Musician Highlight: Real Face
Andrew Tyson once jokingly referred to the style of his band, Real Face, as “post-worship.” But any listener of his latest album, “Humanities 103,” will see the movement of an artist who, once jaded by truisms of church culture, has moved into a deeper understanding of faith and life itself.
Tyson remembers time spent as a child at the piano, trying to plunk his way through his dad’s Chris Tomlin chord charts. “Most of my musical upbringing was in church,” said Tyson, who has played a variety of instruments from drums to piano and guitar in worship and youth group bands. It was through church and youth group, where he was taught by a musical mentor, that he developed an understanding and affinity for music.
While always a creative, Tyson was spurred on at Geneva by the vibrant band culture. Due to a transformational experience in one of Geneva’s core classes, he began writing music under the band name “Real Face,” releasing his first album, entitled “Humanities 103,” two months ago.
“Coming into Geneva,” Tyson said, “my worldview was weak.” As a transfer student, he was bitter about taking an introductory humanities class because he had already taken a similar course at Judson University. But Tyson soon came to see that the professors who taught the course had not only important things to say, but also a lot more wisdom than he. He describes himself as being in a state of distrust when first beginning the class but was soon led to contemplate his own assumptions about the world. “The literature we were reading was giving language to a lot of experiences that I had been thinking about…[I realized] it’s probably a better life to live in a place of trust.” Tyson testifies that Humanities 103 really shaped him as a person and encouraged him to invest in better beliefs. Thus, the album was born.
“It articulates the odd experience of growing up in an evangelical church and becoming disillusioned with what you believe,” Tyson says. The album exemplifies that, showing his personal movement from a place of distrust to a place of trust. The sound itself reflects his musical upbringing in church but can perhaps be most closely associated with today’s pop-punk genre. Tyson points to Relient K, Switchfoot, and Modern Baseball as three bands whose sound most influenced his own production.
Since its release, “Humanities 103” has received encouraging feedback. While seated at the Brig for my interview with Tyson, a nearby student who overheard our conversation said: “I’ve listened to your album, and it’s so good!” Tyson responded with a grin, perhaps surprisingly pleased that the album has received such positive reception. But the surprise is somewhat unwarranted, for the songs, imbued with sincerity and self-examination, reflect a state of being that is familiar for many students. And discovering peers who find solidarity in his music has been one of the greatest rewards for Tyson since the album’s release. “It’s fun to hear that those lyrics might mean something to some students who maybe feel a little lost in their own world.”
In the future, Tyson plans to continue writing. “The goal of my music is to reflect a real life,” he said. And while his next album is just beginning to take shape, he hopes to have something ready to release by summer of 2019. Until then, readers can enjoy his music on most streaming platforms including Spotify, iTunes, and Apple music.