Sophomore producer, singer-songwriter develops craft

Tyler Simpson started making beats, writing lyrics that personally resonated with him while in middle school. (Photo from Instagram)

A singer, songwriter and producer from Arizona — this is the triple threat that has just hit the spotlight. Tyler Simpson, a sophomore majoring in business administration, started making beats when he was in eighth grade.  

Simpson came up with his stage name, Nemo Lakes, from distinct childhood memories about getting lost and living by a lake, which have stuck with him since.

“Nemo is because when I was a kid, I got lost at a waterpark during a field trip, and I guess my teacher called me Nemo, and it kind of stuck on,” Simpson said. “A lot of my friends, when I was a kid, would call me Nemo. Then Lakes — I grew up on a lake, and I thought it was a fitting name, and it sounded kind of cool.”

With no music lessons or training, Simpson taught himself all he needed to know about music and the art of making beats, while writing lyrics that represent his life experiences.

“I’ve definitely had a lot of self-doubt or self-pondering and wondering about different things and during this transitionary period of life, I guess that all the different thoughts I’ve had about myself and about everything around me I kind of formed into my music,” Simpson said. “I’d say there’s definitely very much a self-empowerment or self-belief element in my music.”

 When songs contain meaningful words that spark emotion from listeners it makes it easier for people to connect with it. Simpson’s music contains messages of self-worth and never giving up on what you desire.

“The message that I would be trying to send out is really believe in yourself and your self-worth and do what you want to do. Follow what you really believe in. I’d say that’s really the main message behind all of it,” Simpson said. “I believe very much in being yourself and not trying to conform to other people’s beliefs and society’s real metrics.”

If Simpson does not have an initial gut feeling about a song he has created, he will stop working on it. For him, it is important to be proud of the music he makes and confident in what he puts out.

“When I usually make a song that I like, I’ll get this feeling,” Simpson said. “I’ll feel it in my gut or feel it in my chest, like, ‘OK, this is super cool.’ I just recently, like probably two weeks ago, just made the first song that I felt like that since [my first album] ‘Lakes’ and really it took me four or five months after I finished ‘Lakes’ to come up with another song because I didn’t really like any of the music that I made after that.”

Jalen Stokes, Simpson’s fraternity brother and publicist, has known Simpson for a year and met him through their fraternity. As his publicist, Stokes helps Simpson with organizing and deciding what shows to play, as well as who may be interested in interviewing Simpson to get him exposure.

“I think for him, as an artist, he’s progressed,” said Stokes, a sophomore majoring in music industry. “Not just, ‘Oh, I’m going to just put out music and see what happens to it.’ He’s really trying to create a fan base and really trying to tap in with media and do shows and how can he grow as an artist. I’ve seen that with him happen in the last few months.”

Simpson took a break from music but is now ready to play shows live again and share unique and vibrant content that he has written with listeners who can relate to those words. He is able to create a wide variety of types of music that allow listeners to be transported to a different time.

“Tyler’s different because there’s no box you can put him in,” Stokes said. “Even looking at his inspirations also, his actual music, each track is slightly different than the other. Like there is a song where I feel like I’m listening to rock, like a rock album, from the 1980s, ’90s and then there’s other songs that make me feel like I’m on the beach, and I’m just watching waves pass by … He also does it all: He writes, he produces and he sings, so a lot of people either do one or maybe two out of those three, but he does all of it.”

Ryan Fischer, a sophomore majoring in music production, has known Simpson for a year, but they only recently began bonding over their love for music. Fischer assists Simpson in producing and creating the tracks that he envisions.

“[Simpson] is just super genuine in his music and his personality. As a person, he’s a super genuine person,” Fischer said. “A lot of artists want to put on a persona or a brand and strive for some kind of — there’s some element of putting on a mask. With a lot of artists they want to put on a character and Tyler, to a certain extent, puts on a character for his audience but he’s one of the most genuine dudes I’ve ever met. His passion for the music is so real.”

Although he does not wish to be a very prominent artist, Simpson does aspire to have a core group of fans who support him and are able to connect with his music.

“Since the last project that I did, it’s been pretty quiet from my end in terms of output and everything,” Simpson said. “It has been a lot of personal development and musical development and I’m really, really, really excited for the stuff I’m going to put out starting next year.”