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Cpl. Tyler Toliver poses for the cover of his new album, "My Country." Toliver is stationed at Marine Barracks Washington and pursues his love of music in his off-time.

Photo by Scott Zobel

Tyler Toliver: Marine and country music singer

18 Jul 2009 | Lance Cpl. Johnny Merkley

Tyler T. Toliver is a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, who happens to be a country singer. Toliver brought the crowd to their feet while singing “My Country,” during his opening performance for the country singing legend Joe Diffie at the Fauquier County Fair in Warrenton, Va, July 18.

Toliver released his first CD titled “My Country” that day at the fair, and after his performance the crowd rushed to purchase his new CD.

Toliver says the song relates to his life more than his other songs and has more of a personal touch to it. In the song, Toliver sings of pickup trucks, pet dogs, prom dates, and other symbols of American life. Toliver’s album had plenty of buyers on its début at the county fair. 

Although Toliver’s passion is singing country music, serving his country as a U.S Marine is his first priority.

Toliver is the non commissioned officer in charge of grounds platoon, Headquarter and Service Company, Marine Barracks Washington. He works long hours to ensure the Barracks is presentable for the Evening Parades and pursues his passion as a country singer on his off time.

A Milwaukie native, Toliver enlisted in the Marine Corps on July 29, 2007 as an infantryman, but has been playing the guitar since he was nine years old. While at the School of Infantry, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., he was persuaded by some of the instructors to buy a guitar and continue playing like he had done before he enlisted. Toliver bought a $150 guitar and picked up where he had left off. Sitting at the beach in San Diego during January 2008, he came across a man who offered him a chance to play in a gig that night at a local bar called Bully’s in La Jolla, Calif. Toliver made $250 that night.

In October 2008, Toliver recorded a song titled “Live Our Dream” and put it on YouTube. Many of Toliver’s friends saw the video and sent it into the Washington D.C. radio station 98.7 WMZQ, where the song was heard across the United States. From Mississippi to Texas, the song touched thousands of people and received great reviews from the general public.  

“I couldn’t believe it at first. I thought my friends had heard some Carry Underwood song,” said Toliver.

When Toliver learned of his friends hearing the song on the radio, he contacted John Jewell, owner and founder of Jewell Tone Records. Jewell, his manager, helped him record a five track album, including the crowd favorite, “Me and You,” which Toliver wrote in the early hours of the morning while standing guard duty at the front gate of Marine Barracks Washington.

“We all felt like Tyler had something really unique about his voice,” said Jewell. “I’ve had a lot of talented people, but nobody ever on Tyler’s level.”

Since his performance, Toliver is working hard to complete a 12 track album and hopes one day to make it big.

“My goal is to walk out of the Marine Corps and walk into a big record deal,” said Toliver, “my dream as a singer is to headline with a full arena.”       

Toliver continues to pursue his dream by constantly writing new music and lyrics for his album. With his talent and motivation, there’s no telling how far he will go. To find out more about Cpl. Tyler Toliver, visit his website at