(Original Photo By: Dylan Prebich)
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins
I believe this quote is a powerful one. I agree that, at times, decisions carry a tremendous amount of weight. Sometimes that weight crumbles us, other times it pushes us towards a path of greatness. For Tyler Sasser, aka TIEDIE, the hard decisions he faced were surprising and extraordinary.
I was on Facebook one evening and Tyler Sasser messaged me asking if I could offer any advice on how to get music featured on blogs. I decided to give him a very detailed explanation of the process involved in befriending bloggers and sending them your music. After my “rant,” I wanted to find out more about TIEDIE. I checked out his Facebook and quickly found his SoundCloud. I listened to his latest release, at the time it was “U Ready,” and was instantly overwhelmed with his talent.
I needed to know more about this kid and his story. To my surprise, his story is one that is so inspirational, I had to share it. I began developing a relationship with him over the Internet, asking him why he makes music and what goals he wants to achieve. He opened up about his struggles in life and what makes him so passionate about the music he creates.
Growing up in Fresno, California, TIEDIE began his journey with music at an early age. He recounts sitting at the piano with his grandma playing “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” among other classic piano tunes. His grandma, which he says is “the love of [his] life” gave him the music bug.
In fourth grade, he was faced with the difficult decision of playing music or playing sports. While this decision pales in comparison to the decisions he encountered later in life, it started him on a very important path that has led him to where he is today. After what I could imagine was a lot of deliberation, as much as a fourth grader might engage in, TIEDIE chose to play the trumpet. After sticking with it for two years, he decided to take a break, a decision he says, “was the worst mistake I ever made.”
However, this feeling of regret and the decision to take a break, just might have been the catalyst for his later discovered passion. He relays,
“I think it was sophomore year, I started making music again. It was just a dark point in my life and I turned to a program called DubTurbo. It was like a $20 beat sequencer. I just started making drum beats and really began this new life journey.”
It was at this point that TIEDIE began to comprehend his passion for music. With the negativity surrounding his personal life, he turned to music for comfort. Over the years, he experimented with different softwares, getting more familiar with the production process. As his production skills developed, so did his devotion to music. That devotion gave him direction when he was faced with a much harder decision in 2014.
“Basically, when I got diagnosed I had been feeling a tingle in my right palm. It felt like maybe a pinched nerve. Some normal, everyday thing. About a week and a half later, it became worse and had grown into my whole right arm. So I scheduled an appointment with a chiropractor. I told him, “it’s a pinched nerve. It’s growing. I need to fix this.” I went to him and he basically said, “you’re out of my pay-grade.” He couldn’t fix it. He didn’t know what to do. So I went home. Two days after that failed appointment, it was about 8am, and the whole right side of my body was paralyzed. Just numb. I was trying to get out of bed and it wouldn’t come with me. It’s kind of like when you sleep on your arm for too long and you wake up and it’s not moving; it’s dead. It was like that on the whole right side of my body. So, it was time to go to the hospital.”
This began a dark and arduous chapter in TIEDIE’s life. It was on this day that he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is a disabling disease of the central nervous system. While the exact cause of MS has yet to be discovered, it is known that an immune system response is triggered in the body causing an attack on the brain and spinal chord. This results in a disruption of the signal flow from the brain to the peripheral nervous system, hence TIEDIE’s experience of partial paralysis. Upon further questioning, he gave me a glimpse of what it was like during the diagnosis process…
“It was eye opening not knowing what I was being diagnosed with, why I was in the hospital, why I couldn’t really walk. And then of course, me sitting on the Internet looking up every possible diagnosis it could be before the doctor comes back. By the time the doctor returned after all the blood work and stuff, he just had the look like, “I’ve got some bad news.” I said, “Is it MS?” He said, “Yep.” I said, “Alright.” And I kind of just accepted it. It really pushed me. Really opened my eyes. When you see life flash in front of your face and you don’t know what to do, you either give up or look at what’s in front of you and go do it and live life.”
To TIEDIE, the only option was to pursue music. Music was the thing that fulfilled his purpose, it gave the most shape to his perceived destiny. The new perspective the frightening diagnosis gave him pushed him deeper into his devotion to music. Soon after the diagnosis, he decided to demonstrate his furthered commitment to music by joining production school, Icon Collective, in Burbank, California. When asked what prompted the decision, TIEDIE said, “I think negative experiences really show you the better side of life and who you are as a person. That really helped push my music goals and music dreams.”
TIEDIE’s positive attitude and drive for success are unparalleled by many in the industry. While many are debilitated by negative experiences, TIEDIE decides to harness them to make himself a better artist and person. He has a very positive outlook on his diagnosis as well, which helps him stay grounded and focus on his music goals. He says,
“I’m still pushing on, just getting better and fighting it. It’s been crazy, man. But honestly, you just start to see it like another normal problem. Everyone has normal problems in their day-to-day lives and we just have to move on. But one thing it really did teach me was we’re all going to die. And to just be happy and do exactly what you want to do. Right now.”
TIEDIE’s philosophy to view his diagnosis as “just another normal problem” is one that offers inspiration to those struggling with illnesses, mental or physical. It shows that the young producer has more tenacity and heart than many other ordinary 20-year-olds. He is a great example of someone who is determined to make his dreams come true despite the odds. On top of his positive attitude and exceptional passion for creating music, I asked him what else serves as inspiration to him.
“Family. It’s something I didn’t appreciate much as a kid. I was a rebel. I’m headed to my pop’s house after this. I call my grandma every single day. Going on hikes. Getting in touch with nature and talking with family. Those are the two things that pull me back to reality. Pull me away from the computer, away from Hollywood, and all the glitz and glamour.”
Throughout my talk with TIEDIE, I realized that he is an embodiment of the philosophy “without mud, there is no lotus.” Despite the challenges and scares throughout the 20 years he has experienced on this earth, he remains positive and strives toward his goals. In the face of fear, he is able to overcome it with the seemingly simple decision to push on. As many of us know, that decision is one of the hardest to make at times. The fact that TIEDIE makes the conscious decision every day to push through his challenges, knowing that a brighter future awaits him, is inspiration for us all.