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Decatur man's talents in full bloom
by Bobby Tedder
btedder@neighbornewspapers.com
September 25, 2012 06:55 PM | 2410 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jesse Tyler plays a few notes on the deck of Eddie's Attic, where he recently had his first solo show.
Jesse Tyler plays a few notes on the deck of Eddie's Attic, where he recently had his first solo show.
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If his fortunes continue their recent upswing, Decatur multi-hyphenate Jesse Tyler may soon find himself making the transition from hidden treasure to known quantity.

Whether executing a flawless pirouette, strumming a reverberating guitar lick or penning a dizzyingly insightful lyric, Tyler’s underpinning of artistic talent rings true.

By day, the lanky 25-year-old is a leading man for Atlanta Ballet. When the sun goes down, he slips into his role as singer/songwriter.

“Dance and music have gone together since the very beginning,” said Tyler. “You can’t have one without the other … it’s gratifying — marrying those two things. It’s pretty powerful.”

Those around him agree that Tyler is the genuine article. But, an overnight sensation he is not.

Tyler began honing his dancing chops at age 7 in his native Charlotte. His early education in the art form included performing in the balletic rite-of-passage piece, “The Nutcracker.”

An intensive eight-year period of study ensued, ultimately leading to him landing his first professional job at age 16 with North Carolina Dance Theatre.

After waiting a year to audition for Atlanta Ballet after moving here, Tyler scored a spot with the company five seasons ago and has not looked back.

“You get to dress up and kind of pretend to be somebody else — that’s gratifying,” he said. “Plus, telling a story without actually saying something is a really interesting craft to me … you can say more with the movement of the arm than speaking a whole paragraph. It’s fascinating just to watch.”

Tyler — a keyboardist as well — is also continuing to spread his musical wings, having recently played his first solo show at Eddie’s Attic, with others to follow at Smith’s Olde Bar (Sunday) and Sweetwater Brewery (Oct. 20).

He describes his sound as a blend of rock, jazz and “a lot of other influences thrown in there.”

Music came naturally to Tyler during his formative years. A household populated by musicians — a guitarist stepfather, songstress mother and two younger siblings playing drums and bass guitar — is responsible for that.

“What always stops me in my tracks is his songwriting, his lyrics” said band mate Christian Clark. “It’s very refreshing to hear somebody breaking away from clichés … I would definitely like for more people to hear him, get a little more exposure on the music scene.”

Clark is one of the few people who can assess Tyler on both artistic fronts as he, too, is a dancer with Atlanta Ballet.

“He’s probably one of the most artistic people we have in the company,” said Clark of Tyler. “It’s hard to find [someone] with that level of artistry and technical ability … but he has both.”

So what of the demands his double life presents?

At present, a typical day for him — accommodating both music and dance pursuits — lasts about 15 hours.

“I love both,” he said. “Every time it gets hard, I feel the love I have for them [resurface] and things get to be really easy again. I feel very lucky to not just do one thing I love, but two … I’m very lucky.”

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