From Hollywood to N. Broad

Former American Idol contestant Tyler Grady is a sophomore psychology major on Main Campus.

Former American Idol contestant Tyler Grady is a sophomore psychology major on Main Campus.

Sophomore psychology major Tyler Grady sat down with The Temple News after Spring Fling – a souvenir can of whip cream in his hands after being pied – and discussed music, Temple, his experience on American Idol and his band, Wailing Waters.

MATT FLOCCO TTN Tyler Grady performed at Spring Fling last Tuesday.

The Temple News: Why did you choose to study psychology?
Tyler Grady: I’m really just very interested in human behavior, and no matter what, I want to be working with people, in or out of the entertainment business.

TTN: Does that mean you plan on coming back to Temple in the Fall?
TG: Yes, I’ll technically be a second-semester sophomore in the Fall, continuing to pursue my bachelor’s degree in psychology.

TTN: OK, now for some of the music questions: Who’s your inspiration, and what might one hear on Tyler Grady’s iPod on a typical day?
TG: Well I’m a front man, so some of the ones I really look up to are [Led Zeppelin’s] Robert Plant, [The Who’s] Roger Daltrey and [Aerosmith’s] Steven Tyler. In terms of the iPod, maybe some Kings of Leon or Michael Jackson.
I really am open to all sorts of music. I like rock, funk, soul – anything. If I’m able to feel it emotionally, then I like it.

TTN: Any music you dislike?
TG: Not really, just things I can’t connect with.

TTN: Can you tell us a little about your experience on American Idol?
TG: It was the best time of my life, and when I got kicked off, it was one of the worst. It honestly did feel like a dream when I got brought to Hollywood from Boston. I had watched the show for years and tried to envision myself standing up there. I really wanted to be on it, and when I finally got up there and when it all happened, it was so surreal.

TTN: How much did Simon and the other judges talk to you guys off screen?
TG: I never saw them off of TV. I mean, one time I passed Randy Jackson in the hallway, and he did his fist bump and goes, “Yo, dawg.”

TTN: Is the group of contestants on the show really as family-oriented as it seems to be on television?
TG: Many of us were. You’re thrown into the mix with all these great people. Seeing others go was definitely one of the hardest things to watch. It was almost like a battle during Hollywood Week. You get so close to the person next to you, but you never know if they are going to be picked off or not.

TTN: So, do you still watch the show? Who do you want to win?
TG: The only performances I watch are Casey’s [James]. He’s an absolutely great guy, excellent singer, and he was my roommate when I was there. Besides that, it’s pretty hard to watch honestly.

TTN: Definitely understandable – can you tell us a little about your family life?
TG: Right now, I live at home with my parents and my 10-year-old sister. I have a great circle of friends, many of which are [fellow] band members.

TTN: Speaking of your bandmates, can you tell us about Wailing Waters?
TG: Most of us have grown up together. My entering the band was a very gradual process. I started singing for them in eighth grade, and it just slowly evolved, and I slowly became a part of it. There’ve been a few line-up changes since I’ve been in it. Right now it’s a five-piece. Travis [Hobbie] does guitar and vocals. He also writes the songs. Joe [DiMarco] is on keyboards and vocals. Josh [Zullo] does bass, and Jackson [Lucas] is on drums and vocals. I’m on lead vocals. We all graduated high school in 2008. Last year, Travis, Josh and I lived in Kardon[-Atlantic Terminal Building]. Jackson and Joe transferred to Temple this year.

TTN: So where’s your favorite place to chill at Temple?
TG: Definitely the Bell Tower.

TTN: Favorite place to eat?
TG: Maxi’s, with all those specialty pizzas.

TTN: So why did you come to Temple?
TG: As a musician, I wanted to be in a city. My dad also really wanted me to go to a state school – Temple was pretty much the option. The deciding factor was that it was in a big city.

Matt Flocco can be reached at

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