Tyde Levi hasn’t always made music, but you’d be forgiven for thinking he has. The Melbourne-based, Perth-bred 18-year-old sings with a confidence and agility that belie his age. The first time Tyde sang, though––as in, really sang, not just singing along to Frank Ocean in the shower––was just under two years ago, when a producer friend of his asked him to lay a vocal on a track he was working on. Hesitant at first––his brother was a singer, but he just sang for fun, absent-mindedly––he recorded a vocal for the song. And he loved it.
Before this, he had wanted to be a producer, but wasn’t cut out for it. (He didn’t have the patience.) The rush and the thrill of singing was instantly intoxicating, perfect for Tyde, a bright-eyed kid from Perth who loves to move forward, who loves to experience things, who can’t sit still. 18 months on from this curiously life-altering non-event, Tyde still loves the rush of singing. But now, the thrill is even sweeter, because he gets to make music on his own terms, art that reflects the strong, unique individual that he is today.
Tyde is introducing himself to the world with his three-track Tyde Levi EP, a collection of warm and fluorescent songs about love, heartbreak and adolescence that places him firmly in a pantheon of the alt-R&B auteurs that he admires. Inspired by the critically-revered emotionally resonant work of artists like Frank Ocean and SZA, the Tyde Levi EP doesn’t shoot for viral notoriety or international pop stardom. These songs, for Tyde, are the kind of songs that he likes to listen to––music that, no matter whether you’re happy or sad, will feel like exactly what you need, when you need it.
To create the Tyde Levi EP, Tyde worked with renowned songwriter Daniel Johns, as well as Cosmo’s Midnight, the Sydney avant-pop duo making waves on the internet with their production work. Big fans of both, Tyde spent three days in Daniel’s house with them working on his record. Working in the same room as some of his songwriting and production idols was good for Tyde,lending a cohesiveness to the body of work and giving him the inspiration to speak truthfully and emotionally in his lyrics. You can hear this raw emotion all through the Tyde Levi EP, from the way Tyde sings about sex in lead single “Goldchains”(featuring horns from members of seminal Philadelphia based hip hop group The Roots no less) to the pain that courses through “Sober”, a song about unrequited passion and fleeting romance. To hear such candour in music is rare; to hear it from someone so young and so new to music is practically unheard of.
But then again, that’s Tyde for you: preternaturally talented, unashamedly emotional, constantly surprising. He’s the kind of artist that would rather look you in the eye and tell you how he feels than obscure his intent with flashing lights and gaudy production. It’s the music that matters to Tyde, and not much else. Or, to put it in his words: “No bullshit.”