By Taylor Barrett & Max Wellman
Rapper and singer, Jordan Smith, aka “Tylo $mith”, hails from Great Falls, Montana. Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, Smith spent most of his summers in Vegas, and the rest of the year in Montana.
Smith has lived most of his life in Montana since the age of three, telling us that the amount of space in the Big Sky State allows him to focus on what he is most passionate about: music. Because the atmosphere and pace of life seems to be slower in Montana, it allows for more creativity and imagination, and a lot of time to do so.
Smith has been musically inclined most of his life, and had his first formal introductions to music in school. Smith started singing and playing music around the 5th grade, playing the saxophone and singing, quickly realizing that his talent and passion was geared towards his voice. Smith joined his high school’s choir and honed his skills as a musician, and following this experience, Smith decided it was time to take things in a different direction: “I just decided one day that I was going to try being a SoundCloud rapper.” He told us with a short laugh.
Smith told us that he was inspired by his success with choir and the encouragement from his Choir teacher. His love for music evolved when he downloaded production software on his computer and started to make his own beats. After his first successful attempt, he found that the next logical step was buying a microphone and jotting down some lyrics–turning him from just another kid in his basement with a laptop, to Tylo $mith.
In the Fall of 2016, Smith took his passion to the next level and began recording his original music extensively. When we asked him: “Why hip-hop?” Smith told us that he chose the genre because it’s the “most lyrical,” lending itself to his own creative process. After writing and releasing a few albums, the young rapper from Montana began doing shows in 2017–performing around Montana nearly 10 times.
Although Smith stated that he feels it can be hard to break out in the Montana Hip-Hop scene, he has been well received on platforms such as Spotify, with over 40k monthly listeners. His new album “Blue Lens” dropped on November, 2nd, and has drawn nearly 100k track plays in less than a month. Smith also recently released a music video for “So Gone” and the title track “Blue Lens”, with the help of Bozeman filmmaker Colter Olmstead.
Tylo $mith’s production crew consists of himself and two producers, who make the majority of his beats. Justin Winkler and Kaden Mann make up JaiKae Beats, the producers for Tylo $mith. Smith mentioned that once he started working consistently with the same producers, it made his sound more cohesive throughout his projects, bringing a new form of clarity to his albums. He told that out of all of his mixtapes and albums, “Blue Lens” is by far the most well-rounded and cohesive album, and we can agree.
Although Smith appreciates the atmosphere of Montana, he tells us that he plans to move to Los Angeles, California in the near future–a city with a larger audience for his music and a more conducive music scene.
When asked about any Montana artists or rappers that have inspired him, Smith told us that Montana rapper, Zak James, has been a big influence. The two met at a show they played together a few years back, and Smith said that they have been great friends ever since. He mentioned that not only is James incredibly talented, but that he’s always fun to be around (whether or not music is involved).
Smith’s broader influences include Big Sean and Tyler, the Creator, telling us that he really admires Big Sean’s flow and attack, and how Tyler, the Creator says just about anything he wants– influences you can hear in Smith’s music.
Be sure to check out the new album, “Blue Lens”, as well as the music video for “So Gone”, and the title track “Blue Lens”. Smith is also in the process of working on an accompanying mixtape, so be sure to follow him for future details. You can find Tylo $mith on Instagram, and his music on Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.