Christian musician's humble beginnings
From sausage truck driver to touring musician
September 12, 2019
The story of contemporary Christian music artist Micah Tyler’s rise from sausage truck driver to nationally recognized musician is an unlikely one, but one that Tyler feels was part of the plan all along.
Necessity the mother of invention
“You marry into it,” Tyler told Whatzup when asked by phone how one becomes a sausage truck driver in the first place. The family of his high school sweetheart, who would eventually become his wife, owned a smokehouse sausage company in southeast Texas. Though he felt the calling to become a youth pastor right out of high school, that was just a part-time job and he needed something else to help make ends meet.
That was when his future wife’s family offered him the opportunity to drive a truck a couple days a week to help supplement the income he was receiving from substitute teaching and his work in the church.
“There’d be times when I would be getting up around 2:30 in the morning, load up 300 boxes of sausage, and then take off and driving around southeast Texas for twelve hours.”
Tyler always knew that Christian ministry was going to be a big part of his life, but a Christian music career was still one of the furthest things from Tyler’s mind until he stumbled upon his hidden talent while trying to get someone else do it for him.
“I had sung in our church and stuff, but my music education level ended at about seventh grade band,” Tyler said. But one day he bought a guitar with the intention of letting someone else use it to lead worship for his Wednesday evening youth group.
None of the students in the group wanted to learn how to play it.
“I thought, well, I’ll just figure this thing out,” Tyler said. “I just sat there with a book, bought a tuner, and sat behind a guy in worship and watched him play. It turned into me leading worship for the students and writing songs to go along with sermons.”
Calling is to be faithful
Tyler’s music caught on with friends of his and he was asked to lead other worship services in addition to his own. About seven years after picking up that first guitar, Tyler and his wife took a leap of faith, sold most of their belongings, and moved into a single-wide mobile home trailer on borrowed land to make the most of his budding music career.
“I had to keep doing these odd jobs to try to make ends meet as we tried to pursue what we thought we were called to do,” Tyler said. “It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t overnight, but fast forward nine years and we’re getting to do a lot of things that are really cool now and a lot different from things we weren’t able to do in the past. ”
When Tyler finally decided to play music full time, it wasn’t with the pursuit of accolades or making hit songs. At the end of the day, he says, his highest calling is to be faithful.
“That’s to be a faithful husband, a faithful dad, and faithful in my music,” he said. “I want to write music that shows that I’m trying to pursue the Lord.”
When he would drive all hours of the night so he could play for 15 or 20 minutes for an audience that may or may not have heard of him, it was just him trying to be faithful to his calling. Though he is obviously much more recognized now, thanks to several hit songs and opening slots on tours with Jeremy Camp and MercyMe, that approach hasn’t changed.
“No matter what the size of the audience is, I’m still trying to do the exact same thing, which is being faithful to what God is leading me to right now.”
Improv Comedy as an opening act
The upcoming tour is Tyler’s first headlining tour and is called a “Different Kind of Night,” not only in reference to Tyler’s huge 2017 album Different but also alluding to the fact that this won’t be your typical CCM show with two or three bands and a lot of hands in the air.
Tyler has employed 321 Improv, a Christian comedy improv troupe, as the opening act. If you’ve seen Tyler live or have seen some of his videos, you know he likes to have fun, so the addition of 321 Improv to the tour seems to be a good fit, though he does admit that some may be skeptical.
“If I’m being totally honest,” Tyler said, “any time you put the word ‘Christian’ in front of something, it feels like it’s going to be worse. If you hear ‘ventriloquist’ you think one thing, but if you hear ‘Christian ventriloquist’ you probably think something else. Whatever it is, sometimes the word has some negative connotation. So when I heard ‘Christian improv group,’ I thought, ‘Oh no, this is about to be a train wreck.’ But I watched these guys do a 45-minute set and they murdered it. They were unbelievable. They’re so smart, so quick, and so talented and do all this stuff on the fly. We thought it would be really fun to dream something up with these guys.”