Tyler Fowler

Tyler Fowler

Spoken Word Poet, Saxophonist

May 11, 2016


Tell us more about some of your past projects?

I am a spoken word poet and saxophonist. I tend to write pieces about personal experiences, sometimes on race and identity. I’ve collaborated musically with multiple local projects, and regularly play with The Gazebo.

What current projects are you working on?

I’m currently working with the arts commission to start creative place-making projects for the North side and Junction areas of Toledo. By bringing the arts out in these areas, I believe we can raise a sense of community and culture. I also have some jazz compositions and poems about childhood in the works.

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

There’s something special about the amount of support within our artistic community. Growing up as a young artist in Toledo, I never felt there was a lack of mentors.

Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

Graduating High School in the Toledo Excel program. It’s a scholarship program that covers undergraduate tuition.

Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

Jazz, the poets Shihan and Tupac Shakur, and the diversity we all need to embrace as human beings.

Tell us about your background.

I grew up on the north side of Toledo and did not become particularly creative until attending Toledo School for the Arts. I started learning saxophone, and had great mentors in older students and faculty. Since graduation in 2014, I’ve been an Instrumental jazz major at the University of Toledo.

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

Not really, but I’m open to suggestions.

Favorite place for local culture?

I love going to Black Kite to soak up some culture, and of course the Third Thursday Art Loop. 

Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .

Drive down Bancroft this summer until you hit Ashland. Park next to the Dollar General. Get out of your car and order food from that taco truck in front of you. I don’t know if they take cards, so bring cash. Now walk across the street into the building called Community Variety Store. Order a lemon/strawberry twist soft serve ice cream. Large. Go back to your method of transportation. Best kept secret.

My favorite place to chill locally is . . . 

Sometimes I chill at Suk it. Great comedy night and their staff is awesome!

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . . 

I love the water at Side Cut Metropark, but I will always have an affinity for the mounds me and my friend’s would bike on in the woods at Willy’s Park. If you went far enough into the woods you could sneak into the cemetery at night through an opening in the gate

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . . 

Sometimes I’m at Starbucks.

If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .

We need to embrace the creative potential of our WHOLE city, not just areas already embraced.

Any exciting collaborations (past or present) you would like to tell us about?

My favorite collaboration has been playing with Heavy Color. Those guys are producing meaningful art. When I was a senior in at TSA, I got to play “When the Saints Go Marching In” at the Peristyle with Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue. That was cool too.

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with. 

Kamasi Washington. Look him up. I don’t know about a collaboration, but a lesson would suffice. 

Can I do an app? I’m going to do an app. IrealB is a very useful app for a musician.

3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .

Blunt. Socially conscious. Hungry.

Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.

Kind Of Blue – Miles Davis

Songs In The Key Of Life - Stevie Wonder

Mission Bell - Amos Lee

Spirits Rejoice - Albert Ayler

Our Man in Paris - Dexter Gordon

Okay, I’m going to do seven.

The Epic - Kamasi Washington

To Pimp A Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar

My biggest vice is . . .


I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.

More commerce downtown. Oh wait, we’re already on it.

What’s the last dream you recall having?

I don’t dream anymore. Those are night time hallucinations. When I was younger I had a reoccurring dream that I smoked a cigarette. I usually cried when I woke up.

The last lyric that moved me was . . .

"One of these days I'll get my courage up / Sit down at your table pour some coffee in my cup and I will / Tell you how I love you / Because of somebody home"   — David Crosby with Snarky Puppy from Family Dinner Volume Two

One movie character I identify with is . . .

Sometimes I identify with Smokey from Friday.

The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .

My first tenor sax I owned. It was Christmas. I was 16.

My most inspiring moment was/is . . .

My first sax teacher, C.J. Manning, explaining to me how to use my ears musically. I went home and learned the melody to “Isn’t She Lovely”. That’s probably the first time I realized the crazy amount of possibilities for myself in music.

I want my last meal to be _______________.

An I.V. or some applesauce, 'cause I’m dying of old age.


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