It took Tyson Illingworth, aka tyDi, almost three years to complete his newest album Redefined, a strong collection of tracks each unique in sound and collectively inspiring and relatable. Redefined paves way for the future of electronic dance music: quality music that evokes emotion and tells a story. His musicianship is evident in his effortless transitions from acoustic chords to vibrant melodies, blending influences from rock, pop and electronic genres with upbeat synths and personable lyrics.
I first experienced tyDi live when he performed at a small electronic dance event called Unity at UC Davis in 2011; coincidentally it was produced by Tiffany Wood, my friend and current Senior Staff Writer for FestPop. tyDi has grown to become one of the top songwriters, producers, and DJs in the industry. Redefined illustrates the beauty of his hard work, an album where each song voices a different story and expresses different emotions. The album is a reflection of his life, expressing point-of-views as an artist and a person. It’s quite genius; I found myself swaying and dancing to the whole album, connecting with tyDi’s stories as if I had known him for a long time. Interestingly enough, he had already been working on this album the moment I first saw him back in 2011. Redefined was released September 30, 2014.
tyDi’s album features a dynamic set of male and female vocalists, whose ranges soar from soothing baritone to serene falsettos. Each song features a vocalist, which isn’t the case for electronic dance albums. And all songs are produced thoughtfully, carefully selected among 300 other songs he produced. You won’t find similar sounds in the album because each song draws inspiration from different musical genres to complement the singer’s voice.
The album begins with Somebody For Me, a refreshing upbeat song that takes you on a musical journey. The track has the potential for consistent play from listeners and artists alike, as it blends upbeat rhythm with likeable lyrics and melodies. One of my favorite songs on the album is its title track, Redefined. A beautiful piano melody introduces Melanie Fontana’s eloquent yet powerful voice. Add in the marimba-synths to drive the song to the chorus and it will keep you dancing until the end. As the album progresses, we gain an understanding of his life as an artist: struggling to settle down amidst the social lifestyle that is accustomed to his career; we hear it in Die This Way and Black Wine. Midway through album, there is a change in pace with Not That Beautiful, ironically a beautiful and emotionally-raw ballad featuring the piano, violin, and Masha’s sincere and innocent voice. I imagine this touching the lives of all listeners, even more so if they get the opportunity to hear it live (this would make an extraordinary touring show, much like Armin van Buuren’s Intense tour).
Halfway through the album, the tone of the story shifts in the opposite direction as tyDi introduces the romantic strums of the guitar in Until I Met You and The Closer I Get. The quest to find love evolves into the struggle to hold on to it. With Die Without You, we begin to experience tyDi’s multi-faceted talent in production and songwriting. The song is a successful marriage of both down-tempo tranquility and up-tempo electro with hard-hitting downbeats. Ending the album is Going Solar, sung by Carmen Keigans. The instrumentation in this song, from use of different instruments to complement the wide range of Carmen’s voice, is a perfect conclusion to this story. It also reminds me of a finale song I would experience at a professional-level musical theatre production.
tyDi’s careful selection of vocalists to pair with his well-written lyrics elevates his musicality and overall influence to his fans and the community. Redefined is a refreshing, well-produced album that any artist should take note of. His attention to detail, execution of diverse sounds, and ability to illustrate a complete story from beginning to end while captivating our attention is what we hope to experience when we listen to any artist’s album. We experience an honest portrayal that anyone can relate to; we enjoy the songs because they have well-written lyrics that we can easily sing along to. Many artists have extraordinary tracks that overshadow filler songs in their albums. tyDi is not one of them because all of Redefined tracks stand out on their own while contributing to a complete and successful narrative.
Redefined is now available to stream on Spotify or download on iTunes.
Written by FestPop Senior Staff Writer
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