Suppose country music artist Tyler Braden doesn’t win the season one finale of “American Song Contest” airs Monday night on NBC. In that case, he’s still spent the past six weeks hanging out with hosts like Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson and the contestants, including 90s pop superstars Michael Bolton and Jewel.
“Winning the ‘American Song Contest’ for Tennessee — a state with so much singer-songwriter history — marks me as a representative of so many great artists who have come before me,” Braden said. at the Tennessean on a Friday morning before rehearsing for his final-round performance.
However, if he doesn’t win, he considers Snoop Dogg to be “an awesome, surreal moment” in a whirlwind over the past two months that has also seen him recently tie the knot with longtime girlfriend Marisa Taylor. in an intimate wedding with family and friends at Joshua Tree National Park last month.
“When I started competing I was also nervous, but all the acts – Michael Bolton and Jewel included – are as nice as can be and amazing human beings. We all fight for each other, win, lose or draw,” Braden said of the time he spent in Los Angeles taping the program. He also highlights the incredible diversity of talent (“It’s a melting pot of talent”) and the backgrounds of the artists are also remarkable.
NBC’s “American Song Contest” is the network’s attempt to emulate Europe’s iconic seven-decade “Eurovision Song Contest” series. This competition produced world superstars like the British Lulu (1968), the Swedish ABBA (1974), the Swiss Celine Dion (1988) and the Norwegian Secret Garden (1995).
The U.S. competition featured 56 competitors (representing all 50 U.S. states, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC) performing an original, previously unreleased song in a five-round competition. qualification, two semi-finals and a final. Additionally, mainstream “name value” artists like Jewel (representing Alaska) and Bolton (representing Connecticut), as well as Sisqo (Maryland) and Macy Gray (Ohio), with two dozen Billboard hits over the course of of the last three decades, have made things interesting.
The performances were judged by a 56-member jury of music industry professionals (one for each state and territory) that included more than a dozen iHeartMedia radio professionals, artists and songwriters nominated at Grammy Awards, a representative of song rights holder Hipgnosis and more.
For Braden — a former first responder born in Slapout, Alabama, but now based in Nashville — representing Tennessee has been “stressful.” Many of the contest artists have not entirely uprooted themselves in Music City, but frequently visit the hub of the music industry to pursue similar success to what Braden is enjoying today.
Although on the surface it can be intimidating to be surrounded by rivals, the songwriter said there is a community within the community where shared passions inspire deep respect among competitors. Additionally, he sees the “tremendous support” for his work as one of the unexpected career perks of the seven-week competition.
Braden performed his self-penned song “Seventeen” during the competition. His popularity adds to a career-redefining run, including the XM Satellite Radio success of his 2021 single “Try Losing One,” which was viewed 15 million times on Youtube last year. This led to upcoming opening dates for Brooks and Dunn, as well as a featured spot at Warner Music Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater concert on Saturday night during CMA Fest.
“(‘Seventeen’) is one of the top 25 songs I’ve ever written,” Braden said. Along with his team at Warner Music Nashville, the management and producers of the “American Song Contest”, he chose it from 12 possible songs for the program. “(‘Seventeen’) is about nostalgia and thinking that you figured it out at a very young age. It’s a super relatable song at many stages of people’s lives.”
As for the competition and what to expect from the final round, Braden offers an important note as a reminder: “Song is king.”
Due to competition, his regard for his craft as a songwriter and performer grew.
“As an artist, you can watch the part and play the part, but the strength of the song is what stands the test of time. I feel like the judges and the fans on TV m hear a great song that I feel as comfortable and confident singing on this stage as I do at a concert in Nashville.”