Started Out Songwriting, Ended Up Singing
After introducing himself to the world via a guest appearance and writing credit on YG's "Toot It & Boot It," Ty made his mark writing for other artists while he began his solo career. As any R&B singer like Rico Love or Eric Bellinger knows, this is a great way to get your foot in the door while also earning some royalties, but unlike most people who become known as writers first, singer second, Ty soon progressed past being a hooksmith.
His pen's been enlisted by everyone from Snoop Dogg to Chris Brown, and as many of his key writing credits came during his artistic come-up, Dolla $ign's career progression can be viewed as a viable model for R&B singers in the internet age. As free mixtapes from singers become less of a rarity and more of a necessity, writing for other artists can function as a sort of day job to support one's own music. In Ty's case, it worked out perfectly: drop the two Beach House tapes while you're making most of your money off royalties, and then as soon as you have a single that pops off ("Paranoid"), drop the Beach House EP as your first commercial release.
Of course, you have to have something special going for you in the writing department, and like The-Dream before him, Dolla $ign seems to have a knack for dreaming up just the sort of earworming hooks and repetitive lyrics that the radio adores. Another similarity between him and The-Dream is the fact that their solo work is often more experimental than the pop singles that they write, with the money made from that "day job" able to finance their more artistic pursuits. Even though Ty's more of a household name now (or perhaps because of it), he was called upon by Rihanna and Kanye West to write songs for R8 and So Help Me God, respectively, and more high-profile work seems like it'll soon follow.