- Music City Confidential (novel) 1997
- Hearts of Fire
- Bobbie Sue
- Modern Day Romance
- Baby’s Got a New Baby
- Twenty Years Ago
- The Light in Your Eyes
- many others
by Lauren Gillentine (SHS)
Born on November 22, 1950, in McComb, Mississippi , Dan Tyler grew up in a Southern home. His parents gave him the encouragement and support that a future songwriter and author needs. His father Bill, who is now deceased, and his mother Margie, who was a former school teacher, established a good family home. Along with his two younger brothers, Bob and Bill, Dan enjoyed life in the town of McComb (Tyler, interview).
Tyler’s education led him to his future careers of both a songwriter and an author. He started writing music around the young age of twelve or thirteen and learned to play the guitar by ear. Even with no musical training, he could naturally write music. Tyler attended McComb High School. While in high school, Tyler was the president of his class, a national merit scholar, and was very active in artistic things such as debate and acting (Tyler, interview). While still in high school, Tyler began writing poetry and was captivated by music. Graduating in 1968, Tyler finished third in his class and furthered his education at the University of Mississippi. While at Ole Miss, Tyler earned his bachelor’s degree in English and also earned his law degree there as well. Tyler was at Ole Miss for a total of seven years and graduated in 1974.
While attending Ole Miss, he met his wife, Adele. They have two children, William and Elise, and are currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee. Their son, William is following in his father’s footsteps and is currently in a musical group called Life Boy (Tyler, interview). The Tyler’s are a very talented family.
Since Dan Tyler moved to Nashville in 1976, he has been successful in many different fields of work. For the past twenty years (Tyler, Glance), he has been a music publisher, an entertainment attorney, a songwriter, and an author. As a music publisher, Tyler has been very successful. He and his wife, Adele, founded the Intuit Music Group. This company publishes music and is also in the production business. They discovered and produced albums for such as Webb Wilder, as well as others. Tyler’s career as an entertainment attorney did not last long. At the same time that he was an entertainment attorney, he also was a songwriter. He did this from 1976 to 1981).
Tyler’s first song was recorded while he was still an undergraduate at Ole Miss (Chicago). This was just one of the many songs that someone has recorded by Dan Tyler. In 1978, Eddie Rabbitt recorded Hearts of Fire that Tyler had co-written. His song Bobbie Sue, performed by the Oak Ridge Boys, was one of the biggest country hits in the eighties. It reached number twelve on the Billboard Pop Charts. In the next five years, the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band’s Modern Day Romance, Ski’s Baby’s Got a New Baby, and Kenny Rogers’ Twenty Years Ago, all written by Tyler, became hits. These are not the only songs written by Tyler to be recorded by well-known artists. Among the other artists are Glen Campbell, Marie Osmond, and Keith Whitley. Another song of Tyler’s to be recorded by one of country music’s greats is LeAnn Rimes‘ The Light in Your Eyes. Over sixty of Tyler’s songs have been performed and/or recorded by many different artists. Five of which have been number one hits (Cox, Profiles).
After twenty years in the country music business (Tyler, Glance), Tyler decided to write a fiction novel from his experiences. Music City Confidential, released in Fall 1996, is his first novel to be published. Tyler is currently working on a second book that is going to be set in Mississippi (Chicago).
Life for Dan Tyler has been one of change and excitement. By combining several careers along with a strong Mississippi background, Tyler has turned these changes into success. He is a true inspiration to those that have dreams.
By Laura Gillentine (SHS)
With his novel, Music City Confidential, Dan Tyler gives an inside look at the country music world. Written at the peak in the entertainment business, 1992, (Patterson), this great novel was written to give the reader a look at the country music world from the inside out (Miro). Tyler strived to make the book entertaining and at a fast pace (Tyler, Glance). The novel was well-thought out and well-written.
In the novel, Music City Confidential, Tyler does an excellent job in creating each character. Though no character is representing one acquaintance in his past (Miro), they are composed of different characteristics from several different people that he has met during his twenty years in the entertainment business. Each character is paired up in the novel with another character by some characteristic that they both might have (Tyler, interview). Also, each character has a good and an evil side to him (Patterson). The story takes place in the year 1992, a year when the country music industry was booming. A big time Hollywood producer, Mason Reed, moves to Nashville in order to boost his popularity. The protagonist, Tommy “Sonny Boy” Price, gets dragged into a big mess of sex, drugs, blackmail, and country music fame. The author, Dan Tyler, takes you on a wild adventure all over the western hemisphere dealing with all sorts of issues. Without giving it away, everybody gets extremely wrapped up in sex, drugs, blackmail, and country music fame, that they wind up in a mess of trouble and chaos.
There are a few things that a reader might look for, or look out for, in this novel. The plot is extremely well-thought-out and is one that keeps you reading in order to find out what will happen. The plot takes a lot of unexpected turns and gets pretty wild as the reader gets deeper into the novel. It is indeed an action and adventure novel. But, on the down side, it does have a lot of detailed sexual implications. For those readers who might be sensitive to anything relating to sex, they might not want to read this novel. There is also a lot of reference to drugs. Behind everything that happens in the novel, everything has some tie to drugs. For the most part, I believe that you will be able to look past the few possible negative things to see that this is truly a wonderful novel. Well-thought out and thoroughly-executed, Music City Confidential is a wonderful novel for all readers.
by Laura Gillentine (SHS)
What kind of student were you in high school?
I was a pretty good student. I graduated close to the top of my class, and I was a national merit finalist. President of my class. I graduated maybe third in my class. Kind of a brain. Kind of artistic.
When did you start writing music?
I started writing music probably when I was twelve or thirteen.
Did you have any musical background?
No, none, it’s all by ear. I just hear the songs in my head, and I learned how to play guitar well enough to remember them. But I never learned how to write music, never studied piano, never studied musical theory. But I started pretty early.
Who is your favorite author?
Well, I like Earnest Hemmingway, I like Tom Wolfe, some of the early John Grisham, some of the Russian novelist, Dosteveski and Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, people like that. I like Walker Percy.
Did any of these authors influence the way you write?
John Grisham did to some extent because he definitely inspired me to write the book, and I think I wanted to write something that is a page turner and has a really strong plot. That is what I like about Grisham. He has really strong plots. So I think he influenced me. And Tom Wolfe, who wroteBonfire of the Vanities had an influence on me. On this book.
So they got you interested in writing?
Well, I think they got me interested in writing a novel. I had always written songs and poems and things like that. But I decided a few years ago that I wanted to try something longer. So that’s why I decided to write a novel.
How did you start writing the novel?
Well, I just had the idea that I wanted to write a novel set in the country music business since I’ve been involved in for a long time. There’s never been a novel written about country music that I know of. And it has an interesting, colorful atmosphere. I had several interesting experiences, and I had some things I wanted to say about it. Then I didn’t quite know how to start it. I wanted to tell it from the perspective of an outsider. So when I created the character, Jonetta, the black female journalist, I thought “well, there’s an outsider.” When I got her in mind, I just wrote the first scene of the book. I kind of wanted to write how the basic theme is greed, how corruption had maybe changed music. And it is really a story about Tommy Price. I don’t know, I just thought of this really wild story till I had it. I knew all the elements of the story and what was basically going to happen. The end came later.
Did you list the characters out when you were writing the book?
Well, I spent a long time thinking about it. A lot of the work of writing is the thinking process. Just thinking it out. So by the time I started writing the book, the characters were like real people to me. It wasn’t really listing because I had thought about each one of them.
Did you physically outline the book?
No. I know you’re supposed to. But I didn’t start out not knowing what was going to happen. I try to imagine it like a movie.
How many edits did you go through?
Well, that’s an interesting question. Every time I would start writing another chapter, I would go back and reread it all the way up to that point. So by the time the book was finished, I had read it over and over and over. I had almost memorized it.
How has Mississippi influenced your writing?
Well, first of all, growing up in Mississippi, there is a tradition of writers coming from Mississippi. So coming from early on, I thought this might be something I could do. Mississippi has always celebrated its writers, just like you’re doing. And I think that’s always important. And I think, like with Grisham. Somebody sent me a copy of his first book before it was big hit. I thought, “Hey, if this guy can do it, maybe I can do it too!” But in terms of this book, I’m not sure how much of Mississippi is in this book. I’m writing a new book. And it’s set in Mississippi. So obviously that’s going to have a lot to do with Mississippi. But I feel like growing up in McComb and going to Ole Miss was very important. I was an English major and at McComb we had a good high school. Writing and anything literary was encouraged. The encouragement I got was important.
Are you writing your second book like your first one?
Well, yeah, basically. I’ve thought about the story for a couple of years. And I’ve finally got to the point where I could get started. And so I sat down and started writing and seeing where it will go. I probably break every rule they tell you.
How did you find your publisher?
Well, he was here in Nashville, and it was the first person I took it to. He was new in town. I read an article in the newspaper. I thought I would try it. He was sort of looking for a book like this. He wanted to do a book about country music. A novel.
Is the book based on real situations, real people, or is it just a combination?
Yes and no. None of the characters are based on one person. But they are based on people I’ve known. I put different parts of character from this person. And the plot isn’t based on anything real. Once you read it and finish it, you’ll see. It was just “what if.”
Do you have any advice for future writers?
I think it is important to try and find your own voice. To trust your own way of seeing the world and expressing it. It is important to study English and to read as much as you can. But I think just as important as that is to just trust your own voice. That way that you would explain the world. And beginning to trust that. Think that the way you see the world is valid and important and worthwhile. Don’t be too inhibited about it. If there’s anything I do that others don’t do, what I am able to do I’m uninhibited. Whatever I’m thinking, I want to express it. To be a songwriter or novelist or poet, you have to be able to trust that and not second guess it and to get it out. To let it flow. And so, I think. go out and try to experience life, and everyone is going to experience life in a different way and have a different perspective on it. I don’t think you can learn how to be a writer by reading or taking classes, to me it’s more important to be courageous and brave and to open your eyes and ears and to think. To really think . And think in original ways. And not to accept the way things are explained to you. Be open to it in a fresh way, in an original way. Trying to be original to a certain extent. It’s all been written about. The only thing a writer can do is to tell it from a different angle. So I don’t know how you do that, you go into life with an open attitude and try to be fearless about it. Trust your inner voice that speaks to you.
Do you have any advice for students?
Try to read as much as possible. Learn the basics of English. Try to read great books. Try to read the classics. Study human nature. Psychology. I read a lot of psychology. One of the ways I put my books together was with different psychological types. Like in my book, you’ll notice each character is paired with another, and I think that is the way people are in life. They go through life in pairs. So I think studying psychology and different schools of psychology is real helpful. And studying myths that go back to Greek and Roman. Those stories and plot lines are sort of universal. I don’t think those things change that much.
- “Author, The”. Online. October 29, 1998. Available at http://www.musiccityconfidential.com/html/author.html.
- Chicago Tribune Book Reviews Nashville Banner. Online. October 29, 1998. Available at http://www.musiccityconfidential.com/html/reviews.html
- Cox, James L. Mississippi Almanac 1997-1998: The Ultimate Reference on the State. Hometowns of Native-Born Famous and Notable Mississippians: McComb (Pike County): Dan Tyler. 207.
- Cox, James L. Mississippi Almanac 1997-1998: The Ultimate Reference on the State. Index of Famous and Notable Mississippians (by name): Tyler, Dan.189.
- Cox, James L. Mississippi Almanac 1997-1998: The Ultimate Reference on the State. Profiles of Famous and Notable Mississippians: Dan Tyler. 170.
- Miro Books. Review in The Nashville Banner. amazon.com. Online. August 3, 1998. Available at
- Patterson, J. C. No. 1 With A Bullet. Books. Clarion Ledger. December 16, 1996.
- Tyler, Dan. A Glance: Music City Confidential. amazon.com. Online. March 11, 1998. Available at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ts/bo…71369/qid=909685035/002-3230081-3479427.
- Tyler, Dan. Telephone interview. November 22, 1998.