With an appealing blend of luck, pluck and sheer musical talent, 20 year- old troubadour Tyler Hilton has launched a career that promises to take this gifted Palm Springs, California native all the way. You can hear that promise fulfilled on the eleven exemplary tracks of Tyler Hilton, the artist's stunning major label debut on Maverick Records. With a formidable ear for timeless melodies, a keen lyrical sensibility and a natural knack for heartfelt performances, Tyler Hilton is one of the most impressive new arrivals on the modern musical scene. It's a journey that began musical scene. It's a journey that began virtually from birth, as the child of a highly musical family that includes a songwriting father and a passel of singing and performing siblings and cousins. "I can't remember a time when there wasn't some sort of music floating through the house," recounts the personable young artist. "I picked up on it and started teaching myself guitar and piano. By the time I was thirteen, I was writing songs because it just seemed like the natural thing to do." Natural, also, was Tyler's affinity for a wide variety of musical styles, from the classics Elvis and Sinatra to modern day artists such as John Mayer and beyond. "The first CD I bought was B.B. King's Greatest Hits and from there I got into Robert Johnson and other blues legends. I began to realize that music could express real life situations and emotions." It would be awhile, however, before the fledgling songwriter had a chance to express his own feelings and life lessons. "I got into the obligatory high school band," he continues, "but we spent most of our time trying to think of a cool name. Eventually, I just started playing on my own, mostly on open mic nights in clubs and coffee houses around Palm Springs. I'll never forget the thrill of seeing my name in yellow chalk on a blackboard at a local hangout. It felt like I was on my way." Indeed he was. Writing new material at a steady clip, his increasingly assured solo performances yielded a wealth of original material resulting in an independent record and a fervent and growing following in the process. Word of mouth on the precocious teen was given a hefty boost when Tyler made a chance phone call to the nationally syndicated Mark & Brian radio show. "I was looking for tickets to a Johnny Lang concert," he explains, "but we got to talking and I ended up doing an impromptu version of 'Breakin' Me.' They really liked what they heard and invited me down to the studio for their Christmas show." Word of the Palm Springs phenomenon was quick to reach the canny ears of Maverick Records' A&R department and, at the tender age of eighteen, Tyler Hilton found himself with a coveted major label recording deal. Work began immediately on his first major label release, enlisting an eclectic group of producers that includes Rick Parker (Joe Firstman, Miranda Lee Richards), Paul Fox (10,000 Maniacs, The Wallflowers), Geza X (Meredith Brooks, Black Flag) and Scott Austin (who doubles as Tyler's A & R representative at Maverick). The result is Tyler Hilton, a collection of eleven original songs that together serve notice of a major new musical talent at the beginning of a long and richly rewarding career. Highlighting such key cuts as the rousing "When It Comes," the evocative "Rollin Home," and the infectious "Glad," Tyler Hilton showcases a creative confidence and intuitive grasp of melodic and lyrical interplay that would be rare in an artist twice his age. "I feel like this is something I've been preparing for my whole life," Tyler asserts enthusiastically. "I've been blessed with some great luck, a lot of support and the chance to do what I love. It doesn't get any better than that." Tyler Hilton's self-titled debut album will be released on Maverick Records September 28th. Tyler was born on November 22, 1983, in Coral Springs, California.
Tyler Hilton Took Elvis Role So He Wouldn't Be Jealous
'I would have been bummed if anyone else got this part,' he says.
Tyler Hilton has some big shoes to fill — and they're blue and covered in suede.
The singer/songwriter, who has a recurring role on the WB's teen drama "One Tree Hill" as cocky musician Chris Keller, will be starring as a young Elvis Presley in the upcoming Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line." "I didn't even know I was going in to audition for it, so it blindsided me a bit," Hilton recalled recently. "They just wanted to audition musicians for the movie and I went in and played a Johnny Cash song. Then they said, 'Do you know any Elvis songs?' which I did because he's one of my favorite musicians from when I was a kid."
So the 21-year-old singer-turned-actor busted out a couple of Presley's tunes and landed a callback for the coveted role of the music legend. "Afterwards, the casting lady said, 'You know, I think we'll have you come back and read some of Elvis' lines,' " Hilton said. "I was like, 'Elvis's lines? That's crazy! I don't know if I can do Elvis. I'm not an Elvis impersonator.' "
Hilton dabbled a bit with acting in high school until he made the choice to focus on his music. Taking the plunge back into acting was not something the singer had anticipated. "I was really nervous about it," Hilton said, admitting he nearly walked away from the role. "But the more I thought about it, I'm such a big Elvis fan, and I would have been bummed if anyone else got this part. I would've been so jealous. So I was happy to take it and I had a good time, too."
The biopic, directed by James Mangold, tracks the early years of country music icon Johnny Cash and his steady climb to fame, with Joaquin Phoenix playing the Man in Black. "It was very easy for me to just be quiet and observe [Joaquin] and just follow him around and be like, 'What's he doing?' " Hilton said. "I kind of got an idea to know what it's like to be a professional, so that was really nice to be around."
Hilton remains modest about his attempt at capturing Presley's larger-than-life persona. "I don't think I ever would have done a good enough job where I would have watched the movie and been like, 'Yes, that is Elvis,' " the singer admitted. "But I do watch it and I'm like, 'That was a noble attempt, young warrior. That was a noble attempt.' "
Reese Witherspoon, who ditched her famous blond locks for her role, will play Cash's longtime love, June Carter. Robert Patrick, Ginnifer Goodwin and singer Shelby Lynne are also featured in the film, set for a November 18 release.
Hilton, who signed a deal with Maverick Records at age 18, released his major-label debut, The Tracks of Tyler Hilton, in November. The first single, "When It Comes," is still gaining momentum at radio, and has consequently delayed the release of the album's second single.
"We've speculated on when it might come out but I think it all depends on how [the single that's out now] is doing and how touring's going," he said. Hilton will perform on the "One Tree Hill" Concert Tour throughout March (see "Gavin DeGraw, Michelle Branch Play For 'Hill' Fans in L.A."), but don't look for him to decide which one of his tracks he'll release next. "It's tough for me to choose because I like all my songs. That's why I wrote them. It's tough for me to say one's so much better than the other ones."
The singer, who will remain on the road for the rest of the year, said he will largely rely on the crowds' reactions and some online polls to help him determine the next single. "I think we've narrowed it down to a few to see which one it might be, but I'm as excited to find out as anybody else."
Tyler Hilton: I am not related to Paris Hilton
Tyler Hilton was born and raised in Southern California, but inspired by folk, blues, and country music of the '30s and '40s. He recently released his debut album, The Tracks Of, which is a rich compilation of acoustic pop music. His songs are generally about traveling, love, and traveling while in love! This 20 year-old is a self-taught guitar player, and is greatly influenced by Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. He's even starring as "The King" in the movie Walk the Line, which also stars Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. And no, Tyler isn't related to Paris Hilton! Peeps ask him this so much that he actually has a t-shirt that says, "I am not related."
Tyler Hilton is ''the next big thing''
Singer/actor Tyler Hilton just may fit that bill. His album “The Tracks Of Tyler Hilton” came out this week and is full of clever lyrics and singable tunes that mix enthusiastic pop with folk, travellin’ songs and a twinge of country. TeenMusic attended Tyler’s CD launch party at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. Here’s the scene. At least a hundred teens and young adults who’ve already caught the Hilton (no relation to Paris) bug packed in to see their boy in the flesh. Well, make that classic western shirt with snap buttons, jeans and very old worn black Converse All Star tennies.
Every once in a while, in Hollywood, we get to meet and interact with the “next big thing”.
Cute brunette, 20-year-old singer/actor Tyler Hilton just may fit that bill. His album “The Tracks Of Tyler Hilton” came out this week and is full of clever lyrics and singable tunes that mix enthusiastic pop with folk, travellin’ songs and a twinge of country. TeenMusic attended Tyler’s CD launch party at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. Here’s the scene. At least a hundred teens and young adults who’ve already caught the Hilton (no relation to Paris) bug packed in to see their boy in the flesh. Well, make that classic western shirt with snap buttons, jeans and very old worn black Converse All Star tennies.
Tyler Hilton Destined for Elvis
Looks like breakout singing star Tyler was apparently destined to play Elvis in the upcoming big-screen Johnny Cash biopic, "Walk the Line" with Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Hilton - who's been able to showcase the music from his hit debut album, "The Tracks Of..." in his recurring role as a musician on "One Tree Hill" - was not called in initially to play Elvis in the film.
"It's pretty crazy," he says. "They were looking for musicians for the movie and when I showed up with a whole bunch of session guys that I'd worked with they liked the vibe. They asked me to read four or five lines then had me play a couple of Elvis songs."
Hilton says he had no problem pulling a couple of Elvis tunes out of his repertoire because "I'm a real big Elvis fan. I played 'That's Alright' in the audition and they were like 'Well hell, let's use that in the film.' I'm also singing 'Milk Cow Blues'"
Hilton - who's recurring on "One Tree Hill" as an aspiring musician - says even though he "already knew a lot about Elvis because I loved him so much as a kid, I did a lot of research. I listened to a lot of old interviews, as many old and live recordings as I could. I watched a couple of his earliest movies because I wanted to see him walk around. It was great."
Did he capture that now-infamous Elvis pelvis move? "It was funny because he was just a teenager at the time (he hooked up with Johnny Cash), so he wasn't as refined as he was later on with his dancing. He'd also never heard of girls throwing themselves at a musician the way they were at him. We had a whole bunch of girls out rushing the stage. It was real fun and a really cool time to play Elvis because there's an innocence there."
This young songwriter and musician released his debut album, The Tracks Of, in September 2004, and is proving he's no one-trick pony, with roles on the WB's One Tree Hill and in the Johnny Cash biographical film, Walk the Line (to be released in 2005).
Tyler Hilton speaks about his career as a singer and an actor
Tyler Hilton recently released his first album, which fuses his musical influences -- from bluegrass and country to blues and rock 'n' roll. Born in Palm Springs, California, Hilton got his start in music at a young age. His father taught him three chords on the electric guitar and by the time he was 17, he had already released an independently recorded album. He started playing in local coffee shops and clubs, and as his skills progressed, his fan base expanded.
In addition to launching his musical career, Hilton has been doing some acting, both in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line (as a young Elvis) and in a guest spot on the hit WB series, One Tree Hill. We were lucky enough to sit down with this charismatic talent to talk about his music, Elvis and the ladies.
If you'd like to check out the latest on Tyler Hilton's musical and acting career, check out his official site, www.tylerhilton.com.
Q: So Tyler, where are you right now?
I am in Wilmington, North Carolina. I am filming One Tree Hill. I am on the show for a couple of episodes.
Q: How interested are you in acting?
I am pretty interested. I did it in high school and I really wanted to study it in college. I wanted to do theater and get into a touring company. I was doing music too and I got signed, so I haven't been [acting] much. This summer, I just finished filming a movie called Walk the Line, which is about Johnny Cash. I had a small part playing Elvis in that. They asked me if I wanted to be in [One Tree Hill] and I found out it was filmed in Wilmington. I thought it would be pretty cool to hang out in North Carolina for two months. That's what I am doing here.
Q: How were you cast as Elvis?
They were asking for musicians to try out for the movie and I went in. They wanted everyone to play a Johnny Cash song. I may have been auditioning as one of his background musicians. I went in and auditioned, and they asked me if I knew any Elvis songs, well I grew up on Elvis songs, so I played them a bunch of old Elvis and they asked me to read some lines. It just happened like that.
Q: That sounds like a pretty great career move...
It was pretty crazy filming in Memphis. The town was really into it; they were really digging the fact that we were there.
Q: Do you foresee that your acting career might supersede your musical career?
We keep joking about that. The CD was pushed back a bunch of times, there was a printing mistake on thousands of CDs, so they had to reprint them and push back the date.
Getting signed to Maverick and getting the women
Q: How did you get signed to Maverick -- did you do the chasing?
I did the chasing thing for a while when I was in high school. My manager and close family friend was sending the package around. I was in high school and I had an independent album out, and we kept sending that out and I was doing shows. No one really dug it. It was very Americana and had a lot of folk elements in it. I was going to finish out my senior year, and this magazine gave me a favorable review. An A&R guy from Maverick saw the review and invited me in to meet [him]. After we stopped chasing, Maverick just called me.
Q: What's your music like?
I have come to terms with the fact that it's called pop music, that's what I play and that is what I write. I think it is a pretty broad category. It is really rock 'n' roll. It has a lot of roots elements and is acoustic based. I base my roots and history in old blues, old country and old bluegrass, and I like rock 'n' roll, and somehow it all came together and that is what I am playing now.
Q: You are 20 now, so the music that influenced you wasn't popular at the time. How did you discover that music?
I got into Elvis because my parents took us to Graceland when I was really young. I got this Elvis tape and really dug it. I went with that and ran with it, and got into his early stuff. I got into the blues and Johnny Lange when I was in middle school. I put two and two together and went after this blues thing, and went after B.B. King. I kept going back and the farther back I got, the better I liked it, and eventually I found the music from the '30s, and all the country and bluegrass from that time I really liked.
Q: How are the ladies different with you now?
It seems a bit easier now, there are certainly more around. I am playing shows all the time and appearing on One Tree Hill...the girls are so hot, and it just seems that there are more of them around.
Q: Do you have a girlfriend?
I had a girlfriend for a while and there was a lot of jealousy. I would never do anything like that, but she was at home while I was out on the road. It was kind of crazy.
Q: What are your other plans for this year?
I am hoping to finish up the show here and keep touring the rest of the year. I would like to see the album do okay. I can't wait for people to hear the songs -- I have been sitting on them for a couple of years. I would also love to come back to One Tree Hill.
Q: Who are some of the big artists you would like to work with?
I would really like to work with Jack White. I would like to get together with Oasis. I would love to work with any musician I listen to. I would love to work with Jay-Z...
Q: We're certain they will want to collaborate with you, too. We'll look out for you on the charts and the big screen.