THE tremendous Tyler Hilton…
has been chatting with me about his latest single City on Fire, and what its story is. The track is taken from the songwriter’s album of the same name (due out in the autumn). I ask the U.S. songwriter about his acting work and the importance of performing and writing in Nashville.
Hilton discusses performing in the U.K. (the interview was sent out before he embarked on a small tour of the U.K.) and whether he has any ambitions to fulfil before the end of the year; which three albums he ranks as favourites – he recommends a musician we should all spend some time listening to.
Hi, Tyler. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m happy and tired - and this last week feels like it’s lasted a whole month. Haha! But, I’m in a different country every day right now and, when I should be sleeping, I’m cramming in lots of sightseeing!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Probably best to search me on Spotify and hit ‘shuffle’ - I’m always unsure how to describe my sound. I’ve been writing and singing since I was young. I come from Southern California and was raised on Folk music in a family of musicians, so I’m influenced by a lot of stuff!
City on Fire is new. What is the story behind the song?
It’s a murder-ballad about a man losing everything and struggling with revenge. To me, it’s a metaphor for a lot that’s being lost right now and our reaction to it.
Might we see some more music come before the end of the year?
Oh...I think you definitely will (smiles).
I get a feeling Rock and Country and important genres. What sort of music are you into? Did you connect with music quite young?
I connected with it super-young. Elvis (Presley) was my entry into everything: Blues, Gospel; Rock and Country. Then, from there, I found favorites in each genre and just became obsessed with them for different periods when I was building myself. Filming Walk the Line felt like I was getting to bring all those pieces together.
I understand you have roots in Nashville. How important is the city to you? Is it where you feel at your purest and best?
Yea. Nashville is a very important character in my life and this new record. Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood from Lady Antebellum used to be my roommates down there. It was those good times that led Charles and I (to wanna) chase that again on this record!
How does your acting work tie with your music? Is there an acting role that stands out to you?
Being in movies is a blast. I love acting. I love being part of a whole new world. It’s like a vacation from myself. I get such good perspective stepping into a life that isn’t me. I think it has helped my writing, for sure.
Hard to top playing Elvis for me, though.
Will there be any live dates coming up? Where can we catch you perform?
Check TylerHilton.com for dates. I’m touring all year!
You’re coming over to the U.K. Do you like British music?
Yes - and I love their taste in music. Some of my favorite artists have found audiences with the Brits when no one else was getting it.
Do you have any ambitions to fulfil before the end of the year?
To be home as little as possible. Haha! The new record’s done and I wanna play this thing for people!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Opening for Keith Urban and John Mayer was insane to me. The three of us together was my dream show! I love both their music and feel like I’m somewhere right between them.
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
Muddy Waters’ I’m Ready; Bob Dylan’s Another Side of Bob Dylan and Blake Mills’ Break Mirrors.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Keep writing bad songs: they might not be as bad as you think. Don’t just try and write ‘good’ ones. I feel like the part of us that judges can be bullsh*t.
IN THIS PHOTO: Blake Mills
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Blake Mills has two records out and I have become obsessed with both!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I walk a lot, watch movies; read, hang with people; talk a lot of sh*t and laugh a lot, I guess?! (Smiles).
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Blake Mills - It’ll All Work Out
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