Biography of Tyler Collins
Singer/songwriter Tyler Collins performs a tender rendition of the inspiring song "Never Alone (Eeyore's Lullaby)" on Take My Hand: Songs From the 100 Acre Wood. Collins, no stranger to singing adult contemporary ballads, found "Never Alone (Eeyore's Lullaby)" to be an inspiring message to deliver.
"The song's lyrics are very hopeful," Collins says. Quoting a line from the song, "Tomorrow's gonna be a brand-new day," Collins continues, "The lyrics imply that someone is watching over you, like a guardian angel. So stay positive and be optimistic."
Born in Harlem, Collins grew up in Detroit and moved to Los Angeles, where she lived for 13 years. She began dance lessons at age seven, and started performing in musicals a year later. As she grew older, Collins concentrated on stage and theater, performing in musicals, drama, and Shakespeare festivals. With the Willow Opera Workshop, a children's theater group, she performed operettas in the Los Angeles area.
Her professional music career started in 1987, when Collins joined The Boys Next Door, singing lead vocals for the R&B band. Jermaine Jackson later signed the group to his now-defunct label, Work Records. Two years later, Collins left the band to pursue a solo career.
In 1989, she sang background vocals on Vanessa Williams's debut album, The Right Stuff. She continued writing, and had several songs covered by artists such as Celine Dion, Jeffrey Osborne, and Shanice. In 1992, Tevin Campbell performed her song "Goodbye," for which Collins sang backup and appeared in the music video.
Collins's big break came in 1989, when RCA put out her first solo album, Girls Nite Out. She co-wrote the first single, "Whatcha Gonna Do," which climbed to No. 3 on Billboard's R&B chart. Shortly thereafter, the title track reached No. 6 on the R&B charts and No. 3 on the pop charts.
Collins co-wrote half the songs on her sophomore effort, Tyler, which had a distinctively different sound from her first album. "It's more experimental," Collins explains. "I tried to lean more towards R&B songs and adult contemporary ballads. I used more acoustic and real instruments, which is what I prefer. It's a more mature sound than the first album."
As a result of working with the artist formerly known as Prince, Collins landed a solo deal at Warner Bros. Records, which led her to recording the theme song to the Paramount Pictures' film Andre. Recorded for the Rhino Records' soundtrack, Collins's "Thanks to You" charted in the Top 20 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. Her video for the song is featured at the end of the film's home video.
Collins recorded her single "Never Alone (Eeyore's Lullaby)" this summer in Los Angeles. The experience allowed her to pay tribute to one of her favorite childhood stories. "When I was growing up, I had a giant Winnie the Pooh doll that was four feet tall," Collins proudly claims. "I kept that thing until its stuffing came out of it. I loved it."
Aside from being a singer, Collins is also an actress, having made appearances in both TV and film. Her credits include the role of Tina in the 1991 Miramax film A Rage in Harlem, starring Gregory Hines and Forest Whitaker, and the role of Cinderella on a Halloween special of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."
Collins recently moved to New York, where she continues to work on her career. She's currently putting together her own band, and plans to pursue her dream of performing on Broadway.