StreetBeat Exclusive!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012 17:39

An Interview with Tristan Prettyman

By Casey Pukl

From the physical pain of having major vocal surgery to the heartache of a broken engagement, San Diego’s Tristan Prettyman has sure had a lot to write about in the last year. Fortunately for us, she’ll be sharing all of her gloriously emotional songs at StreetBeat this Saturday in Little Italy! Read on for details on her latest record, Cedar + Gold, out this October including what inspired it, what her writing process was like, and just what she’s most looking forward to about playing her hometown!

CP: Tell me a little bit about your latest record, Cedar + Gold. You’re so much more grown up on this record than we’ve ever heard you before.

TP: Yeah, I’ve done quite a bit of growing!

CP: I know you had some vocal surgery and a lot of life happening that’s been poured into this record. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

TP: Yeah! After the last record came out, I was burned out. I needed to just unplug and get back to living. I was just go, go, go for 6 years straight. So I stepped away from music for a minute. I traveled to Bali and Australia, spent some time in New York with my cousin, and then I started to feel a little guilty about all the fun I was having [laughs]. I started writing again, but I was writing from a place of guilt really. I wasn’t that inspired.

Around that time I noticed some issues with my voice. I was easily worn out and tired, so I had it looked at and found out I had two polyps on my vocal chords. So I tried to heal it over the next 4-5 months, and when that didn’t work, I went in and had the surgery. That put me out for another 6 months, so that turned into a year. Then I was engaged and unengaged. All of these things just kept happening. I would walk outside and look up at the sky and just say, “What’s next?” [Laughs].

CP: There’s nothing like some craziness to jumpstart the writing process.

TP: Oh absolutely! The songs started to come right around the time I was having the surgery, which was interesting because I couldn’t really use my voice that well. It’s funny how that happens. In the moments when you least expect it or need it, you get inspired. My break-up inspired me a lot, and songs really started coming out. I wasn’t necessarily trying to make a break-up record. I really wasn’t sure what kind of record I was trying to make, actually. But once the songs started to come, I just tried to get out of the way and catch as many as I could. I just went with it.

It was coming from such a vulnerable place. I was feeling everything again, and there was just so much emotion. A lot of these songs were written in the moment of chaos and turmoil, so they’re really raw. I think that’s what gives it the sound that’s so different than the last two records.

CP: I just want to touch back on something for a quick minute, because I can only imagine how frustrating it was, but tell me about not being able to use your voice when you were all of a sudden so inspired to write!

TP: It was interesting because I had taken a break from music, and I truthfully wasn’t sure that I wanted to even go back to music. I was only going back to it because I was feeling bad, and then I lost my voice [laughs]. All of a sudden the universe just takes it away. It was in this time where I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to do it! It was so chaotic, but I would just write. I wrote in my journal, and I wrote anything and everything that needed to be written, and I hung onto it. I think that was really the beginning stage of this record— just clearing out the cobwebs. The more I wrote, the more layers I pulled off, and then I was writing from this beautiful, deep space I had never written from before.

CP: Can you tell me a little more about your songwriting process for this album? How did you get from not being able to use your voice to these fully developed songs?

TP: I would seriously be doing laundry, and then I all of a sudden needed to go find my guitar, sit down in the living room, and go write. Normally it starts with a melody on the guitar, and the song just writes itself. That was really the theme of this record. The songs were written so quickly. There were a few songs that took a little extra, but songwriting has always fallen into this grey area. It’s like that moment right before you fall asleep that you don’t really remember. Somewhere in there, a song is written. It just happens.

CP: Do you do a lot of revising?

TP: Not really. Verses really come out in chunks, and they kind of stay that way [laughs]. Even I don’t really understand it sometimes. My songs are literally full thoughts and things that I want to say to someone. They’re very straightforward. It’s a weird process that I don’t really understand [laughs].

CP: What are you most looking forward to about playing for your hometown of San Diego on Saturday?

TP: It’s always fun to come back to San Diego. KPRi has been such an amazing support from day 1, so I love doing anything with them. I’ve been hearing about Anthology for years, and I know this is going to be outside, but I’m really looking forward to playing there. It’s close enough for now [laughs]. But home has been such a big supporter of what I do, and I just love playing at home. I also love driving to my house afterwards and being able to sleep in my own bed.

I was born and raised here, and I know that my friends and family are so proud. This gives them a chance to come to shows. My parents are older and can’t travel all over the place, so it’s a great opportunity for everyone I love to come on out and have a great time.

Special thanks to Tristan for her time! Be sure to get your tickets for StreetBeat now at the link below! Not only will Tristan be rocking the stage, but Walk The Moon and The Wallflowers will also be killing it! We’ll also have food from Thai 1 On, In Sliders, Sweiners, Maui Wowi, Big Dev’s BBQ, beer from Sapporo and Mission Brewery and more! Don’t miss the fun!

Tristan Prettyman on Spotify

WHAT: StreetBeat
WHEN: Saturday, September 8, 3-10pm
TICKETS: $39-$150 Buy Tickets
MORE INFO: Artist Profile