Sunday, May 01, 2016
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
Published: Wednesday, 9/12/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Tyler Hilton is happy to be on his own

Singer-songwriter Tyler Hilton. Singer-songwriter Tyler Hilton.

After eight years between studio albums, singer-songwriter Tyler Hilton released "Forget the Storm" on his own record label in April. Known best for his performance as Chris Keller, an egotistical and troubled singer with a habit of speaking in the third person, on the WB's One Tree Hill, Hilton is keeping busy now with tour dates, including a stop Friday at The University of Toledo's Music Fest 2012.

No relation to the other Hilton and her family, he is scheduled to perform a half-hour set beginning at 8:30 p.m., as one of several acts on the bill. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, visit utoledo.edu/musicfest.

Hilton, 28, recently chatted with The Blade.

Q: It's been a while since you released a studio record. Talk about "Forget the Storm."

A: I spent so many years in the studio trying to get to this point where I could put out this record and finally tour it and so it's nice to see this all come to fruition. I took a lot of chances with this record. I was on Warner Bros. for nine years and I was getting tired of what I call permission-based music where I had to get permission to record any song I wrote. After just years of that it was starting to take the fun out of it and the kind of garage band vibe out of it. It just felt so parental. I made this record on my own, I opened my own record company. So every month is kind of exciting; I'm touring, I'm promoting something I worked really hard on myself, and I'm making things happen that I hadn't gotten to do before -- like go to Europe -- and get to be creative and not ask permission to do it.

Q: What's the difference between the record you self-released and the albums you released through Warner Bros.?

A: The songs that I put on the Warner Bros. label they were just really picked over. The record that I put out in 2003 was a record that I'd written mostly in high school because I just graduated when I got signed. A lot of those songs were there already. ... Since then, though, I've written hundreds and hundreds of songs, literally, for my follow-up record on Warner Bros. And they were so picked through and this was changed about them and that was changed and [I was told] 'What about writing a song more like this?' After a while, you're like, 'Man, I feel like I'm in some kind of gadget company or something.' I don't even know how to write songs, they just come, and after thinking about it for so long I was just starting to lose it. That's kind of the difference. I think there are a lot of good songs I put out on Warner Bros. but to get there there were a lot of songs that didn't make it and didn't get to any record at all and I was tired of that.

Q: Warner Bros. might say, "We had your best interest. We were trying to pick songs we thought would be hits."

A: That is their intention and sometimes that works. I think the hard thing is, you have to know there is no set formula. What happens is you can end up strangling something too. There are a lot of artists on my label and nothing would come out because three people at the label would be like, "This is a smash. We have to put this out now.' And one person would be like, 'I don't know. I don't hear it.' And the other three people would be like, 'Oh, yeah, maybe not.' It's a decision by a committee. And even though [the artists'] best interests are in mind, budgets are getting tighter and record companies need surer and surer bets. And in the music world, that's a really tough thing to be sure about. ... Boy bands, they are going back to that a lot with One Direction and the Wanted because you can be sure of those things. You can market things in a certain way, have a dance-inspired pop tune and be a lot more sure of that than rock and roll or singer-songwriter.

Contact Kirk Baird at kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.

Recommended for You

Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.

Related stories