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Talking with Tyler

Caitlin Ferraro | Monday, January 18, 2010

Saturday night at Legends singer Tyler Hilton rocked out to a big crowd of girls. Hilton, who has just finished writing and recording for his new album, played a mixture of old favorites and new songs.
In an interview prior to the show, Hilton talked about his new album. It has been six years since his last, and Hilton is grateful that fans stuck by him over the years. His first new single will be released in a few weeks on his Web site and hopefully it will hit the radio airwaves in April.
When asked to characterize his new album he described it as “rock/pop music.” However, it will be different than his 2004 work “The Tracks of Tyler Hilton” in that it will have more rock guitars, keyboards and overall a bigger sound.
“A lot of my [new] songs are songs I’ve been playing for two or three years but they haven’t been recorded.” Hilton said. “So many people can get the [acoustic] versions online and have that and I don’t want to give them the same version again clean. There’s got to be something cool to make that song even better.”
While Hilton has over 20 songs written and recorded, those that will make it to the album have yet to be chosen. However, his personal favorite is one entitled “Say it Like a Lie”.
Hilton, who is also an actor, is also known for his recurring role on the CW drama “One Tree Hill” as the arrogant musician Chris Keller. When asked about his experience on the show, Hilton described it as “killer.” Even though he was “the new kid in school,” he was welcomed with open arms by the then small tight-knit cast. This was the main reason he kept coming back to the show. Many of the cast members went on the road with Hilton over the years, and he still remains close with them.
What is the one possession Hilton must have on the road? A good book. Hilton loves to read, which is part of the reason for his charity, “T.H. Books for Kids.” He came up with the idea for the organization about four years ago when talking to his high school English teacher.
“I really like reading [and] I wish[ed] there was a charity that could empower people to help them with the first step they need to figure out problems on their own.” Hilton said. “If we could really help child literacy, or give kids books, I feel like books are such a tool into critical thinking and gives you ideas and expands your world.”
His teacher’s daughter now runs the organization, and Hilton gives all the credit to her and the board of directors.
Each year, he holds at least one charity concert, and the organization works to provide books where there is a great need. During Hurricane Katrina, they were able to completely replenish an elementary school library that was flooded. Hilton has already begun throwing ideas around with the board about Haiti, since he knows the need there will be significant after more immediate matters are dealt with.
With no truly new publicized songs in years, Hilton appreciates his fans’ dedication. He is amazed that they keep coming back to his website to watch his videos and read his blog.
“The reason it wasn’t a phase […] was because everyone loved it,” Hilton said.
He initially began with videos on the road and blogging for fun, but the fans responded so positively that he could not stop. Hilton has even had a cooking show on YouTube which he calls “Cooking with Tyler.” He exclusively revealed that he is bringing the show back and plans to start cooking fan recipes, and will hopefully put together a cookbook.
“I watch it and I can’t believe that people like this because I’m in my kitchen cooking, but somebody from my label said I should do that again and I’m like, really? Okay!” Hilton said of the show.
Hilton played about 15 songs on Saturday. The concertgoers really seemed to enjoy singing along to Hilton’s older songs, and were not too shy to shout out requests. But every now and then Hilton would interject with a new song. When the audience asked Hilton to sing “When the Stars Go Blue” a duet he performed on “One Tree Hill” with Bethany Joy Galeotti, he obliged — but only if someone would come up on stage and help him out. One willing fan did, and she did an excellent job.
The show was a total success, and the openers were also fantastic. Look for Hilton’s new album this year. In the meantime, check out his recent EP “Better on Beachwood” on iTunes now.