YouTuber Tyler Ward's music has actually saved lives

This interview is a part of #KanvasLive, an interactive, cross-platform content series brought to life on the Kanvas app and AOL.com. See more coverage here.

Tyler Ward's name is well-known in the YouTube world. As one of the first creators on the video platform, he has made a name for himself and his music online and built a passionate and supportive fanbase because of it.

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In the 8 years he's been on YouTube, Tyler has filled his YouTube channel with popular song covers and original music. He's always had the talent, but YouTube gave Tyler the success he needed to jumpstart his career.

AOL.com had a chance to talk to Tyler at VidCon, a convention that celebrates video creators and their passionate fans. Read more to find out about the best piece of advice he's ever received and how one of his songs has actually helped save lives.

You have to see Tyler's crazy hidden talent with this water bottle:
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How long have you been involved with YouTube?
I am an O.G. of YouTube and I feel like the internet age is like dog years. So if you're alive on the internet for a year, it's like you've been doing it for seven. The most beautiful thing about that is that I've basically been doing this for 40-something years then. I feel like I'm a retired YouTuber and I feel very comfortable saying that because I know my brand, I know my thing, I know what works and what doesn't and I'm cool with it. I owned it.

How did you fall in love with music?
My mom was like, 'Hey, Tyler. Here's a bass guitar. We need someone to play at church.' I was, 'Oh.' And so I played a couple of notes at church. I remember that my mom was a touring pianist and she always had music playing in her house and I remember always being fascinated by it. I grew up in sports and was always disciplined and trained in things that were not music and I always had this love affair with it and I never told anybody because you would always get made fun a lot if you were doing sports and music. When I got to high school, I just decided I would sing in the choir. I sang in the choir, played sports and I made a bunch of friends and brought them all together. One big happy sports-musical family.

What is your favorite song or cover you have ever done?
I wrote a song called, 'The Rescue' and it was very inspired. I remember getting 500,000 views in the very first days. It was an original and my fans were very involved, but I got a message from a fan and they said, 'I was about to take my life and then I heard this song and it made me re-evaluate everything and I didn't.' And that didn't just happen once, but over a hundred times in that year-long period. So, it was a very inspired song and I needed to put it out because it literally changed lives.

What's the best advice you've ever received?
We've grown up in a world where people tell us, 'You should do this, you should do this, you should do this.' And we grow up in America thinking we have to do things a certain way and I remember someone said, 'You don't need to be what you think you should be. Do what you feel like you have been created to be.' And it didn't make sense to me, so I did everything but follow that piece of advice because I was like, 'I have to be, I have to be.' And then I realized it's exhausted and I just relaxed and stopped trying and just started being. So, I guess the advice in the end was 'Don't work hard, work smart.'

Check out the scene at VidCon:
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What is your favorite thing about your fans?
They've stuck with me from the early days. There are some people who have fallen off but I don't want them for my fans. People who are just in it for like, 10 days, or even just three months, I don't really want them as my fans. So people who are real fans have been with me for years.

Do you have a dream collaboration. Who would it be?
It's a pipe dream and it may be dead, but Taylor Swift. I met her once and I wrote a song for her called 'Tyler Swift' and I promised her that I could change my last name to Swift. And I gave it to her and she was like, 'I'll listen to it' and I don't think she listened to it.

Check out more photos from VidCon in the gallery below:​​​



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