Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Tristn, who discusses her origins in music, creative process and goals for her upcoming single, “Sky Wide Open” and more.
Review Fix: How’d you get involved in music?
Tristn: Since I was about 4 years old, I started to sing with my mom’s friends who were amazing cover bands from the Philippines, then every summer I would go spend 3 months with my Grandfather abroad who played Piano by ear. Then when I was about 7 years old, I started singing with my cousin at family parties. A couple years after that, I started to perform on stage at a few parties and events. When I turned 13 (my Emo era began, haha) I picked up my dad’s guitar and started learning on my own. He used to be an amazing guitar player in a folk rock band in Detroit, where I was born. The first song I learned on the guitar was “More than words” (It was very popular at the time for kids in Bangkok, we played a lot of cover songs) I began taking vocal lessons that same year, and the coach I had, trained me to sing big ballad songs, some country classics as well.
I started writing songs Freshman year college, right when I first moved to New York City. My roommate and I started to play open mic shows for fun. I didn’t pursue music as a career at the time, but the responses we received from our audience were wonderful, it could be because I sounded like a little kid, haha.
Finally a year and a half ago, I decided it was time to jump, fall and let my wings learn to fly. I started playing and writing music full-time. Three months after that, one of my songs became magnetic. That was when I met Steve, my current Producer who taught me many things I needed to know in music production. The next thing I know, we ended up with more than enough songs for a whole album. I decided to release a full LP instead of an EP because I wanted to get back on stage and have enough songs to play a full set for my audience.
Review Fix: Who influences your sound the most?
Tristn: Hmm, this is a tough one to answer. If I had to pick two out of about ten artists, I’d say Skylar Grey and Bjork.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Tristn: It’s different every time actually, haha. I guess the most difficult part of the process is being completely honest and embracing every emotion, especially the ones I don’t want to revisit. When I dive into those moments, I hear the sounds, I speak the words, see the colors of the instrumentation, feel the temperature of the story I wanted to tell. It usually happens all at once and very effortlessly once I am completely “in it”. Then I apply structure and let the diamond take shape.
I think Steve, my co-writer/producer can probably explain it better. I’m usually not aware of my own creative process, but the few people working with me have told others ”Let her do her thing, just be patient, don’t try to understand what’s going on in her head, but just wait and everything will make perfect sense.”
A great example would be when I first started working with Steve, he asked me for some references.
I sent him a few pictures from the film Avatar along with colorful images, haha.
Review Fix: What makes your new album special?
Tristn: I believe that a lot of us have a hard time coping with loss, facing painful disappointments, finding the courage to start over, hoping for something to tell us that things can get better, or maybe just something to remind us not to give up. I can’t say if the album itself is “special,” but I know it is able to reach out, motivate, and bring colors into the world that’s turning gray. When I get responses from my fans about how it’s helped them get through tough times, that’s when I realized this album has found a purpose it can fulfill.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard you before?
Tristn: Haha, oh man, this is what I get asked every day and I never know what to say. Everyone is different, they come from all over the world, I always have to consider how much music they’ve been exposed to, what they’ve heard, etc. But generally, I’d say it’s a cinematic rock sound with a relatable lyrical content.
Review Fix: Bottom line, why should someone buy it?
Tristn: They should buy it for a bunch of reasons, haha. But I think every artist would rather have their music heard and hope it’s entertaining. I’m glad we have several hubs and portals to find music and listen to anything we want without needing to buy every piece of music we like. On the other hand, I collect Vinyl Records because the story is complete with a visual a physical presentation of the album. In that case, I would say my album January gives a little light to the times we need it most. And that – I believe – is priceless.
Review Fix: What are your goals for the rest of the year?
Tristn: My music director for the band, Leo, and I will be amplifying our live shows. We’ll be touring the east coast but with a bunch of fun surprising new elements, so I don’t want to say much about it, haha. Steve and I have also started working on the second album. And the two other ginormous things are in the making. If I told you now, they wouldn’t be as spectacular. (I enjoy the mystery, it’s just fun, haha) But no doubt, it’s going to be a full year of awesome fun surprises!
Review Fix: What do you feel you have to do to make your dreams in music come true?
Tristn: It already came true, but I have new dreams every time one comes true. As for my new dream, I have to keep doing what I do with twice the effort and grow stronger so I’d never give up. I have a lot more to learn, and a whole lot more to say, so that is exactly what I will do more of.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Tristn: I’m taking little trips to the moon and back. I’m super excited about it. I can’t tell you everything (cause then it’s not fun) but what I can say is my music video for Sky Wide Open is the real big next.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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