LA GRANDE — The community of La Grande continues to inspire the music of Tyler Brooks.
The singer-songwriter released his third album of Americana-style music in May, titled “The New American Dream,” and he is working on a fourth.
“My surroundings, what is going on in the world and what is going on in my world and what I am listening to at the time have a big part in the music,” Brooks said. “I try to keep my songwriting realistic and topics that people deal with each day — not cheesy (or) writing a song just to write a song.”
Brooks said his influences in music vary, ranging from punk rock to pop and even some hip-hop.
He said he draws inspiration from personal experiences, his observations and social issues he believes to be important. The title song of his most recent album is somewhat of a protest song, Brooks said, addressing social issues including greed and misinformation campaigns.
“It’s not about what you believe/ It’s about what they see/ It’s not about who you are/ It’s all about the New American Dream” are some of the lyrics for the titular song.
He explained he writes songs about a wide range of subjects and focuses on writing about “real issues” and experiences, even when they are sad or difficult to talk about.
“I try and align my music with real life, rather than a dream,” Brooks said. “I feel like maybe our whole society is getting detached from the real world sometimes. We gloss over the bad stuff that is happening and act like it doesn’t happen. Whether it is in a small town like La Grande, Oregon, or in a metropolitan area, or even globally.”
Though he wouldn’t consider himself an activist, he said growing up listening to punk rock has played a role in his life.
“It was about not just keeping your head down and actually doing something,” Brooks said.
Growing up in La Grande also had an influence on Brooks. He said having a close community and the support around him gives him inspiration to create and develop music. He has lived in other parts of Oregon but returned to his hometown recently and still feels that support.
Brooks writes, performs and produces his music independently, though he often brings in friends to help on instruments or backup vocals.
“I am a big believer in collaboration,” Brooks said. “Best outcomes have been with multiple people involved in the writing process.”
While Brooks said he would like to perform live soon, he is holding off due to the pandemic. Until he can get back on stage, he said, he is creating another album he hopes to release next summer.