At 23 years of age, Tyler Barks has done more things than most people can say. The musician/photographer/videographer has been in business for himself since he was 14, and he’s made it through some tough times. Tyler created a song for us to help Teens at Risk get through tough times. Check it out below, and check out our Q&A with Tyler.
What was your inspiration for the song? Were you inspired by any particular people, events, or stories?
Trouble always found me when I was young. When I was 14, I got arrested for being out past curfew. I swore to get out of that crowd but then few years later, I ended up getting a criminal vandalism Felony 3 charge. It almost put me in juvenile detention center until I was 18. I got tied into the wrong crowd but luckily had a great family that supported me, and I pushed on to help others going through the same thing. I watched a lot of people I know throw their lives away abusing drugs and alcohol, so I found inspiration from stories, events going on, and my personal life.
How did you come up with the lyrics?
I always start with the beat and then usually just start freestyle rapping (sometimes not even rhyming) about how I want the song to be laid out. Then I begin rhyming the words- building the story and from there. Then I just polish it up to the completed song/story.
Rap is one of the most popular genres with teens today. Why do you think that is and why was it the right choice for a song on this topic?
I feel it is a perfect genre for this topic; a lot of teens find rap as an outlet. Ultimately, rapping is poetry and freedom of expression, which I feel a lot of people can relate to. Even the more hardcore rap songs about drugs, fighting, drinking, etc…it is the life that most of these people grew up with and they use it as an outline for their music, and people relate to it in their own ways.
This song is meant for teens at risk. Why do you think this is an important issue for people to know more about?
I think they need to realize that when you are young, it is hard to think ahead of the consequences. Teens need guidance like I had when I was young. I was always respectful and kind, but had a knack for getting in trouble for the littlest things that would turn into bigger things. My parents supported me through everything- even at my worst- which helped me get back on track. It is about stopping the youth before they get to that point of getting of abusing drugs and alcohol or getting into the legal system. It is hard to get out once you are in.
What do you hope is the result of this song?
I hope this song can help some kids that are feeling lost and trying to find their way. I have been there and lived it, finding out later there is so much more to live for than you think.
Why do you think a song/rap was the right platform for getting the message out about this topic? How can music help with spreading awareness/affecting change for teens at risk?
I feel music (not just rap) is the best way to get any message out because people can relate. Music is a tool that can strike emotional chords, no matter happy or sad. That’s why people can relate. It is one of the largest outlets I had when I was going through it and I hope to pass that around and help others.
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