Tyler HiltonHi Tyler! How are you today?
I’m doing good. I’ve got a bit of a holiday bug and it’s raining in LA, but that’s exciting actually.

Oh yeah, we got a lot of that yesterday; rain then snow, then rain … all in the same day.
Whooo, that sounds dirty and messy.

I heard you were filming a video today?
Yeah, yeah we do Monday videos on our web thing and so we wouldn’t have to film ‘em on the holidays we kind of filmed three today. So, we can kind of have them to put up til the end of the year.

That’s exciting, I so watch them.
Oh you do?

I do watch them, I love the videos.
Oh that’s great. Yeah, we had a good time today. It’s kind of our first time filming all day, but it was really fun.

Yeah, one of my favorites is the elevator one.
Oh nice! [Laughs] Yeah that’s cool.

Well, you know in addition to FANVASION, we also do OneTreeHillWeb.net and we miss you on One Tree Hill. It has been way too long without ‘Chris Keller’, way too long without you. Everybody emails us constantly wondering if you’re going to come back, so have you talked with Mark [Schwahn] at all about it?
Aww, that’s nice to hear. You know, Mark and I always end of up talking about it, because he and I both love that character. I think that’s why the character lasted so long, because he and I just got such a kick out of it. It’s great because the one think Mark and I have in common is kind of like, you know, desire to be that … you know I don’t know. I think there’s that small part of every guy that wishes he’s as care free as ‘Chris Keller’. As much as girls say they don’t like the assholes, so many people come up to you on the road that are girls and ‘Oh we miss Chris Keller, we love to hate him’ this and that. I was like man; it’s so funny that like people really kind of are attracted to those kind of people.

So anyway, just plain and simple … whose that free and whose just that … I don’t know self indulgent is just like so fun. So we always talk about it, but it’s just a timing thing. I just got to … really want to work on the record. You know if I went to film an episode I’d have to fly out there and kind of take some time off the music and I just haven’t been ready to do that yet. I would love to as soon as we get a chance, I’d love to come back.

I’m sure there’s hope. Apparently, he’s in talks to do the spin-off for Melrose Place and The CW is so happy with the direction of One Tree Hill that they may be picking it up for two more seasons.
That’s just crazy!

Yeah, but you know I don’t just love to hate ‘Chris Keller’. I just love him, when he came between Nathan [James Lafferty] and Haley [Bethany Joy Galeotti], that you’re able to stir things up with the other actors. All the characters are different when ‘Chris Keller’ is around.
Yeah, you know I got to hand that to Mark, I mean he just…that’s just something he created. I always marveled every time I got the new scripts at how ‘Chris Keller’ would just come in at the most inopportune moments and it was just always so uncomfortable, but made the characters so fun to play. Everyone on set always had fun with those ‘Chris Keller’ episodes too because their characters were put in such uncomfortable situations. It’s a fun character to play, I really dug it.

You know I think you should have your own show. There should be like a ‘Chris Keller’ spin-off.
Pshh, now that I would be all about. I don’t know if people could take just an hour of ‘Chris Keller’ a week though.

I could! That is quality television. Just for fun, if you did have your own show … what would it be called?
[Laughs] Oh my God, it would be called … I don’t know. I’ve got to think about that.

Well you know, other than One Tree Hill we last saw you in Charlie Bartlett, please tell me you do have plans for another movie.
Oh that’s cool thanks, I don’t actually. I’ve been reading scripts or whatever and nothing has really worked out. But the main thing has just been the timing thing, I’m never sure when I’ll be available to make a movie or go back to One Tree Hill, until the record is done. The record has just kind of dragged on and on for so long and the more I’m finishing the more I keep seeing that needs to be finished. Until I see a definite end in sight it’s almost hard to consider any of those other things. But you know it’s gonna come to an end soon, it has to in the next couple of months I’ll be finished. I’m actually pretty excited to finish it up and see what else is out there, maybe other movies or going on the road for awhile or maybe more One Tree Hill.

I definitely want to talk about the album. But first, I’ve always wondered … was acting something you sort of fell into or did you seek out to pursue it?
I did, I really loved it. When I was a kid in high school I acted a bunch. I also put out my first record in high school and was playing a lot of shows then. It was weird because early on I had to kind of make a decision. I was in a pretty serious theatre program where commitment was absolutely essential, and so if I was going to be playing shows out of town I couldn’t always do the plays. So, early on I had to make some decisions and prioritize early on what was more important to me.

I always kind of followed my music but any time I could do the acting I would, and when I got signed to my agency as well I said ‘you know I do love acting, but you guys sign me on as an actor as well as a musician. Just know the music takes precedence, so don’t be bummed if I can’t do certain auditions or this and that.’ So, it’s been great, going in no one has pressured me to do any kind of acting, it’s always been just whenever I had time.

I always felt one day maybe it would be great to get into some kind of acting, who knows, but to have had that happen so early on was just pure luck that Walk the Line and One Tree Hill came along in the same year when they did. Then after that being able to do Charlie Bartlett was just kind of the icing.

Tyler HiltonLafferty & Hilton on ONE TREE HILL.

Well since you were more focused on music and that was your main focal point; were you a little nervous going into the audition for One Tree Hill?
Yeah, on one hand I’m really nervous going into those situations because I am inexperienced and not the confident pro always goes into these auditions. But on the flip side when they hear that I’m coming in they always kind of …. I always feel a little spoiled, in a good way. Because they always treat me like an idiot, but in a good way, you know they don’t expect much from me because I’m a musician. That’s always a good thing because it’s easy pretty easy to beat expectations on auditions, but you know I don’t always get the part.

With One Tree Hill they were looking for a musician and a couple of the guys they were looking at for ‘Chris Keller’ were musicians as well, so I think going into it they knew they weren’t going get an actor. They were going for somebody that had a vibe and a personality of his own they could just kind of work with. The same thing with Walk the Line, they weren’t looking for actors, they really wanted musicians who didn’t really act to play those parts like Jerry Lee and Elvis and everything. So, I got real lucky both times. Charlie Bartlett was the only real movie role where I was up against other actors for it, so it was a personal pride thing for me and I got it.

I guess the cards all fell into place then.
They did and the nice thing about doing a TV show or an episodic like that is … you know they wrote Chris for I think just two episodes or maybe it was three and that was it. Then once you write a character like ‘Chris Keller’ you never know what and actor is going to bring to the table or what my Chris Keller is going to be like. After he could kind of see what I was doing with it, then it’s great because he was able to write for me, write for the jokes I’m better at saying or the situations I’m better in. That’s the great thing about TV; once they get to know you they can kind of write for your strengths. I think the character got better and funnier as it went on because he was able to tweak as he went, which was real nice.

Okay, I want to talk about the new album – so excited. I think we’re all going through Tyler Hilton withdrawals. What can we expect from the new album this time around?
Well it’s a bit more … I would say rock n roll on the fast tunes and I think it’s just a little heavier all around, the slow songs are a bit heavier. You know when I like a band, I like when they don’t change too much; but they change enough where it doesn’t sound like the same album with just different songs. Without even meaning to just probably naturally growing as a writer and just being around a little longer, I feel like this album is like that. For the people who liked my music before, I don’t think that they’ll be surprised. But, I think there are better songs, I think this is the best record I’ve ever done. I’m really, really excited about it; but that’s why it’s taking so long to make.

Will “Ain’t A Thing’ be on there?
Yeah, absolutely.

Can you talk about any of the new songs, an official first single maybe?
You know I don’t know what the first single is going to be. I decided to record a few more songs and that’s what is taking a little bit longer, and so one of those might be the single. I think I would rather just wait and hear everything recorded and finished before I decide what the single is. Also, I’ve got a lot of friends in the radio department at Warner Bros. and it’s nice to kind of play the record for them and hear what they think, because to be honest with you I don’t know what a single is anymore or what it sounds like. It’s hard for me to keep up, so it’s nice to kind of go to be people who work in the day to day and say ‘What do you think? What sounds like it should be on the radio?’.

When you set out to do the album was intentional to take this much time, get it right, get your vision out?
Well, it didn’t take too long. I went into it thinking it was going to be real quick. Making an album can be real quick, and should be if all the parts are there. But, what happened was I recorded a record and scrapped it maybe three or four times, so that is what took so long. I would be almost done with the record or half way through and then just scrap everything and start all over again; with some new producer, new studio, new city. That’s what really took a long time…years; until found my footing back here in LA with John Malaysia. We made the whole album with John and it sounded great, that would have been the end of it except I’d written some new songs I really wanted to record. I asked the label if I could record them and they gave me the money to do it, and that’s what I’m in the process of doing now. So, it’s because I started over so many times that’s what took so long.

Normally an album if you get it right the first time can be really quick. The other thing is Warner was really great about not getting involved too much; they really said ‘You know we want you to be happy with this record. We want to see where you can take this record on your own without us trying to make you something.’ It was really up to me and that’s why I was so picky and scrapped the album so many times. If I was going to be this involved with it I really wanted to make sure that I was happy with it, because if it ended up not being good I would have no one to blame but myself.

Tyler HiltonReportedly, Will.i.Am of the Black Eyed Peas recently spoke out about BEP’s new album and how they hoped to release it this year because it will be the final year where physical sales are significant. You know, he says Christmas is the last Christmas that CDs will be in stores due to digital downloads. — What is your take on that? Do you agree?
It very well maybe, I think never before have musicians had to keep their finger on the pulse of technology more than they have to right now. You really have to be sensitive to what’s going on because it’s moving so fast. I mean I just went out on tour and I haven’t released a record in awhile and the last thing I had out was an independent film [Charlie Bartlett], so I haven’t been out there in the market, the pop world, in maybe two or three years.

This tour was one of the best selling tours that I’ve ever done, and I couldn’t figure it out. It’s because I’ve been putting these videos up on YouTube so steadily, and to think that YouTube has that much control over an audience that I have makes me think I could easily see much and videos being released for free just to get kids in to fill seats and concert venues. I don’t know, I mean it could go so many different ways. I honestly couldn’t tell you. I mean everyone thought laser disk were going to be killer and those didn’t end up going anywhere. But, as long as I stay up on it hopefully I can uh … at the end of the day good songs make you money. The reason I want to make money is so I can keep doing this as a living. So if I keep writing good songs and I keep working hard I can do this and not end up on some reality show or something. [Laughs]

You’re right about YouTube, and how easy it is to be able to get some much out there. Like your Kings of Leon cover, that was great, you should definitely record it. Make an MP3 download.
Aww, I’m glad you like it. That’s a great band, that’s a band that keeps growing. Every record that they do keeps getting better to me and I think they’re one of the best bands out there for sure. I really like them.

Another great artist out there, Taylor Swift, who you’re friends with. We know you two did a cover of “Missing You” live, and chance for another possible duet?
You know I don’t know; I haven’t even talked to her in awhile. We just lost touch a bit since I moved back to LA, but I wouldn’t rule it out at all. It’s kind of just like friends you lose touch with when you move towns; I’m sure we’ll see each other on the road and start jamming again. We did some writing when we use to hang, and I’m sure all that will kick back up when we see each other again. I do miss her, so it would be great to see her once we all get back together again. She’d be great to sing with, she’s a true talent and there would be no shame on my end if I’m standing next to her and singing with her.

You have a foundation called “T.H. Books for Kids“; can you tell me more about that?
Well, the foundation we put together, my friends and I, and the idea is to get books into the hands of children. Try to promote reading, education, and literary through ownership of books. Giving kids books to own themselves, and making them feel like they have books that are available to them. So, we restock libraries at hospitals and schools, that kind of thing.

Every event we do, we try to get enough money raised or enough books available to give the kids to take home as well so they can start their own libraries and collection. Just to get them started, because if they can continue reading books on their own and not just because they’re told to they’ll be able to find the kinds of books specific to them. I think what reading has helped me with and everyone I know who loves reading, has been problem solving and helps you relate to the situations you deal with in life. There’s a lot of problems that could be circumvented through I know the kind of ideas and concepts you read about in books and other peoples experiences. So, just trying to promote that at an early age, hopefully it will catch on with kids.

I grew up loving to read, and now I see so many kids especially on MySpace where you have to fill in your favorite books who write ‘I don’t read’ or leave it blank.
Yeah, you know there’s enough books out there for everyone. No matter how crazy or bored with the books you’ve read, there is something out there for you. It’s just about trying to get kids out there to seek it. It’s been really nice to see the effects of what we’ve done, it kind of gives me confidence that this might be something that works you know?

Its weird people I know are starting to read more now than they did in recent years.
Isn’t that amazing? You just can’t really grasp that you know? Will all the technology and stuff you would think that wouldn’t be the case … people are reading Twilight and Harry Potter.

Yes, Twilight! I read the books, but I didn’t think it would be that huge. Now with the movie it’s just blowing up all over the place.
I know, it’s unbelievable. It’s so weird, but great though.

Well, Tyler it’s been great talking with you today, but I know you have to get back to rehearsal.
You too, I’ll talk to you later!

 

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