We had the pleasure of talking with the charming Tyler Hilton when he stopped in Atlanta, Georgia recently. We chatted with him about his current tour, upcoming album, and of course – One Tree Hill. Check it out below!
How’s the tour been going to far?
Tyler Hilton: Really good; it’s fun. The other bands are awesome and we’ve been having so much fun on stage. It’s been cool.
I know you have a new album coming out this summer, what’s the date on that?
Tyler Hilton: I don’t think there is a date; it’s just like late summer right now.
How do you feel you’ve evolved musically from the beginning of your career until this current album? How do you think your voice has changed?
Tyler Hilton: I think my voice has gotten much better, and I think I’m much more of a singer now than I was then. I think I was more of just a songwriter, you know. But I’ve, like worked really hard on it and I really wanted to kind of expand my songwriting. Musically, I think I’ve less rules for myself now. So, before it was like, “Well, I gotta kinda be like this.” Now, I’m not really shy of pop music or really rock music or whatever’s coming to me I kind of write, you know? I think this made this record a bit more exciting too because of that.
Are you playing any covers on this tour?
Tyler Hilton: I’ve been playing “Missing You” the John White song I covered, or I put on a One Tree Hill soundtrack, and that’s pretty much it. We were going to play “Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty; I don’t know if we ever did that. Maybe we’ll play it tonight.
What has been your favorite moment on the tour this far; your most memorable moment?
Tyler Hilton: Probably… I don’t know. I’d probably say one of my favorite moment so far was when Spill Canvas started getting me on stage with them to sing “Our Song.” Probably the first night I did that; that was really fun, ’cause I got to be up there with all their fans and with their band in the background. It was really fun, that was probably my favorite, actually.
What would you say your most unique fan experience has been thus far?
Tyler Hilton: Probably my most unique was when Taylor Swift – her manager called and was like she was a big fan of mine, and I was like, “Wow, that’s pretty cool.” It was when she was, like, first starting off and she was coming through town to kind of do a show in southern California and she wanted me to come and hang and meet her and maybe sing at the show. And that’s when she asked me to come and be in her music video, “Tear Drops on My Guitar.” That was probably one of my favorites, ’cause it was just random. And I’ve kind of got to know her and her family and they really helped me out a lot when I was in Nashville. And now I’ve kind of got to see her grow into such a big star. That’s pretty cool.
What song on this upcoming album is the most personal to you, or you feel the most emotionally connected to?
Tyler Hilton: There’s a song called “Hard to Love” that’ll be on the record, and I started writing that in high school and I didn’t finish until sometime in my early twenties. That was probably my favorite, ’cause – not my favorite – probably the most personal because some of the other songs – that one’s probably more line for line autobiographical, about a certain heartbreak I had, than like the other songs. Some of the songs start with something autobiographical, and then I kind of, like, fictionalize it a bit, but that one was pretty literal.
With the evolution of the music industry and with all the issues of illegal downloading and all of that, what kind of affect does that have on you? Does it change your involvement in marketing at all? What new things are you having to do to combat that?
Tyler Hilton: It affects the amount – you don’t make the kind of money you used to, like in the ’90s with music. Well, at least, new artists don’t. So, I guess like that, it’s kind of affect me, but I think live music is certainly up; people really like that. And the ways that I’ve evolved as an artist has kind of gotten more into social networking and new media. But it wasn’t really a stretch for me; I really like doing it. I’m actually glad that it helps me because it gives me justification for doing it. I love doing the Twitter stuff, and we’re always coming up with new videos to do for the website. And the fact that not only people are watching it, but it’s kind of the lifeblood of my career is nice to know. It’s actually – in some weird ways a perfect time for me to be a musician, a perfect time in music history because it really – for me right now, it’s exciting ’cause it gets all the stuff a musician has to do really plays to my strengths and my likes, you know? I like doing all that stuff, so that’s kind of the way it’s evolved a bit.
Do you have any issues, as far as management saying what you can or can’t do in your social media stuff, or are they pretty cool with that?
Tyler Hilton: No, not really. If I ever got – I mean, I probably got reprimanded in the past for saying things that might be too personal or too – I mean, not personal about me, but too – like when I’m maybe frustrated and I’m like naming people or something. I don’t know. I haven’t really had that much problem with it, because I’m not like… I know some artists where they can’t really have the social networking stuff ’cause the stuff that comes out of their mouth is just crazy. It’s not really that way for me, I don’t think. If that does happen, as long as you’re not getting on Twitter when you’re drunk or anything, you’re probably good.
What do you like to do when you’re not doing music and when you’re not on tour?
Tyler Hilton: Well, the full time job I have when I’m not doing music or on tour is running the business side of the whole thing. All the meetings and the emails and, you know, when I’m in LA, then I’m just kind of like a small business owner. I’ve got all the business stuff to deal with. But what I like to do when I’m not doing any of that is just, really, as little as possible. I love to travel, but I get a lot of that out of my system when I’m on tour. It kind of depends. I kind of settled into LA and got a home there, and I just like try to do as little as possible. Watch movies or catch up with friends. ‘Cause it’s all the stuff that I don’t get to do normally. I don’t ever have nothing going on, and I never really get to catch up with friends in LA. But the cool thing is, I would rather be doing this than be doing nothing. So it’s very rare that I’m like, “Oh, thank God I don’t have any music to do; I can’t just do nothing,” you know? Even when I’m watching TV, I’ll be playing guitar or doing something like that. This is one of those rare opportunities where I could always be doing something, and I love doing what I’m doing.
Speaking of traveling, what is the one place that you haven’t been to yet that you want to go to?
Tyler Hilton: I’ve never been to Asia, ever, in a personal way or on tour, and I always really wanted to go there. I’ve traveled just about everywhere else, but not Asia. I really want to go there and tour.
That was one of our fan submitted questions on Twitter, wanting to know when you were going to come to Germany.
Tyler Hilton: Oh! You know, what I’ve gotta do is figure out when Germany’s going to release my record and then once I get that going then I can get over there. I want to get over there as soon as possible. I’ve so many fans in Europe, and I’ve never been over there. I mean, to play. So, I’m trying to get over there.
What are your favorite television shows?
Tyler Hilton: I love LOST…I’m behind on everything. I don’t watch anything in real time because I don’t have TV. But I’ll watch in on Hulu or on Netflix or something. I love Glee, I love LOST…
Are you caught up on LOST?
Tyler Hilton: No, I’m like halfway through season five.
So, probably not going to make the season finale in time?
Tyler Hilton: No, I think Steve is going to, though. He’s all caught up. The show I probably end up watching the most would probably be Family Guy because we watch it in the car all the time.
What’s next for you? What’s the rest of your year look like?
Tyler Hilton: Well, we finish up this tour with Spill Canvas in May, and then one of my songs is going to radio next month. So, I’m going to spend next month shooting a new music video, and I’m going to radio with that song. I’m back out on tour in July, and I’ll keep on touring until – I’ll be on tour until the rest of the year, promoting the single, and then building up to <.i>The Storms We Share, the release at the end of the year, or at the end of the summer.
I have a couple of fan questions for you. Did you enjoy playing a character everyone loved to hate in One Tree Hill?
Tyler Hilton: Yes. I loved doing that. The only people who didn’t like me at first…’Cause I was touring for a while, and then I did One Tree Hill, and then I started noticing that some people would come out and they’d be all like, “I didn’t want to come, because I didn’t like you.” But it’s kind of fun, because I thought that character was so funny and I’m not really like that in real life, and I hate people like that. So it was really fun to make fun of people like that and be that kind of guy on the show.
What are your thoughts on an additional season of One Tree Hill? I know all the fans are rooting for that right now. Would you go back if there was another season?
Tyler Hilton: I think it would be great if there was another season. I haven’t been caught up on the show in a while, but I’m just shocked that the show’s continued to go and it’s such a testament to the writing on the show, because with Chad Michael Murray gone and a lot of the other stars being gone. The show keeps changing and the characters…and the people still love it. It’s still a great place for music to be, my friend Kate Voegele was on it, and they always have a lot of music on there. I would love it if the show went on, and if it when on I would probably go on again. I’ve always said before, if the show stopped, I’d at least like to go on there one more time just to, like, just to be fun. It all kind of depends; it may end. But if it goes on again, it would be really fun to do again, I’m sure.
Think we’ll ever see you and Kate doing anything together?
Tyler Hilton: Oh! Probably. She’s cool. Maybe we’ll go on tour together or something. It’s all about our schedules lining up and it working out. But she was over at my house a few months ago and we had a barbecue and we got to catch up. I think she was filming One Tree Hill, though, so she was just in LA for a bit. She’s really nice, and I think it would be great to tour with her. Do something.
That would be the dream tour for a lot of people.
Tyler Hilton: Really? Sweet! We gotta do that.
Interview By: Emma Loggins
Photography By: Vania Ho