Houston singer-songwriter Tim Qualls uses time off to reinvigorate his music
Houston singer-songwriter Tim Qualls
Photo: Courtesy of Tim Qualls
It is said that in times of storms a wise man does not build a shelter from the wind, but a windmill. Houston-based pop-soul artist Tim Qualls isn’t sure if he’s a wise man, but he’s come to the conclusion over the tragic past year that it’s time to go big or come home. his home.
“When I was younger I tried to be famous, but now I just want to do great art,” he says. “Doing things from an authentic place, that’s where it explodes and it’s going well.”
Qualls has been a silent but powerful presence in Houston music for over a decade now, releasing an unbroken series of slightly melancholy EPs such as “This is Your Land” and “Beautiful”. Like many Texans, he was fired from his day job last year during the economic disaster resulting from the pandemic and wondered what would happen next in life. Despite having a wife, two kids, and all the other stresses of an adult, he decided to get out of the frenzy and become a full-time musician.
“My wife and I got closer, we found that we would be happier with a lot less,” he says.
The track “Heartbeat” is available on all streaming platforms.
The single “Heartbeat”, available this week on streaming platforms, is the first fruit of his labor, and if that’s any indication, Qualls has finally become his. Originally written as a hummed lullaby while laying down his son for the night, Qualls has created a remarkable soul song with retro ’80s synths that is instantly mesmerizing.
Recalling The Weeknd in nuances of Bon Iver, it is a simple ode to the synchronicity of a romantic relationship made for great romantic moments even if it is a little less than dancing. The Croon de Qualls has grown bolder and more daring as he ages, which really solidifies him as one of the city’s most iconic voices. The song seems to escape after the horrors of last year, which Qualls did on purpose.
“During the pandemic, my state of mind was not great,” he says. “I was on vacation. Everything was bad, but music can be my escape. We had to be careful when we got into the album, but going in and creating and going out was really great. It will be hard to write later, but that’s ultimately what we wanted to start. The world needs happy songs right now. “
“Heartbeat” also testifies to the total commitment of Qualls. The sound quality of the new single is high, having been mastered by Randy Merrill of Sterling Sound, who has worked with Bruno Mars and Adele. The song was co-written with fellow Houstonian James Caronna, who now works as a songwriter in Nashville. It comes with a video clip professionally shot by a full crew here in the Houston Cidercade and inspired by the movie “Drive”. These were all big steps from the usually sober Qualls.
“I had bad impostor syndrome,” he says. “I am making progress so that you are more comfortable. It can be a little intimidating to work with all of these professionals.
Currently, Qualls plans to release five more singles throughout the year and spends time writing songs for other bands. The music he’s been playing since going full-time is head and shoulders above his previous, already brilliant content. If there’s at least one good thing that came out of the turmoil of the previous year, it’s seeing one of our top musicians finally take the leap to see if he could fly.
Jef Rouner is a Houston-based writer.