By now you have probably heard Country Boy on the radio or have seen the video, which has been in BETs 106 and Park Top 10 Countdown for the past few weeks. The sudden buzz has many people wondering: Who is this girl Tyra?
The Virginia native has managed to land a nationwide hit with Country Boy, all without the backing of any major label push. Signed to the newly formed independent label GG&L Music, the modest 19-year-old speaks firmly about her love for a Southern brotha from around the way.
Tyra has made music her top priority, and she has managed to find the kind of success that many up and coming artists only dream of. In the midst of putting the finishing touches on her debut album, and still grasping the whole notion of overnight success, Tyra took time to talk with AllHipHop.com Alternatives to tell us how it all came about.
AllHipHop.com Alternatives: How does it feel to be 19 with a hit single?
Tyra: It feels incredible. Im really excited that its happening so fast and being so young it gives me the chance to see a lot of things.
AHHA: How have your friends and family reacted to your recent success?
Tyra: Theyre both real proud, especially my parents. They love to watch my video on 106 and Park. Everybodys proud, and Im happy that I have been able to make them proud.
AHHA: What was it like the first time you saw your video on 106 and Park?
Tyra: I was all smiles of course. Just the fact that I was Number 10, I was like wow It was really a good day for me.
AHHA: For a while people heard your single, but didnt know who you were. You were kind of this mystery girl, while some artists choose to evolve on the coat tails of other artists or producers that are hot. What made you decide to come out on your own?
Tyra: Actually I didnt know that Country Boy would be my first single. It actually just kind of happened. I wrote the song about a year ago. Danja Mowf out of Virginia, who produced the track for me, had connections with GG&L Music and took them my demo, and they were feeling the song. Then they saw my performance tape, and before I knew it, a month or two later they were sending me a contract, and a week after that I was hearing my song on the radio. It happened real fast for me. They pretty much made the decision as to what my first singe would be. They were feeling Country Boy and had confidence in it so they put it out there.
AHHA: When you were younger you were part of a group called Kraze. What was that experience like?
Tyra: In the group was me, my older sister Toya and a close friend of ours. My parents were our managers. I started writing music when I was about nine years old as a hobby, but then things got kind of serious. We hit the stage, and people were responding to us. We were together for about a good six years and opened for acts like Immature and The OJays, and met a lot of people. Then when I turned 15 they both went off to college and decided that they didnt want to do it anymore, so I went solo. I then developed my own style, did what I did, and now Im here.
AHHA: So what is about a country boy that made you want to write a song?
Tyra: Country boys are kind of unique. Its just something about them. You might think you see it everyday but the 24s, the dreads, the corn rows, the accent - the shawty, the cuz - the things that they say and do They just have a different style, and I just appreciate it and think its sexy.
AHHA: Have you dated other guys that werent from the South and it wasnt quite the same?
Tyra: Well no, I love men from the Midwest, Westcoast, etcetera, and I think all of them have something special too, but Im from down south so I am just giving tribute to the guys that I see everyday. I havent had a chance to really explore the whole world; I still have things to look forward to because Im only 19.
AHHA: At first did some people get you confused with the model Tyra Banks?
Tyra: Yes. I had no problems with it though; I just knew I had to get out there and get some exposure so people could see my face and know that there was another Tyra. Even to this day though, people are still like, Is that Tyra Banks?
AHHA: Now that youve gotten a record deal, whats been your biggest purchase so far?
Tyra: I really havent purchased anything big. I just been chilling, buying clothes and trying to manage my money right. Im trying to be smart about everything. I just want to make sure everything goes right and pay my taxes. I dont want to mess up, so Im being cool about everything.
AHHA: What can people expect from your album?
Tyra: My album is called Introducing Tyra. I worked with a lot of people on it from Rapheal Saddiq, Eric Sermon, and Keith Sweat to Mike City, Platinum Brothers, and Sanchez, who did the remix for Country Boy with Chingy and Trillville. Im almost done with my album and it should drop around May.
AHHA: In your video for Country Boy you did a lot of dancing. Can we expect to see more of that side of you?
Tyra: Oh yeah, I love to dance. Im really kind of a [B-girl]. I love to do a lot of poppin and lockin, but you really didnt get to see that in my video. It was a one day shoot and we tried to get it all done so I could get more exposure, but you will definitely see more dancing from me in the future.
AHHA: What do you think makes you stand out amongst all the other female R&B artist today?
Tyra: I just do me, and continue to be myself and do what I love to do.
Tyra: Whats in the future for Tyra?
AHHA: Hopefully more success if God lets me see it. Right now Im just focusing on what Ive been doing for so long which is music, and I cant see myself dipping off into anything like acting or fashion right now. Im still young and learning, looking to set myself straight and reach my goals relating to music first.