We had the good fortune of connecting with Freddy Tyler Paul and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Freddy, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I was just a total geek growing up. People don’t realize how nerdy making music and photography really is because they only hear or see the final products, often which are seen as glamorous in one way or another. Well every musician started out in his bedroom playing an instrument by himself and tinkering with electronics all day. At least that’s what I did! Then one day I picked up a film camera. I literally spent an entire year wandering around Chicago alone teaching myself how to properly expose a photo. So at the end of the day, I guess I just realized I wasn’t good at anything else but being my usual nerdy self, trying to create something from nothing.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
So I’m a singer-songwriter, music producer, photographer, and creative director currently based out of Long Beach. I moved here from chicago a couple years back and it just opened up a whole new world for me creatively. Everyone is working at such a high level out here, I knew that I had to really work on my craft if I wanted to play in the big leagues. So I did.
To be honest though, I’m nowhere close to were I want to be in my career, but I’m also not sure exactly what that’s even supposed to look like a year or even 5 years from now! I started out as a songwriter. I realized booking time at a studio was too expensive so I became the producer and engineer. Then I realized hiring a marketing team was too expensive so I became the photographer and creative director. Every hurdle I’ve came across as a musician was something I tackled by becoming something else.
One of my favorite aspects of chasing a career as a creative is that I never have the same projects ever come my way. I never quite know what I’m going to create tomorrow until I’m in that moment doing it. And with that, some months are often more lucrative than others. But artists need to realize that the money will always be secondary to the quality of the work that you put out from day to day. You won’t remember the money you made from a song, but you’ll always have the song.
The dilemma of being an artist is that you never get to clock out at the end of the day. That can be a blessing and a curse. Your weekends will never feel the same as they do to others. For me, it feels like there’s a monkey on my back always whispering to me that I should be working on a project. It took me years to realize that you can’t operate on all cylinders all of the time. In fact, revisiting songs after a week or even a month later has given me some of my favorite ideas and recordings. Besides, the last thing you want to do as an artist is burn yourself out overdoing the thing you love.
If there’s one thing that I want everyone to know, it’s that creativity isn’t something you’re born with. I firmly believe it’s the hours of practice spent trying to be creative that allow you to become an artist that’s willing to freely create. I wasn’t born writing songs or taking photos.
I’ll admit, I hope my early work is never discovered, still, my current work would never be what it is today without slogging my way through the early work. So my greatest takeaway is to just be willing to fail. Every once in while you’ll find a gem amongst the wreckage. You never know if it’s that gem that will completely change your life.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a photographer that prefers to work outside of a studio, you have to really explore the nooks and crannies of a city in order to keep things interesting for yourself. I should keep this a secret but one of my favorite places to have portrait sessions is around the Vicente Lighthouse in Ranchos Palos Verdes. There’s a gorgeous cliff-side bluff overlooking the ocean, along with a steep path that will take you down to the rocky beach below as well. There’s so much different landscape enclosed into one area, it’s really an unforgettable spot in the greater LA area that I recommend you go have a picnic at for a sundown one of these days.
I think one of the greatest parts of SoCal is the hispanic culture permeating through the state. So with that comes an endless sea of restaurants and food trucks dishing out the best tacos and burritos anywhere else in the world. Street food is the best food.
Before you grab yourself a taco though, I would recommend you stop at a dispensary because a joint in California is an experience that will carry you through the evening, if not longer.
I’m not one for hitting the club, but I do love me a good bar with a killer beer menu. Look no further than Wurstküche, a German restaurant and beer garden. Their bartenders have heavy hands and their bratwursts will knock you on your ass with how good they are.
Ever since I moved here though I’ve been addicted to Acai bowls and Poke Bowls. You literally can’t find those anywhere in Chicago like you do here. So that’s about half of my diet to be honest.
To reiterate, I live on a budget as a creative so I’m rarely doing anything in LA that I can’t do for free. There’s still so much of this city that I still need to see, most of my free time is trying to map it out by foot shooting photos. I promise you the most interesting people I’ve met are when I’m wandering around LA by myself.
To be honest I have yet to do anything super touristy, and I think I need to get those out of the way soon.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I was 9 my dad enrolled me in a music school in Arlington Heights, IL. That school was called El Rey Music Center and I thought all of the teachers there were just sorcerers and wizards. They all were so good at their instruments, they seemed like absolute rockstars to me at the time and they still do to me today, honestly. I owe so much of the passion I have for music and creativity to those guys; I hope the teachers there and everywhere else realize the impact they have on kids because that school changed my life.
Instagram: My Music Page is @freddytylerpaul & my Photo Page is @phred.t.photo
Photograph credits include Molly Morrison, Joey Nottoli, Nicole Galinson.