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Interview With Ty Shore Music

Ty Shore is ready to take off. With a few releases under his belt and an insatiable appetite to continue growing his craft, the Canadian rapper is enthusiastic about getting his music to the ears that need it the most. The 21-year-old has been creating hip-hop music for over a third of his life, and his desire to create has never been stronger. Ty has been hard at work on a follow-up to the three albums he dropped in 2020, ending with The Light in November. Ty's lyrical complexity and his commitment to difficult topics are juxtaposed with his lighter side that is happy to vibe out and have fun. The result is a dynamic and layered catalogue of hip-hop tracks that can speak to many listeners across various moods. Ty and I got together over Zoom and had a chat about what motivates him, his lyrics, how he got into making music, and more.

Photo of Ty Shore Music performing at Ralph Brown Community Centre in Winnipeg. Taken in January 2020.
Photo courtesy of Samuel Stevens Photography.

What first got you into music and made you want to make rap music? Ty Shore: If I look back on where it all started, it was in 2014 where I really got into it. Growing up, I always watched John Cena and stuff in wrestling, doing the freestyling where I was like, "That's really cool." So I always had the love of wanting to try it, and when 2014 came, the community centre I went to started a program, where they partnered with a radio station, and they'd come in and find people who wanted to make music. My buddy and I, we really wanted to make music. The reason we picked hip-hop was because we had been listening to a lot of MGK and Eminem and stuff like that. And we were like, "This stuff is really popping. What if we could make stuff like this where people could vibe to it and feel motivated by it?" So we kept the creatives flowing, and when we got the opportunity- obviously, our first few songs weren't the best, because nobody's first songs are the best, but it always leaves room for improvement- so as time went on, I realized how much I enjoyed making music, and when the unfortunate split came between the studio and all that, I realized I wanted to keep doing it. Everybody else around me wanted to stop, but I wanted to continue because, over the years, I'd seen myself and friends get motivated by just something they'd hear in a song. A line, a hook, anything. And I knew I wanted to be a part of that journey for someone. If I could do that for someone with my music, I absolutely wanted to be a part of that. And hip-hop is such an influential genre because it's so out there, and there's so much you can do with it that you can't necessarily do with other genres, per se. Other genres have their own preconception, but with hip-hop, you can be very versatile. And that's why I'm really happy that I'm doing hip-hop and rap. What artists most influenced your musical style? TS: Some people would obviously say Eminem because Eminem is very influential for a lot of people. But for me, it goes down the MGK and Macklemore route because, with MGK, I knew he had the catchy beats, and he was always rapping faster and all that, and what really got it going for me was Vanilla Ice. He's a '90s icon and, as a white guy in rap, I have to respect the culture and what it is. And Vanilla Ice is seen as the corny white guy rapper, and Macklemore knows how to do the combo between corny and serious. So I saw that dynamic mix and thought, "Wow, I'm a goofy, funny guy, but you can make it if you're more serious." So I kinda went the Macklemore route with my music. In my discography, there are so many serious, funny, or just vibing songs. Lyrically, your songs can deal with those heavier subjects, but there's also a bunch of goofier stuff, and then you have songs like "Welcome to the Party," which is exactly what it says, a party song. Do you choose what type of song to write based off how you're feeling at the time, or do you try to make sure you always have a good mix of everything? TS: So "Welcome to the Party" was originally written and recorded in 2016, but the new version that was released was rerecorded and remastered, and it was part of a plan- it was originally supposed to be released in 2020 as a big summer song. But COVID took that off the table. So when it was coming up on my birthday this year, I was feeling like I couldn't really celebrate or go out, so it was a conscious decision, "Let's make the party happen." People are feeling, with the vaccines rolled out, that things are a bit more normal again, so I had a conscious decision to release a party song, so people can feel that feeling if they're feeling nostalgic about what to feel at a show.

Is there a song that you've written that was particularly meaningful for you or that you were nervous to put out into the world? TS: The song that I hold most precious to my heart that was not just difficult to put out but difficult to record was "No More" from my second album, Break Free. That song talks about abuse and sexual assault, and it's such a 360 from what I'm used to talking about. It's never an easy thing to talk about issues like that because it happens every day to people, and that's the most unfortunate thing. And I just knew, from my experiences, from others' experiences, from things I've heard from friends… I just knew I needed to make a song like that. And people have told me that it connects with them deeply because they're able to express themselves with that song, and they can't do that with other people. So that song really is dear to my heart. What drives you? What gets you out of bed in the morning, ready to write and record music? TS: I love this question because people ask me on the daily how to stay motivated. I'm human, just like everyone else, and some days I wake up, and I don't want to do anything. I'm not motivated to record or write, but what I'll do is tell myself, "You love doing this." I remind myself I'm not doing it for other people- yes, I want my music to reach other people. I'm trying to convey a message. But at the end of the day, I'm doing it because it makes me happy, and it makes others happy. So I sit there and go, "Yeah, I'm human. Maybe today I don't work on it. But tomorrow, I'm gonna wake up, I'm going to treat myself with kindness, and I'm going to create something that will not only benefit me but will benefit others." And that's what keeps me motivated, knowing that there are people who want to hear my music or who will message me and tell me how much a song really motivated them or got them through their day. Who are your favourite artists of all time? What are some up-and-coming artists that you think are really great? TS: My favourite artist of all time is easily Michael Jackson. With no question because I've always just loved that- I tried to follow this too when I release an album or a project- if you go listen to his whole catalogue, you realize no album is ever the same. Every release is something different than the previous because every sound is like something new. I've tried every album I do to make a different sound because I feel it's important to switch it up a little bit, not a whole 360, but I think it's important to switch it up and be unique with every release because only a certain amount of people if they're really dedicated, they listen to the same thing again and again. So when I look at Michael Jackson, you can listen to Thriller, or you can listen to Off The Wall, and it's two completely different styles. So, Michael Jackson really motivates me. He's my favourite artist of all time because also, he's motivated me regarding healing the world and spreading kindness to everybody, which is very much something I've learned from him growing up. When you ask about new artists, I'm going to be honest with you I haven't listened to too many new artists lately that I can recall. It's not that I don't like new hip-hop or any new music today, it's just that I can be very easily influenced by a lot of things, so sometimes I get in my head too much. And if I listen to current artists who are getting popular, I'll sometimes accidentally tell myself, "If I'm not making music like this, am I ever going to hit the charts, am I ever going to do this?," and then I kind of have to collect myself and go, "Wait no, you're Ty Shore, you're unique, you're you, you're not them. This isn't your music, that's their music, keep doing you." That's why I don't listen to too much new music so that I don't get too caught up in my head and try to copy their sound before I stop and realize who I am again. One thing I've noticed is that I listen to fewer newer artists now, not because I don't think there's anybody good out there, but it's just that I've found a lot of artists that I really like and need to keep up with. And so, at a certain point, you just think, I don't have the emotional bandwidth to continue checking out new bands. Does that ever play a factor in checking out new music? TS: Yes, most definitely because, especially in hip-hop, you always have those rappers who think, "I'm better than you," and there are the common ones that flash the chains and the money and all that stuff, but I personally can't connect with that. I need that emotional connection level, you know? If you listen to a band like Linkin Park, they're so legendary that almost every song they have someone will relate to that, and I need that emotional connection, and I'm hoping my music can do that too. That's why I make emotional music with heavy topics as well, because I know that's what a lot of people need.

When was a time when your music really resonated with you unexpectedly? A song that hit you right at the perfect time and place? TS: I think "Here With You." It was one of my first singles originally released, written, and recorded in 2019. I wrote and constructed that entire song for my friends. At the time, all my friends were just having the worst weeks of their life, and it was just so stressful, and I was feeling like it's hard to motivate and try to manage like eight friends messaging you at once, being like, "Dude, I need motivation." So I eventually wrote "Here With You" to kind of get the message out there to stay positive, stay strong, and stay true because you're not alone. I'm here with you. And that is why it's probably the most perfect song for the time because everyone I knew was going through something, and that was able to help some of them get through their days. So one song that really stood out to me was "Treaty One." Can you tell me more about that and your decision to incorporate Indigenous music into the song? TS: I'm so glad someone asked me about this song. I've been waiting to talk about this. I knew I've always wanted to make a song that incorporated Indigenous culture to it -having Métis background myself. So when I was creating Break Free, it's got the concept of breaking free from something, and I thought that a lot of people need to break free from just how many stolen sisters. And how much neglect that there is against Indigenous people. So when I made "Treaty One," I knew I needed to make sure this hits properly because I really wanted to make sure that the message continues to be out there that when you look at Indigenous culture, people don't realize just how strong it really is and how sacred it can be. So when making "Treaty One," I just knew, like with my little sister, she's a young Indigenous girl, and I'm imagining, "What if she was added to the list of missing and murdered?" And that really hurt. Even at the community centre when I'm working with the kids, I'm thinking, "Imagine if any of these kids or any of the Indigenous people that I'm with, imagine if they're added to the list of the many people who are still missing and the ones who've been murdered." And when I made "Treaty One," it wasn't a song that I wrote down ahead of time. I was just on the microphone, and I just let it flow and let my heart speak, and I pieced it together, and I knew that this song was meant to be made. So what do you hope your music accomplishes? Is there a long-term goal that you have in mind? TS: Yeah, when I originally started, the goal was always to do a Canadian-wide tour, meet as many people as possible, and I still do have the goals of touring across the world or Canada. I want to meet as many different people as I can that appreciate the music or connected to it in an emotional way. But in more recent years, my goal has always been and will always be to motivate and to make someone's day. That will always be my goal. From whether I'm constructing a song to planning a show or anything like that. My main goal is, "How will this benefit myself and others?" What were some collaborations you'd want to do if given the chance? TS: Oh, man. I would absolutely love to make a song with or collab with Macklemore, to be honest with you. When I think of the fun side, I think Macklemore and another artist that I'd love to collaborate with, on the more serious side, would be someone like Royce Da 5'9. That would actually be pretty dope because I feel like a lot of his catalogue is kind of overlooked sometimes. So that would be a really interesting collab as well. So what's something you like to talk about that I haven't mentioned? Is there something that you really wish someone would ask you about? TS: You know, something that I really have been wanting to talk about a lot is the support from people. Because, you know, a lot of people say that they're always nothing without their fans and then you see them do a 180 where it doesn't seem like they really mean it genuinely. I want to talk about how the support from people -even just one person saying that a song made their day or your songs are in my playlist for when I'm feeling down. That can motivate me for like a whole new release of an album. Because I feel like these six people in this group may not like my music thing and never want to listen to it again, but these two people over here, they absolutely love my music, they need my music, and it motivates them. That's what I'm doing it for. That's something I really love talking about, the support and just how much the fans and supporters are really important to anything you do. Yeah, absolutely. I agree so much. A lot of people just pay lip service, but you know, I'm glad that's something that motivates you so much and drives you to make good music. TS: Yeah, most definitely. And something else too, with the support, is that a lot of people say that it's really good to build local and then branch out to go international, but with social media and Spotify, Apple Music, all these things that are out there and available everywhere, that's not gonna happen as much anymore. You can go worldwide just from the comfort of your bedroom. A lot of my music will be played in Winnipeg or Ontario, and then all the way in England and the Philippines, and I'm like, "Wow!" Some people will say to me, "You're not local. How do you plan to get down there?" If I don't get out there tomorrow, that's fine, but just knowing that people out there can connect with an artist like me, just a random Canadian boy who has a passion. That is so important just because people here may not love it; people over there will.


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