He’s the front man, lead singer, and the amazing screamo punk ukulele player of Twenty One Pilots.
AND, it’s his birthday.
Happy birthday, Tyler!
So we wanted to mark the occasion and share Ten Things We Love About Tyler Joseph.
1. His Determination To Keep Us All Alive
“STAY ALIVE” is a persistent message, present in Tyler’s song lyrics/poetry, as well as symbology of the band. Think of the songs Truce, Kitchen Sink, Guns For Hands, Holding Onto You, and more: “Let’s take this one second at a time”, “Stay alive, for me”. It’s *everywhere* and an important message that Tyler clearly makes a point of sharing, while on stage and on social media. We love that.
2. His Musical Talent
This crosses over into determination too, because when he was younger, Tyler was said to “know that the songs on the radio were inside the piano” and he just had to work out how to get them out. Clearly he worked it out, and eventually made his own radio songs. His self-taught musical skills flow across multiple instruments, including ukulele, which has inspired a wave of new ukulele players worldwide. (And made ukulele playing look so cool. Just saying.)
3. That Smile & His Laugh
Tyler is often deeply immersed in the music he’s performing, which is not always focused on happy topics. So when he smiles…
That smile could light up a thousand of the darkest planets in the deepest, furthest, corners of the universe. And the laugh that often follows. It’s infectious, contagious, and amazing. Behold:
4. His ‘No F’s Given’ Clothing Style
Floral kimono? Sure! Wear a dress while performing on TV? Don’t mind if I do! Leggings? Whatever! Tyler just wears what he wants. He does it without apology. And why shouldn’t he? The music and the message is what matters. And here, we embrace it all, wearing our own Tyler-inspired outfits, punctuated by white circular sunglasses, red beanies, painted hands, and black skinny jeans. I wonder if Tyler ever expected he’d become a style icon..
5. His Belief In His Creative Ideas
All of us at one point wondered, “What’s with the black on his hands and neck?”. And it soon became apparent that this was Tyler physically representing an idea he had to meet his insecurities face-to-face. He took a seed of an idea and ran with it, come what may.It is the same with: using ‘just three sticks’ as the logo for Twenty One Pilots, multi-patterned balls on the cover of Blurryface, skeleton hoodies, two grandpas on the cover of Vessel, wearing masks, not wearing blue. All of these things were once just ideas that Tyler had, and decided to run with. This belief has played a part in weaving a mythological fabric of Twenty One Pilots, that is like an ongoing story, and has all of us hooked and wanting to learn more.
6. His Dance Moves
This is self-explanatory. Whether grooving on top of a piano, swaying with the bass, bouncy stepping in the Stressed Out video, shuffling on stage, or leaning with it and rocking with it; Tyler’s got the moves. If you agree, you might like this video that a fan has made:
7. His Love Of High Places
We’re glad you’re using a podium these days, Tyler, and not climbing random scaffolding. But clearly there is very little stopping you when the inspiration strikes you to climb.
This was demonstrated most recently in Leeds when Tyler surfaced worse for wear after determinedly trying to get to climb, when it was clearly *not* the easy option. We loved the superhero moment (supported by Josh Dun’s drumming) when Tyler finally made it to the top of the podium, after crowd-surfing.
8. His Encouragement For Us To Create Something
I have to wonder: Who reading this has not caught the Twenty One Pilots ‘virus’? This thing that gets under your skin and inspires you to create, make music, draw, paint, body art, write, sing, make videos/edits, and all of the above.Tyler has shared about a defining moment he had, at his kitchen sink, where he realised that if he died, that no one would know what he had meant by something he’d created. He used this to empower his own mission to stay alive. He took this to mean that to create IS akin to staying alive, and “create something” is another message that Tyler has shared with us.
He wants us to find our purpose through creating something that makes sense only to us, to create “pointless curses, nonsense verses”. He doesn’t even mind if this is through us writing Twenty One Pilots fan fiction, or drawing ‘worthless’ art. So long as we are all honing our craft. Creating. Understanding we have a purpose in life.
And now we of the clique are all infected with this creative bug, and loving the ride we’re on.
10. His Love For Josh Dun (and vice versa)
What I see in interviews is that Tyler never criticises or speaks badly of Josh. He always has the highest of praise for him. Josh is given equal space & opportunity to share his thoughts when it comes to interview questions, or to back off and be quiet when he wants to. Their banter and flow is amazing. They’re so in sync, they can virtually do improv as an interview. When Josh has seemed nervous, Tyler has just stepped in. Either taking over, encouraging him, or making him laugh. Which he seems to do well.
What I see in performances is that Tyler always gives “it up for Josh Dun on the drums!”, as well as sharing other kind things about Josh while on stage (“You cannot drop him. HE’S IMPORTANT TO ME, OKAY? HE’S THE LOVE OF MY LIFE!”).
We love their interactions on social media, whether that’s supporting each other adorably, or Tyler fiercely asserting best friend rights. Tyler’s not going to let anyone else have you as their BFF, Josh!
While Tyler may or may not have created an elaborate ruse to leave his mark on his fren, it has taken far less for Tyler Joseph to leave his mark on all of us.There are so many things to love about this creative genius who has invited us in to Twenty One Pilots along with him and Josh. For ‘our band’ and for Tyler, we are grateful, and glad to celebrate his existence in the world today!
[originally published on Strife Magazine.]