When you mix poster-boy good looks with a genuine talent and an engaging personality,
you've got the lethal combination that is Tyler Hilton.
Tyler's clearly in the music business for the right reasons. "Most entertainment careers aren't going to end in fame," he says. Tyler stresses that it's more important to focus on music in and of itself, rather than just trying to be famous. "If you've got that in your head, then play coffeehouses" and try your best -- exactly what Tyler did to start out.
Tyler was exposed to music from an early age. "My family was all musicians,"
he says. "We jam all the time." Another big influence was blues singer Robert
Johnson. "I love that period of the '30s and old blues music," says Tyler. "If
you like the songs, you'll love his life -- and vice versa."
Though he's been into music his whole life, Tyler's recently appeared all over the place, from magazines to concert arenas, thanks to the one-two punch of his role as Chris Keller on One Tree Hill and the release of his major-label debut CD, Tracks Of, which features the irresistible hits "The Letter Song," "When It Comes," and "Glad."
Fans of One Tree Hill who weren't familiar with Tyler's talent were treated to several renditions of his hits on the show as he lured fan favorite Haley (Bethany Joy Lenz) away from her husband Nathan for a tour with Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp, The Wreckers. The TV plotline mirrors real life, since Tyler and Bethany just completed the One Tree Hill Tour with The Wreckers.
Can OTH fans distinguish between marriage-wrecker Chris Keller and Tyler himself?
"Some of them say, 'Man, you've got to leave Haley alone,'" laughs Tyler, "but
most of them know me. They (OTH producers) really put me out there as a musician."
He's really appreciative of his constantly growing fan base. "Fans are golden when you start to get them," he says. "It's really important that the fans see me."
Interestingly, fans almost didn't see Tyler appear on the small screen
-- it wasn't part of his original plan. Once he found out about the character
of Chris on One Tree Hill, though, he realized what a great opportunity television
could be. "I like big screen," he says. "I didn't see myself doing
TV. It's time-consuming. But OTH I dig the show; I like the character. They've
been so cool, and they work around my schedule. I doubt I'll do any more TV
but you never know."
Fans can only hope he'll make more TV appearances -- but if they're looking for Tyler somewhere else, they can find him on the big screen in the upcoming movie Walk the Line. Tyler will play Elvis Presley in the flick, and it's perfect for him, since he cites Elvis as another big musical influence."The acting was pretty minimal," says Tyler, but it was great "for an Elvis fan to study him like crazy, practice dancing."
Until then, though, Tyler's time has been occupied with the One Tree Hill Tour. The tour has been "enormous fun," Tyler says. It's really busy, too. Besides a show most evenings, Tyler and Bethany would wake up on the bus after driving all night to their next tour destination. They'd usually get up at 6 AM for radio interviews or early morning performances. From about 3-5 PM, they'd have sound check at that night's concert venue, and after that they spent time backstage getting ready for the show. During downtime, they signed CDs. "It's been so much fun with Bethany," says Tyler. He and Bethany interact in such a friendly and familiar way, they almost seem like siblings.
But now that the tour's over, what's next for Tyler? "I think I'd always like to make the slow climb with my music," says Tyler. "I'd like to have a studio, be touring most of the time, and take a break." Always one to have goals in sight, Tyler nevertheless realizes that he's already achieved a great deal. "I'm already living my dream," he says. "I'm going to do this as long as I can. Whatever I do with my life, I'll have music to come home to every night. Even if it didn't work out, I'd still be doing it."
[back to the One Tree Hill Tour page]
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