Graham Tilsley is predominantly known around Saskatchewan and Canada as a dexterous multi-instrumentalist, flowing effortlessly from jazz to blues, rock to R&B. He is a professional session player on and off the stage who always brings a creative flare and passion to everything he does. His depth, nuance and skilled ear makes him a valuable asset of any project he is a part of. His talent is well known in the industry as well as his respectful and highly professional attitude. He can be counted on to come into the studio, rehearsal or show prepared and hyped to help out with whatever the project may be, and can be trusted to give his best effort every time.
Not only is he a multi talented musician, but is equally proficient as a songwriter, lyricist and artist. Graham is constantly curious about all things music related and his dedication is contagious. His knowledge of music is outstanding and the music he creates is hooky, full of harmony and interesting rhythms. Every part is tailored and intentional, with carefully sculpted arrangements. His music is always genuine and his attitude is always positive. It’s no surprise we find him with an amazing catalogue of inspiring original material and the best musicians in the province wanting to be a part of the team. His soulful voice and considerable arranging abilities lend an artistic element to any composition.
After releasing two singles in 2021 (‘Stimulating’ and ‘Pocket Dialed ft. Jackie Kiew’), Graham recorded a live acoustic performance accompanied by a trio of world-renown musicians. The ‘Live Acoustic Session’ EP came out in the spring of 2022 and features four original compositions with live videos. This past year he was nominated for a Saskatchewan Music Award for Folk/Roots Artist of the Year. Another two completed singles await to be released in this year. From session musician to collaborator, producer and solo artist, Graham now brings focus to his own music.
Once my curiosity with music started, it has never slowed down. Stimulated from so many viewpoints, I am constantly exploring new sounds all the while studying the past.
Until recently, I struggled to accept that I do in fact have synesthesia - I hear colours. I had seen and read about it online, but my colour palette was different from others I had seen, so I didn’t believe I had it even though I was still experiencing it.
It’s more than colours. It’s a shape. A rotating, breathing, undulating orb, colours flowing seamlessly, one into another.
Music is a part of me. It lives within me and resonates through me.
I hope to share my music with others as a means of a creative and emotional outlet for myself, as well as a way to inspire others to compose and learn how to use music as a remedy.
While I do have advanced jazz theory knowledge, my approach to music has always originated from the ear. I use theory to explain what shapes, colours and feelings I hear. I like to challenge my ear. Theory can be learned and the ear can be developed, not just with books or online videos, but through conversation. It becomes less about what is right and wrong on a test, and what emotions are invoked that make you want to move, or to stand still. One of my favourite bands, Snarky Puppy, has a slogan - “Music for the brain and the booty.” That is something that I try to adapt into my music. Something to stimulate and challenge the ear, but with enough familiarity that you still feel at home.
Graham is an avid dog lover, year-round cyclist, and rock climber.