There is magnetism to Tyne-James Organ that is overwhelming. He has an aura and sound that surpasses his mere twenty-one years; his modesty so profound one would think he shies away from his abilities, although his talent is irrefutable. Recently signed to New World Artists, his name is exponentially growing in the music scene. Having already toured with the likes of Lewis Watson, Allday, The Beautiful Girls and Little Sea, Tyne is a force to be reckoned with; continuing to charm audiences around Australia. Just in March he headlined his very own East Coast tour and later this year, he will join Andy Black from Black Veil Brides on his solo tour.
But this year is not about whom he tours with; this year is about him and his own music. Tyne’s musical intelligence exceeds his upbeat soulful reggae renditions of other artists – he is an artist in his own right. Steering away from the covers that propelled him into fame, Tyne is looking to bring out his own music this year. Inspired by his own recreation, I was lucky enough to catch his performance at Arts Centre Melbourne for New Slang’s new monthly live music series; he mesmerised an intimate audience with both covers and original work. It is not that common – in this day and age especially – to see a young man hold an audience with just himself and a guitar. And by ‘hold’, I mean all the boys wanted to be him, and all the girls wanted to kiss him. Straight up. Over the weekend, we sat down to chat about his current directions; he’s wearing an orange beanie and slowly starts singing about coconuts on his ukulele.
Recently turning 21, what has been the biggest turning point for you as an artist?
Being 21 is crazy. I feel so old yet I’m still so young and it’s so early on in my career. For me, music was always what I was going to do no matter what – the scale of things has never phased me. It’s never been about the fame, although obviously there’s an element of that that is attached to every artist’s dream, of course there is, but for me it’s just about being able to share my music with people. There’s been numerous moments and things that have intertwined with the shaping of my career thus far, but one of the standout moments for me was the first collaboration I did with Allday. We covered Chet Faker’s ‘Talk is Cheap’ and the response honestly blew me out of the water. It gave me even more drive than I already had and it’s still something that I continuously reminisce in my mind. It opened up a million doors for me and is something I will never forget.
Known for your cover songs on social media, what kind of music inspires you to recreate a work?
I have a very broad range of music I listen to, so I get inspired and influenced by a lot of different sources. But I’m all about live music – no matter what artist I love, I base my judgment of them on how they sound live [whether that’s a live video recording or actually live]. Normally, when I see a band live, it’s then that I’ll feel a connection and go home and start trying to recreate their work.
Currently writing your own music, are there any individuals, artists or mediums that inspire your creativity and songwriting?
There are tooooo many things that inspire me [laughs]. Obviously, there are many music related things have a huge impact, but for me it’s certain life events or situations that join all the dots and inspire me to share my feelings. I find it hard to share how I’m really feeling with people; I’m not a good public speaker, but when I share my thoughts and feelings through song it doesn’t scare me. It feels totally natural and I don’t freak out. It’s like a whole different world.
“There’s so much you can do now that technology has advanced and on the social side of things, it’s absolutely amazing.”
Gaining traction on your social channels, you have a distinct style that often gets overwhelmed with your following. Are you grateful on how social media has affected how you interact with listeners?
I am so so grateful for what social media can do in terms of communicating with listeners and followers. It’s given me a massive platform to get myself out there. I recently did an interview through Skype and here I was sitting at my house around midday, chatting to this legend that was in Nashville and literally looking at each other live. It just blows me out. There’s so much you can do now that technology has advanced and on the social side of things, it’s absolutely amazing.
As an artist, has there been a moment you have struggled to find the real “you” on social media? Do you think artists feel the pros and cons of being online 24/7?
There has been many. Social media is a beautiful thing – don’t get me wrong. It’s the reason I’m fortunate enough to have a following and fan base. But at the same time, it’s a very scary world. Everyone has to live up to a kind of idealised standard that we see constantly projected on our screens, and it’s really hard! There’s lots of things I want to say and do, but can’t because of my following and it sucks at times. My Instagram presents me as this happy dude that’s keen on everything and there’s a huge pressure to live up to the image I’ve created for myself. I just want to make music! I try to keep my profiles as private as possible, so I only really post music related things. But sometimes people will just judge you for things and comments things without thinking of you as an actual person that has feelings.
He growls his responses jokingly, but there’s a subtle jab as I realise how true this is. It’s a millennial mind-frame: as if once you reach a certain amount of following people shift their ideals as you’re not a real human, as if they can post shitty things they would never post to their friends.
Totally. What sucks the most is that I got caught up for a little while being so stuck into the social and things behind the scenes that I stopped writing. I want to reply to everyone, and thank everyone for their support because it means the world to me and I would be nothing without it, but at the same time I’m here to make music and if I’m constantly on my socials I can’t do that. It’s a tough ball game and I’m still trying to find the right balance. You have to know what you’re doing and stick to yourself. I want my music to be about my music. Not about my personality or what clothes I wear, or any of that other stuff. Fuck that!
Fuck that. I suddenly feel very small in the presence of this boy who, although younger than me, seems to have a kind of wisdom and experience way beyond his years. He definitely has his head on straight.
A very straight head.
“Every piece of emotion that runs through my body inspires me. Whether i’ts good, bad or next level raging, it’s all emotions that I want to try and get out and put down on paper. I feel very closed off from a lot going on in my life, but when I sit down and write about what’s happening, it’s almost a sense of relief…”
When creating your own work, what inspires and curates your songwriting process?
Too many things. Every piece of emotion that runs through my body inspires me. Whether it’s good, bad or next level raging it’s all emotions that I want to try and get out and put down on paper. I feel very closed off from a lot going on in my life, but when I sit down and write about what’s happening, it’s almost a sense of relief and relaxation that flows through me. It feels really good and it’s something I never want to stop doing.
Are you aiming to release your own work soon?
BLOODY OATH. For me my dream is to be able to hand someone a physical product of my music. I love being able to share covers and original videos, but the thought if handing someone my own music is the ultimate dream for me. It’s been a VERY long time coming and the waiting has been hard but I know it’s all for the right reasons. I’m just super ready for the world to hear Tyne-James Organ.
WE ARE READY TOO. Talk to me about your nose rings…
Well that all started when I was about 15. I always loved the thought of having my nose pierced and when I finally built up the courage to do it, I got so much shit from people about being ‘gay’, a loser, the works, but I just laughed at them and repped the FUCK out of it. Funnily enough a few months later all these people that had been bagging me out for it all the sudden had nose rings too. I was so blown out at the transition, but then I felt like every other Tom, Dick and Harry so I ran down to the local piercing shop and got my second ring. It probably sounds lame but I just didn’t want that piercing that everyone had so I thought I would spice things up a little. I’ve had two rings for about five years now and there has been a lot of different occasions where I’ve nearly added another so I’m that one step further away but my nose my get droopy from the weight LOL. I actually LOL.
What do you think about the transition from doing covers to producing original work?
It definitely is a HUGE transition. YouTube is amazing and I can’t discredit it in any way at all, but it does get tough at times when you’re uploading so much cover material that people forget you are an actual singer/songwriter. I get asked a lot to play certain songs and covers that people really vibe with, which is a hell of a feeling, but that’s not my music – that’s just my interpretation of it. My goal is for people to request me playing certain songs of my own so they get me and what my music is about.
Since finding fame virally is there a surreal element in having this attention?
Straight up! To have people appreciate the thought of me replying to them [on social media] literally blows me away. When I’m playing shows I always like to hang back and meet everyone I can, and the way I am treated is like I’m not even human. But that’s not me! I am just another human, so I try and just make the vibe as relaxed and chilled as I can. Like people don’t understand that when they ask for a photo, hug, autograph, and even a chat it means more to me than I could ever say. I will never be able to come to terms with that feeling. The thought that people are buying tickets to my shows just freaks me out [laughs]. It’s absolutely insane and I feel so blessed.
Is making music a way to calm your own state of mind?
My mind is one big old ball of thoughts. It never stops. [Laughs and makes a crazy face]. In all honesty, it’s definitely a way to calm my own state of mind as it’s like releasing something that’s dragging you down. I can communicate through my music way better than I can in person, it’s the only time I can ever really organise the thoughts in my head.
So would you say it for you as much as it is for others?
Without being selfish, I make music for me. I share it with others. There’s honestly nothing like playing a song that you’ve written live – I know all artists will agree with me when I say that. It’s always going to mean something very particular and special to you. I live for the idea that I can make other people connect with that but at the end of the day those feelings are entirely yours. It’s magic.
Tyne picks up his ukuele and sings about shitting goji berries that he’s never tried. I tell him they taste like ass and crush his dreams; “All I wanted to do was try goji berries and now I don’t want to try one ever. I’m freaking out.”
Stay up to date with Tyne-James Organ here or on @tynejamesorgan. Follow Georgia Small on @geesmall on socials and @geesmall.art for more illustrations like the cover image.