Tyler Hilton exclusive interview

(Courtesy Tyler Hilton)

Tyler Hilton—no relation to Paris—is a well-known actor and musician who can make any girl swoon in a 50-mile radius.

Known by some as bad boy Chris Keller on “One Tree Hill,” this singer-songwriter has soulful pipes and guitar skills, much like those of John Mayer or Gavin DeGraw.

Hailing from Southern California, he is currently on a national tour and took time to visit with the CUI before he played the Walnut Room in Denver on Saturday.

CU Independent: How would you describe your new album, “The Storms We Share?”

Tyler Hilton: The new record is kind of more Americana, like a lot of the stuff I do, but it’s got really kind of a hopeful vibe. Also, I let myself more explore in other areas, you know, like I got a little more pop in some areas, a little more rock in some areas, and I kind of let myself get a little more country in some areas.

CUI: How would you compare it to your previous albums?

TH: Well, my last record I wrote when I was in high school. This new record I think sounds more complex musically and I think the songs are better, a little more classy. The records just sounds better overall, I think. I think that’s because I’ve been doing this for a living for a while.

CUI: Going on tour, you must meet a lot of people. What is your most memorable experience with a fan?

TH: Wow. You know, I’ve had some really great moments with fans. I think one of them was when I was pulled over at a gas station in the middle of the woods somewhere and these two kids in their 20s came up to me and said, “We play one of your tunes at home in our set with our band.” I thought that was so cool because I wasn’t even at a show, you know, we just saw them at a gas station. It was really exciting, it was really cool.

CUI: What can fans expect from this tour that they haven’t seen previously?

TH: Well, there’s gonna be a lot of new songs. I think it’s more upbeat and more of an exciting show. I play the electric guitar more, and the band is new; the band’s great.

CUI: Who are your musical influences?

TH: Elvis Presley has always been a big one for me. All the old musicians have inspired me a lot. And I think recently, my influences would be, like, I think Coldplay’s great, Kings of Leon are great, I love what John Mayer’s doing. Probably those guys.

CUI: Your character on “One Tree Hill,” Chris Keller, was quite the diva on tour. While on tour, do you have any pre-show habits or rituals?

TH: No, not really, I’m pretty mellow. Every night is kind of just totally different. Just as long as I feel good and I feel ready to play a show, then I’m all good.

CUI: Speaking of Chris Keller, OTH is now in its 8th season. Will we be seeing any more from Chris Keller?

TH: You know, I don’t know. People ask me that all the time and I can’t really say. Chris Keller has a funny way of coming in and out of situations. I have a feeling that guy will never die, but right now, I have no plans to go back.

CUI: Could you tell me about the charity you started, T.H. Books For Kids? What inspired this?

TH: I think what inspired it was my lack of knowing which charity I wanted to be a part of. I realized that education is one of the most important tools that you can give somebody. My mom’s side of the family are all educators and I realized that if I could just help promote childhood literacy I could give these people the tools that they need to out themselves in whatever area they’re in.

CUI: What is your guilty pleasure?

TH: You know, watching TV shows that are addictive, like “24” and “Lost.” I could definitely get lost in those.

CUI: If you weren’t a musician or actor, what would you be doing right now?

TH: I don’t know, I guess I would just shrivel up and die. I don’t know what I would do. I’d probably find some way to be creative, maybe be a writer or something.

CUI: What’s your advice for aspiring musicians and actors?

TH: Just to keep doing it. Do it as much as you can, do it always and just get better. I mean, it’s hard to deny talent. If you’re good, you’re good.

CUI: Most importantly, what are you being for Halloween?

TH: I don’t know yet, but I’m trying to get my guitar player to be Beavis and Butthead with me, but we’ll see.

Follow Tyler Hilton on Twitter or check out where he’s off to next on his website.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Leah Knauer at Leah.knauer@colorado.edu.

CU Independent

The CU Independent, or CUI for short, is the student news outlet for the University of Colorado at Boulder. We cover news, sports, politics, opinion, arts and entertainment and more. Our mission is to provide news and commentary that's for students and by students — about the things we care about.

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