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The Hot Sweat
Tyler Hilton
Hana Pestle
By Cristina Carrazza-- Regional Head, Midwest

It has been a long time since Tyler Hilton released his debut CD “The Tracks Of.” Now, with successful acting roles in both movies and television added to his resume, he is getting ready to release his anticipated sophomore album. Before his sold out show in Chicago this august, we got a chance to catch up with Tyler.

Cristina: How has your music changed since your last CD? If it changed at all
Tyler: It’s probably drawn on different experiences. It has probably changed as much as I have as a person, lyrically. Musically, it has probably gotten a bit more raw with more rock and roots influence. I think I also became a better singer and guitar player. So I think it just got better. I’m trying to find a way to describe it but I think that’s it. I’ve been doing it for a longer time and I’ve become a better songwriter.

CC: Have you changed the way you write your songs?
TH: I’ve been doing a lot more songwriting on this record. I am still writing on my own, but I started to get ideas from other people.

CC: Who are some people you have been cowritting with?
TH: I wrote a lot with my band. I also spent some time with this girl named Hillary Lindsey, she is an artist in Nashville who has spent some time with Michelle Branch and Carrie Underwood. This artist, also from Nashville, named Sean McConnell. I also wrote a lot with country music group Lady Antebellum.

CC: You initially moved to Nashville to record this record. How did that influence your songwriting and music in general? Apart from songwriting with all these different artists you just mentioned...
TH: Ironically, being in Nashville made me want to sound less country. When I was in LA wearing cowboy boots I thought I was being original by being all country. When I went to Nashville though, I just wanted to play so much rock & roll. I wanted to be original and do what everyone else was not doing. I didn’t want people to think I was cliché. So I definitely got into playing more rock & roll. I lived in a house with a lot of space so I could play louder music. Then when I came back to LA, I was more into that sort of thing.

CC: So you’ve been cowriting with country artists yet your music is more rock…
TH: (Laughs) It’s weird I know. I think they all look at my songwriting as an excuse to not write country music so it’s cool.

CC: You’ve re-recorded your album a couple of times now, something your fans are not too happy about
TH: I know, tell me about it. I re-recorded about half of it three times. But now there are all these new types of songs I want to add to it, so those will be recorded this fall.

CC: Do you feel any sort of pressure at all and have spent so much time in the studio because of it?
TH: Not at all. The good thing about waiting this long is that I know feel like a new artist. I’m starting all over again. The general public, who either listens to me on the radio or has seen me in a magazine, hasn’t heard from me in two or three years. So it’s one of those things where I feel like a new artist. It’s a chance where I can reinvent myself and take chances I wouldn’t have taken before. But at the same time, it’s still going to be the same old Tyler.

CC: Is that why you have spent so much time in the studio rerecording and editing?
TH: I honestly just keep writing songs that I like and I try to see if I can include them in the record somehow. I just compile all the tunes. I don’t know, I think it’s important to stay fresh but I think I get all my inspiration from playing live. How the crowd reacts to different songs. Playing live has definitely influenced most of the record. I try out different things with the band and see how each song feels. I really want this record to sound like I do live.

CC: That’s mostly why you’re on the road year round, instead of just taking time off and focusing on the record.
TH: Exactly. I like playing my new songs live than perfecting them on just that one recording for sure.

CC: Do you think a lot about what your fans might think when you play these songs live for the first time?
TH: If no one is responding to the song I don’t really want to play them and in turn not recording. I don’t think I make music for them though. When I’ writing I don’t think what are those twins for Virginia or that girl from New Jersey going to think about this. But when I play it at a show and no one is into it, it’s no fun. And you can easily tell. People will always clap and cheer, but I want that “oh my god, that’s amazing” reaction.

CC: I’ve been following your music for a long time now and I think it’s changed a lot. Where do you see your music going in the future?
TH: I don’t know. I think I’m mostly inspired by the music I’m listening to at the time. I’ve been through Coldplay, John Mayer, The White Stripes phases in the past. But there’s a whole bunch of artists that I want to listen, and will probably listen to by the next time I’m in the studio. That really determines the type of sound I’m going for.

CC: Who are some of those artists that have inspired this record?
TH: The weird thing is that I love to write the songs my favorite artists never got a chance to write. So I listen to this and this but I feel that I can create that song in between combining elements from different artists I like. So, this record has a lot of Vampire Weekend, Dr. Dog, White Stripes influences. Bob Dylan was probably the biggest influence. These a lot of Bob Dylan songs I would have liked to hear but can’t because he never wrote them – those are the songs I tried to write on this record. I basically create music I want to listen to.

CC: You have obviously done a lot of different acting roles during your career. You have your One Tree Hill, Walk the Line, Charlie Bartlett fans but at the same time your have your strictly music fans. With this new record, do you hope to solidify your fan base in a way?
TH: Yeah I would like to. But the thing is that I’m an actor and a musician but not a marketing, business type person. I would love to all my fans from my music and acting to be the same and for me to be an international success that brings happiness to the world. That is obviously an overstatement. But that takes people who not only make good art, but also know how to sell stuff to people. Yeah I would love to bring those crowds together, I just have to find people who can do that for me. I provide the songs and the acting. People like my dad or the street team are really the force that will make that happens in the future. It takes a lot of different people and word of mouth. But I think that has started to happen. I started doing these youtube videos with my friend Brad who specializes in that stuff - that has already gotten a lot of attention to my music and my record. I would love for it to all come together.

CC: So you’re not trying to over market yourself right now…
TH: Yeah. I’m just doing what I love. When a script I like comes over, I wanna do it. When I write a song I like, I wanna sing it. What happens after that is beyond I do. I definitely don’t stare at myself in the mirror everyday trying to figure out a way to become super famous.

CC: What are some of your future aspirations?
TH: I want to keep doing things that impress me. I want to continue to write that songs that makes me think “woah where did that come from?” or to act in that movie with the interesting character. This is weird but I keep writing these fiction stories that come out of nowhere. Hey, maybe there is a part of me that wants to write a book in the future. I just want to keep impressing myself and doing great unexpected thins. After all, I’m still trying to get to know myself.
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