Tyler Hilton has been a songwriter and musician for most of his life. The son of an electrical contractor and a teacher, Hilton grew up in a musically inclined family in Palm Springs, Calif., where he took to playing guitar and singing at a young age. Hilton spent several years performing at open mic nights and clubs, playing blues and jazz covers for tips in coffeehouses and restaurants.
“I did pretty well with the older clientele because they loved that stuff,” Hilton says. “But I’d always be shocked when a kid came up and said he liked my music, because usually it was: ‘Oh my parents heard you at the Crab Shack and they loved your rendition of ‘Wonderful World’ and I’d be like, ‘Thank you.’ And that’s when I got the hell out of Palm Springs.” So Hilton moved to Los Angeles to launch himself as a musician.
After releasing a self-titled independent CD, he signed to Warner Brother's imprint Maverick Records, which released his major-label debut The Tracks of Tyler Hilton the same year that Hilton made his acting debut starring as the musically talented, but totally arrogant, Chris Keller on the second season of One Tree Hill. Other roles soon followed, including playing Elvis Presley in the critically acclaimed movie Walk the Line, co-starring in the indie film Charlie Bartlett with Robert Downey Jr., and returning to One Tree Hill for its final season in 2012.
Yet while his cover songs appeared on the Grammy Award-winning Walk the Line soundtrack and his Americana-flavored originals were featured on each of One Tree Hill’s popular soundtracks, Hilton had yet to release another full-length album of his own.
He recorded one, The Storms We Share, in the fall of 2010, but its release was thwarted by a shake-up in leadership at Warner Bros. But, as an artist, Hilton did what artists do and channeled all of his frustrated emotions into a batch of songs, the bulk of which make up his new album Forget the Storm, which Hilton has released on his own label, Hooptie Tune Records.
Lyrically, the album is an unflinchingly honest piece of work that finds Hilton reflecting on his relationship with himself, with his loved ones and even with music — reveling in the good, owning up to the bad and examining everything in between. “You could probably learn more about me by listening to this album than you could by talking to me for an hour,” he says. “It’s very personal and much closer to who I really am than what I’ve revealed in the past, but it's easier to write from that place when you have nothing left to lose.”
We here at Elite had the opportunity to catch up with Tyler and ask the start a few questions about his career, his life and his comeback to music.
Tell us something about your hometown or childhood that left an impact on you today?
When was the first time you realized you wanted to get into music and acting?
What about these industries makes you passionate to pursue them?
When you first broke out as a musician on the season finale of One Tree Hill, what were your initial plans for the future?
After you signed with your label, you experienced a 5 year period of inactivity. What did it feel like having your music career prolonged without being able to move forward?
Now that you finally released an album after 8 years, what about you validates your position in music the industry?
Music is a naturally saturated market, what do you plan on doing to stand out?
We know hoardes of loyal fans followed your career on One Tree Hill, many who would love the chance to date you. Could you tell us what your type of girl is?
What is the craziest way you have ever been approached by a girl?
If you could date anyone in the music industry, who would it be?
Besides performing and producing albums, what other career plans do you have that we may not expect?
I'm sure you didn't expect waiting 8 years to release your album, where do you see yourself in the next 8 years?
Here is Tyler's new single, "Loaded Gun", off of his new album: