When asked who he is, dynamic Minnesota rapper Travla doesn't hesitate. "I'm a tell you the truth rapper." His personal truth includes admittedly bad choices, gang life and jail time. He discloses it all without regrets or apologies. "I wouldn't change a thing. I'm who I am, where I am because of everything I have gone through." Ask that same question of anyone who sees him perform and the answer is clear. Travla is a hot talent with riveting performances of songs that are raw and honest. He has mesmerized crowds in many venues including Twin Cities' Metrodome and First Avenue, a club Prince used for many scenes in Purple Rain. Everything he is, everything he has gone through is in that music. It's his life story.
That story began in Chicago. Travla (Timothy Tillman) went home from the hospital with his adoptive parents Thomas and Cynthia Tillman. At 9 he auditioned for the prestigious Grammy Award winning Atlanta Boy Choir. His superior talent earned him one of the precious few spots and solos with the group known as "one of Atlanta's most well-known trademarks." Soon his voice changed and so did his way of life. "At 10 I was on the streets trying to be a man. Trying to copy what I saw out there." At 11 his parents divorced.
Travla says he took the divorce in stride. He was always on the move. Chicago, Atlanta, Selma, Memphis,Minneapolis. After the divorce he lived with his mother until he was "..Seventeen or eighteen. I was doing the wrong thing. She was tired of it. She kicked me out. But, I guess it was time." Travla went to live with his father but the change in location didn't mean a change in his behavior. "I was kicked out again." Somehow no matter where the miles or choices took him he found a way to smoothly fit in. Even on the streets. Even in jail.
It was in jail that he realized what he was doing wasn't getting him where he wanted to be. "Can't take it no more" is the message that left the jail cell with him that last time. It's a message that resonates with men still living that life. "I've seen some some guys so tough you wonder 'Where is security?' listen to it and relate to it and be moved by it." "Tired of being broke. Tired of dealing dope. Searching for some hope." His dream is to be an example to help young people who are living the life he left, find that hope." He found it in music. It gave him the momentum and it may have saved his life.
Some of his early influences were "The church music my mother made me listen to." he says with his deep trademark laugh. Then, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Master P, No Limits, Dru Hill, Little Wayne and Boyz II Men. He works with Marcus Goode of All Goode Music who has been a constant source of encouragement. Travla, a man of deep faith, admires Grammy award winning hip hop artist and entrepreneur Lecrae and all he has accomplished.
Travla wants to use the power of his music to "move kids from violence." He wants to people to be able to say of him "Travla is living every piece of life he can possible live." He wants his legacy to be "That man, he inspired me."
As he proclaims in one of his songs "I'm Here!" Yes he is and Travla is still on the move and going far.