By Kyle Menard Photo by Michael Wells
Tyler Hilton evokes more of a sentiment than the characters he plays on television or the records he put out throughout the aughts and presently. He conjures up memories of heading into a music store and picking up an album by a singer/songwriter only to keep up with him for all the years that follow. He brings back the memories of the Virgin College Mega Tour from 2006 and performing "When It Comes" on MTV's TRL. Years later, Hilton stands in front of us ready to delve into the latest chapter of his life with new album, Forget the Storm. We had the opportunity to grab a stool and sit with Tyler and discover his secrets to success and what advice he has for future singer/songwriters.
How’s the tour going?
Good. Really good! It's great just being back in America for two weeks. I was so happy to be back here; I couldn't wait to go overseas and tour, but when I got back here, I was like ‘Wow, this is...’ it was so great for some reason.
Where were you in Europe?
All over the UK. England, Scotland and Belgium. That was it. And then I go back in October and do more.
It's been awhile now since your first full length album - why the wait?
I don't know. I put out some EPs, but I just had a hard time with Warner Brothers and putting out the record I wanted, and I didn't want to put out something that I wasn't sure about. So, I kind of just took my time and kept writing and kept doing what I wanted until this record came out, and I traveled a bunch. Then, when I was ready to make this one, I just felt so right about it, so I just did it, you know?
Yeah, I just really wanted to do this and, you know, I'm not good at acting like I like something. I'm just not good at hiding it, so if I don't love a record, it's just not going to be fun to do.
Is there any artist or singer you would like to collaborate with, dead or alive?
Yeah, I'd like to do something with the Kings of Leon. I think it would be really cool. I really like them and Jack White. Yeah, and you know, obviously Elvis or something like that would be so cool.
Are there any stories that you have about touring here or overseas?
There's so many, I don't remember until they just pop into my head, like, dreams I have or something, just ‘Wow' that was really weird. Literally everyday the weirdest shit happens, and you can't remember it. I have no memory space to remember them. It's just bizarre.
Random fans throwing stuff, doing stuff?
Every time something happens I'm just like ‘Wow, like, I have to remember this,' and then I totally forget. Like in Europe, there were some places where they threw underwear and lollipops on stage. It was so weird. I just couldn't figure out why. There were these signs in Ireland that said “marry me” and then they just had a new sign that just said “get in me.” What? It was just, really random, you know? It was funny.
People and the things that they do.
That's what keeps it exciting.
How do you feel about social media?
It’s been a really big help to me. I don't know, if we were back to where it was before we had social media, I don't know. It's like, I don't love doing social media stuff, but I'm glad I have that option in today's market. You know what I mean? I can be an independent artist now and put out my stuff just through social media. But, I mean, if it wasn't for that I'd be all magazines, even newspapers, and that's what I'd have to do a lot of. So, whatever it is, you just have to promote yourself a lot as an artist. It’s just part of you know, really big tech guys, so it's a little harder for me to get behind that learning curve, but, I'm learning a little bit. It's just, not my favorite thing ever, but it's cool that it's available to me. That's how I got overseas, because I can do something on the Internet and everyone can see.
What is something no one would know about you or that you would like your fans to know about you?
Everyone always asks what I do in my spare time. I never have spare time, so I literally do nothing. I'll literally just put on Netflix and just zone out in like the worst outfit ever. I just do nothing because I'm always so busy doing something that always involves things that like tight pants for things…I do the opposite when there's time off. Like today, I had 30 minutes to do nothing, and I just like lying in bed watching The Office. I can't even play guitar or anything so it's just like maybe unless I've been home for a few days and I'm like restless again, I'm like 'I can't do it.' The lamest person ever...
With One Tree Hill concluding this past year, will we see you on the screen again?
As soon as I stop touring I'll probably do some more stuff. I just gotta figure it out, but I'll probably do some more stuff soon.
What is one piece of advice you can share with anyone reading this right now?
Just keep playing. Like I said, the advice I always give myself is you're never "there" you know? The more you can play the better, there’s no trick or social media thing, you can only promote something so much and if it's not as good as something else it probably won't go any farther. It's just getting better all the time...the thing is to never underestimate...just be good and keep getting better. I'm not just writing songs about things I know, I need to get better and better.
Forget the Storm on iTunes