Artwork by Malik Radford
Tyler Donavan, a bright star in Norfolk's music scene, has finally unveiled his deeply personal and six-year labor of love, "GASPING4AIR."
In 2018, Tyler faced a life-altering moment when an unexpected emergency surgery confined him to a wheelchair, raising doubts about his ability to walk again. With unwavering
determination and an indomitable will, he not only regained his ability to walk but also
accomplished remarkable feats. This incredible journey included a standout performance at
this year's Something In The Water festival and a sold-out headlining show just a day before the album's release.
"GASPING4AIR" is a reflection of Tyler's resilience, primarily crafted during his recovery
period, encompassing not just physical but also emotional and spiritual growth. The album's
title draws inspiration from a lyric in NER*D's "Fly or Die" ("gasping for air makes the righteous
path harder to choose"). This phrase encapsulates Tyler's internal battles with self-sabotage
throughout the project, as he delves into themes of heartbreak, mental health struggles, and the relentless pursuit of purpose.
Tyler Donavan takes the lead in much of the album's production, infusing his unique approach
across the 13-track effort. His versatility as both a rapper and songwriter shines through as he
seamlessly blends singing with top-tier lyricism to paint vivid narratives. However, what truly
sets this project apart is Tyler's raw vulnerability and unfiltered honesty, which resonate in
tracks like "Exhale," "Intervention," and "Versailles." Listeners can also look forward to guest
appearances from Virginia standouts SMYTH and Era Hardaway, along with production
contributions from Tee-WaTT, Ryan Cole, mattVISTA (April + VISTA), and more.
In Tyler's own words, this album has been a burden he couldn't shake, stating on Instagram,
"Many times, I considered shelving this album for something more 'palatable,' but conviction
wouldn't let me. These are the songs I needed to write and share."
With this release, he hopes that listeners can reflect on their own journeys toward purpose. Whether you're standing on a mountaintop or navigating a valley, Tyler's message is clear: every breath is a gift, an opportunity to move with purpose.
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Written by OG ILLA
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