy. It’s a good feeling. I remember when...last time I dropped a song was like three months ago—it happened with “Ease" and I thought that was spectacular. So you know seeing “Just Another Interlude” go hit a million in a week is like “wow, that’s crazy.” I’m just seeing the growth you know what I mean?
Absolutely. What are you feeling in the midst of everything?
I’m shy, man. I’m super shy. I wanna work my way into it. I wanna prepare myself mentally for what’s to come. I never thought that I would be an artist.. I always thought I'd just be like a songwriter or something, but that’s not how it happened.
Talk to me about “Don’t.” That’s the song that pretty much put you on the map.
And you recorded it in your living room. Did you have any idea you were making a hit record at the time?
Not at all. I was eager to make that song because I hadn’t recorded a song in over a year or two. I stopped doing music to focus on a job and take care of my daughter. So I finally got some money from some friends—$600 to buy studio equipment. I bought it all off of eBay and put it in my living room.
I was eager. I’d get off of work like man “I hope my mic came in today,” or “man I hope my speakers came in today.” So I came home one day, seen everything and hooked it up. I went on SoundClick and got this beat, “Don’t.” I uploaded it onto my computer and I recorded it. It was crazy. I was just chillin’ in my room.
I didn’t expect to make a song that was going to change my life at all. I was just like “alright cool, this is a beat on the internet, let me make a song to it.” I just made it.
What was your inspiration behind that song?
Man, at the time in my relationship I was doing some—I just felt like I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. I wasn’t acting right so I said “Man what if somebody else was to come into the picture and talk to my girl." I’m pretty sure he'd take her from me if he knew everything that was going on in our relationship. I wrote it thinking “I’m gonna be that person.”
I commend you for putting things into perspective like that. What made you come back to music after two years?
Sleeping in my car. I was staying with someone and they put me out, and it hit me. Somebody has the power to put me out on the streets? That’s crazy. So I said “alright cool. It’s time to get on this music thing. I’m gonna do it now.” The struggle is what really made me want to get back into music.
Before music there was UPS and Papa John's, I hear.
I was working at UPS first and that wasn’t enough money to support my daughter so I felt like, “Ok I need to get a full time job.” My boy and my best friend put me onto Papa John’s. And then that wasn’t enough.
Shoutout to the friends that hit you off with money for equipment.
For real. Shoutout to them.
Back to “Don’t.” It’s almost at 20 mill.
It's crazy. I remember celebrating the mill. I dropped it on October 9th, 2014….
You got the date on lock, huh?
Yeah, and it's actually a song off my project, T R A P S O U L. I’m excited to put it out.
Talk to me about the project. October 2nd, right?
Yeah. I'm actually talking about my journey since “Don’t" on there.
When people ask me what “trap soul” is—it’s not trap music. It’s not soul music either. It’s trap-influenced R&B. I listen to a lot of trap music and it inspired my music. I remember thinking one day "what if I sang on these beats?" How a trap rapper would come at it. My perspective changed.
What can we expect from T R A P S O U L? Any features?
No features at all. Just all me.
I want to say there’s one surprise on there that’s different, but I’m not gonna say what it is.
Give me something!
It ain’t even a major surprise. It’s just different and people will hear it and be like, “Oh alright.”
So tell me something—away from music—that nobody knows about you.
I wouldn’t say nobody…maybe a handful of people, but I’m into extreme video games. I’m a nerd. And I love sci-fi movies.
Favorite video game?
Of all time? Easy. "Grand Theft Auto." I know that game in and out.
Favorite gaming system.
I gotta say 360. The Xbox, man. It changed my life.
If you could have any superpower in the world, which would it be?
Teleport. I’d rob so many banks. You ever seen "Jumper"? I wanna do that.
Ha! So T R A P S O U L, October 2nd. Why not the 9th?
That would be super dope, actually, but people are anxious.
You should do something special on October 9th to commemorate the date.
You’re right. We might just have to. Look out for it.