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Tyler, the Creator Thinks His Voice Is Keeping Him Off of the Radio

In an interview with GQ, Tyler, the Creator, says he's still looking for radio play but has his own theory on why it hasn't happened yet.

by Kristin Corry
07 August 2018, 8:09am

Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Tyler, the Creator has created such an off-the-wall persona for himself with the creation of the Odd Future collective that it could have been fair to assume he didn't crave mainstream success. In an interview with GQ, Tyler is debunking that myth. He sat down with the men's magazine to talk about his sweet tooth, his obsession with music, and what he thinks happens after we die. Even with all the success he's been able to find and a festival he curates every year, Tyler's next goal is more traditional than you'd expect. He just wants his songs on the radio.

"I've been trying to get on the radio," he says. "I haven't been super successful with that, but that time will come. If it's not the next album, then it's the three after that." He remembers being introduced to Sade, Maxwell, and N.E.R.D. through the radio and wants to be able to provide his fans with the same feeling.

Although it's not the most important thing, there's still a percentage of me that wants to listen to the radio one day and say, “Oh, that's my song!” A lot of my favourite artists I heard for the first time because of the radio...It's still a piece of me that not only wants to be on the radio, but it's probably some 11-year-old in the middle of fucking nowhere who might hear a song, look me up, get introduced to a whole world – and that could change everything he's into for the rest of his life.


His lack of airplay seems to be something he's thought of a lot, which spawned a theory about why his time hasn't come yet.

...I think there are certain voices that can make it into a mainstream world because of the tone that they're in. People like Jay, 'Ye, Drake, you know, Kenny. It's a world that their voice lives in. It's not too high and squeaky, and it's not too low and bassy, it's not too abrasive and raspy. It sits in this space that's easy listening for humans. And I'm still trying to figure out the science behind it. When I do, I'll let you know, but I definitely don't have that voice. And I fucking wish that I did.


Speaking of Kanye, Tyler shares that he had sort've a visceral reaction to 'Ye's last album, specifically relating to "Violent Crimes." He cried.

Those chords, like, fucking – I can't explain what they do to me. I always talk about chords and probably sound like a fucking dork, but since I was fucking 4 years old, I would always say it was a slant or it went up, 'cause I didn't know what chords were, but it was a thing that music did that I just felt in my fucking body. And that was the most recent song that did it to me. Like, 1 out of 10, that shit did it a 12, and I just – my eyes just started watering. I couldn't explain it. I hope when I die it gets explained to me.


His interview with GQ gives us just a glimpse on his emotional reaction to hearing "See You Again," his collaboration with Kali Uchis on the radio for the first time last year. Shortly after, he tweeted, "Like bruh, my whole career I've never gotten radio play cause I was 'too weird.' This is a moment, wow." If this interview is any indication on where his mind is, he seems patient toward finding mainstream success, while still staying true to himself.

Kristin Corry is a staff writer for Noisey. Follow her on
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This article originally appeared on Noisey US.