Last Year’s Man
is the pseudonym of Eugene, OR based producer and singer/songwriter, Tyler Fortier. He is a frequent collaborator with up-and-coming Northwest singer/songwriters and has produced recordings for artists such as Anna Tivel, Beth Wood, and Jeffrey Martin. OPB Music named Jeffrey Martin's “Golden Thread,” off the Fortier-produced One Go Around, one of the best songs of 2017, calling it, "rock-solid songcraft...wrapped snugly in warm production that highlights every positive angle." As a songwriter, Fortier has shared the stage with the likes of Frazey Ford, The Deep Dark Woods, David Dondero, Matt Pond PA, and more, and has contributed to the catalogs of Warner/Chappell and Marmoset. Fortier is currently writing and recording Last Year’s Man debut album, No Eye On the Sparrow.
I wrote and recorded two albums (Oregon Skyline and The Losing Ground, respectively) between 2014-2017. I quit working on both once I could see the finish line and I have no desire to finish or release them into the world. It’s a weird thing to work on something you love and realize you don’t love it at all. It’s a dysfunctional relationship at times - me and songwriting. I don’t really work without it but sometimes we get in a big fight and all my clothes end up out in the front yard, and I’m standing there naked in front of my neighbors (yes, even the clothes I was wearing, somehow) and then I’m all like, “I’m sorry, baby. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Kissy face. Kissy face.
During that 2014-2017 stretch I learned a lot. Just kidding. That’s just something people say to sound reflective and then follow it up with something profound. I really didn’t learn anything. I felt drained creatively and like I wasted three years of writing. Near the end of 2017 my writing and production business expanded into what’s called production music. I’ll let Wikipedia take this one:
Production music (also known as stock music or library music) is the name given to recorded music that can be licensed to customers for use in film, television, radio and other media. Oftentimes, the music is produced and owned by production music libraries.
This rocked my world. In a good way. I released an instrumental album of tunes via Warner/Chappell Production Music, started a side project called Past Transits, which was released via Marmoset, and I have a set of singer/songwriter songs due out later this year on VALO Artists and Warner/Chappell. Most recently, my wife and I started a project called The Sallyforths. It’s a pop-folk rock duo. A lot of handclaps. A lot of Oohs. It’s fun. It’s really fun. We are currently shopping the EP we recorded and hopefully we’ll find a good home for it so we can release that music baby out into this great, big, scary and confusing world.
Production music gives me a re-directed and focused creative outlet. I have something to write for. I’ll walk into my office, punch my proverbial time card @ 9am and punch-out @ 5pm. Hot damn! I’m writing songs that I wouldn’t normally sit down to write, especially the instrumental tunes. The singer/songwriter bunch are pop-folk (Polk? Fop?) with a happy gleam, rose-colored sunglasses, and damn daisies. It's sunnier than my usual, but I’d happily write 100 more songs like that if I have the opportunity to do so. It’s a super competitive business though, and not easy work. I’ve pitched way more songs than I’ve sold.
Last Year’s Man:
Through this process of exploring production music, starting and stopping albums, pitching songs to sell, and what can possibly be described as a minor existential crisis, I came to the realization that “Tyler Fortier” is not the avenue in which I want to create and release music anymore. That dude has gone as far as he wants to go. My music, since 2006 (and even as far back as 2000), was the process and documentation of me learning to write songs, exploring a craft – though not respecting it enough to treat it as such – and teaching myself about production, recording, and performing. This is all painfully clear to me when I hear my music. And now I need a little fresh air.
So Tyler Fortier is now Last Year’s Man. I’m writing my debut album, No Eye On the Sparrow. I will be taking it slow and doing my best to document the process on the social medias. I’ll be posting videos, song lyrics and poems through a weekly typewriter series on Instagram, sharing books I’ve been reading and explaining where some of the ideas are coming from, and hopefully you can follow me on a successful and creative journey to a new album. Maybe I’ll tank. Maybe it will be the 3rd album I make and give up on in a five year span. I have no idea. I don’t have any goals other than to create and feed the angry little goblin living inside my belly that is constantly asking me to sing him a song. “Again! Again! Sing, monkey! Play! Louder! LOUDER!”
-Last Year’s Man