Music has been cited by scientists, theologians and philosophers as one of the most palpable and moving ways for humans to express themselves. It is known and accepted as a core aspect of the human experience and is referred to as a fundamental promotion of happiness, camaraderie and the infinite possibilities within the human imagination.
For Tyler Cox, a senior psychology major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, music, in its many forms, has served as an outlet for him to write about his life experiences, as well as a way for him to explore his own musical artistry and his faith.
“Music is the best form of emotional expression that we have,” Cox said. “I know for myself it's that way, but just for humans in general, music is just really important.”
Cox put out his debut album titled “Here to Stay” on April 5 on all music platforms. The album explores Cox’s relationship with his faith as well as his relationship with his fiancee, whom he will marry in July.
“I think the album encapsulates a lot of my life in the past two years. I spent a lot of my time musically reaching toward the future and a dream,” Cox said. “Now I feel like I don’t have to prove anything.”
Referring to his past, Cox confessed that for a long time, he felt like he needed to find self-worth through his music.
It wasn’t until about two years ago when he first attended Citylight Church that he became active in his faith. Because of this, he said he was finally able to be confident in himself and his music without validation from others.
“It's like, I love music and I love to sing and I love to write, and this is the first time it isn’t for validation or for other people,” Cox said. “It’s the first time it’s just for God and for fun.”
The album is lyrically simplistic and sweet, very obviously influenced by the effervescence of young love and a new engagement. Songs like “Letters” and “Here to Stay” particularly highlight this.
Musically, there is a structured cohesion to it. Heavy synth influences drive most of the melodies, and smooth electronic beats provide the backbone. Much of the album’s production is credited to UNL junior marketing major Ross Grieb, whom Cox met in a worship band at Citylight.
“Ross and I worked a lot together to find a specific sound for the album,” Cox said. “It started with all seven songs sounding really different, and Ross was able to piece them together.
Cox attributed his love of music and his inspiration to his faith and his relationship with God. After college, he said he wants to become a worship leader at church where music can always be a part of his life.
“My faith in God is what has shaped my music more than anything else,” Cox said. “It’s essentially why I made this album and why I love music now.”
According to Grieb, his friendship with Cox helped bolster the finished product of “Here to Stay,” along with Cox’s character and life changes, like his recent engagement.
“You can just trust the dude,” Grieb said. “He puts out some dad vibes in, like, a good way. He’s trustable and very upfront with what he wants, and I’m like that, so it just kind of worked.”
Grieb attributed Cox’s eclectic taste in music as a big influencer to the album, as well as his extensive background in musical theater and choral performance, which he had been involved with since the fifth grade. When Cox first attended UNL, he was classically trained for two years as a vocal performance major in the Glenn Korff School of Music.
“The fact that he is familiar with so many different genres kind of gives him the freedom to be honest with what he was thinking,” Grieb said “ He was able to kind of adapt it from whatever he was thinking instead of trying to put it in a box.”
The production of “Here to Stay” has not only been an enjoyable, new experience for Cox, but also a way for him to explore his relationships with God, his fiancee and, most importantly, himself.
“I feel like this album was a stepping stone to being more comfortable, being vulnerable,” Cox said. “Music in general is just very vulnerable, and that has always been something I’ve been afraid of.”