Tyler Childers Biography, Career, Songs, Albums, Wife, Son

Tyler Childers, a country-folk performer, has won seven Grammy nominations, including Best Folk Album in 2020 for “Long Violent History” and Best Country Album in 2023 for “Rustin’ In The Rain.” Childers, born in Eastern Kentucky, rose to prominence with his second studio album, Purgatory, released in 2017. He has six studio albums to date and is recognized for mixing social commentary into his songs, such as “Long Violent History” and “In Your Love.”

Early Life

Tyler Childers, born on June 21, 1991, grew up in Lawrence County, Kentucky, near the West Virginia border. His father worked in the coal sector and his mother was a nurse.

Childers grew up in an environment greatly impacted by country music. About 20 minutes away, Route 23 is known as Kentucky’s Country Music Highway, where singers such as Dwight Yoakam, Loretta Lynn, and Chris Stapleton previously lived. Childers’ route to become a local legend was not always smooth.

The musician was born with clubfoot, a congenital condition that causes both of his feet to twist out of shape. At 8 months and 5 years old, he underwent surgery to repair the issue, spending an entire year in a wheelchair and having to relearn how to walk. He also had frequent examinations at the Shriners Children’s Hospital in Lexington until he was 18.

Childers has described himself as a “very sensitive child.” He told The Bitter Southerner that although he was raised with his sister and surrounded by family and cousins, he often felt isolated. He was active in his church group but said the fire-and-brimstone teachings he received caused him emotional stress. “I don’t think my mom and dad… went, ‘We’re going to take him [to church] on Sundays and Wednesdays and scare him to death,’ but that’s what it did,” he said.

Childers found comfort in books, particularly during his physical rehabilitation, and he desired to be a writer at first. As a youth, he was especially interested in Jack Kerouac’s works.

Music Career

Childers’ passion in music began at a young age. He sang for his Free Will Baptist Church congregation, learnt to play guitar chords from his grandfather, and started writing songs at the age of 13. His favorite genres were vintage rock, which his father regularly listened to, and country, with performers like Hank Williams Jr., Ricky Skaggs, and Alabama.

When Childers was 15, he switched to Paintsville High School and frequently played his guitar over lunch to feel more at ease. His classmates immediately invited him to sing at gatherings and introduced him to several types of music. Childers graduated in 2009 and briefly attended Western Kentucky University and Bluegrass Community & Technical College before dropping out to work odd jobs and pursue his musical goals.

Albums and Songs: “In Your Love,” “All Your’n,” and Long Violent History

Childers started writing his own songs and releasing his first CD when he was 19. He gained a small following in Kentucky and West Virginia with his band, the Food Stamps, and piqued the interest of Miles Miller, Sturgill Simpson’s drummer. The connection was critical for Childers’ next career move.

Simpson co-produced Childers’ second album, Purgatory, released in August 2017. The singer received his first mainstream breakthrough when the album debuted at No. 1 on the Heatseekers Albums chart, which recognizes new and emerging acts, and No. 2 on the Americana/Folk Albums chart. It remained on the latter for 261 weeks. As a result, Childers was selected Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2018 Americana Honors and Awards.

Country Squire and “All Your’n”

In 2019, Childers’ major label debut with RCA, Country Squire, helped him reach even higher chart positions. The project, anchored by the country-soul song “All Your’n,” debuted at number one on the Top Country Albums chart. The song also earned the singer his first Grammy nomination, for Best Country Solo Performance, in 2020.

Long Violent History

Despite country’s reputation for love songs and party anthems, Childers demonstrated a willingness to push audiences by addressing important social and political problems in his subsequent albums. Childers released his 2020 album, Long Violent History, with a single that discusses racism and police violence. He also taped a YouTube message to accompany the release. He urged Appalachian residents like himself to empathize with the Black community in the aftermath of nationwide protests over the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others.

“What can the rest of us who feel seemingly outside of these issues do?” he went on to say. “Black Lives Matter should no longer surprise us. If we didn’t need to be reminded, there would be justice for Breonna Taylor, a Kentuckian like myself, and countless others.”

Long Violent History was nominated for Best Folk Album at the upcoming Grammys. Similarly, can I take my dogs to heaven?(2022) addressed religious prejudice with faith-based music two years later.

“In Your Love”

Childers has supported the LGBTQ community with the 2023 song “In Your Love,” which depicts a relationship between two male coal workers from Appalachia. The track’s music video featured actors Colton Haynes and James Scully, both of whom identify as gay.

According to NPR, Childers wrote the song to celebrate a gay relative who was like a big brother to him growing up and taught him a lot about music. “For all the ugliness that it’s going to bring out that just can’t be helped, this video is going to make real conversations possible,” Childers wrote in a statement. “This is a narrative of two people who love each other, live their lives together, and experience loss. That’s quite powerful. How do you feel once you’ve removed the flash card words and knee-jerk reactions?”

In 2024, “In Your Love” received three Grammy nominations for Best Country Song, Best Music Video, and Best Country Solo Performance. Childers was also nominated for Best Country Album for Rustin’ In The Rain (2023) and Best Americana Performance for “Help Me Make It Through the Night.”

Personal Life

While living and working on a Kentucky farm in 2013, Childers met Senora May, a recent college graduate who was cleaning houses in the region for extra cash. Their relationship grew swiftly, and they married in July 2015.

May, like Childers, is a musician who has published two albums: Lainheart (2018) and All of My Love (2021). The couple also formed a nonprofit together. In 2020, they established the Hickman Holler Appalachian Relief Fund, which generates funds for education, civil rights, and addiction treatment.

Childers has thanked May for her encouragement as he pursued his musical career.According to People, the couple moved in with Childers’ family after their wedding to save for a home. Once they were able to do so, the couple lived in a camper van while constructing their home.

“For a good chunk of it, Senora May’s put up with me and been there for it,” Children said on his website. “And she stuck with me, so it’s really awesome because we told ourselves that if we made these sacrifices, or held off just a little longer and kept at this, maybe one day it might work out.”

In July 2022, May announced on Instagram that she was expecting their first child. The following May, the couple also announced the birth of their son on social media. Childers and May have not made his name public.

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