Interview: Tyler Hilton Talks Music Collaborations And His Guilty Pleasures

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Tyler Hilton, 28, is known first and foremost for his music talent. His raspy tone and alternative lyrics in songs such as ‘Missing You,’ ‘You’ll Ask For Me’ and ‘Glad’ are just some of his fan favorites. Backstage before a Rock The Schools Concert at the Gramercy Theater on Nov. 18, I got the chance to chat with the musician before his upcoming album hits stores in January.

Sitting at the Buddah Lounge with him in New York was like drinking beers with an old friend. His humor and charm is what one would think One Tree Hill’s Chris Keller would be like, minus the whole jerk attitude and Haley James trouble maker side. So check out the interview here. Tyler cued us in on how he comes up with those repeat worthy songs and why you won’t catch him partying on Thursday nights.

You’ve worked with so many people musically. Who would you still love to collaborate with?

Jack White. I’d love to do like a folk record with Jack White and Gillian Welch or Ryan Lambert or something. I think that would be great. I think Jack White’s cool. I think he likes the same kind of music as I do. There’s something about him that’s real rootsy and raw and I dig it. I mean of course Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne and sh*t but I just don’t think they’d ever do it…And then I would love to play with John Mayer at some point too. I love that dude. Any time I get the chance to work with him is awesome.

Absolutely love your cover songs! Your ‘Use Somebody’ by Kings of Leon is one of my favorites. What’s one of yours?

It’s always the last song that I do that’s my favorite. The recent one that I posted ago a couple of weeks ago was this Wilco one, called ‘Reservations.’ I really like that one. It was just something I was playing around with in the studio and my girlfriend just happened to be there and she filmed it and the video looked cool so I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll post that online.’ I love that song. So that’s my favorite right now.

What’s your process like when you get the inspiration to write a song?

Sometimes it starts with a lyric or an idea. Sometimes it’s a musical thing that inspires a lyric. It kind of works both ways. Most of the time I start with music inside some kind of feeling and then the feeling—I just say gibberish things with that feeling in mind and then I just head it off. It’s kind of like free styling up to the point where it makes sense. I just try to keep focused on that feeling and listen to the music and then make records that way. I never play or write the lyrics. I don’t know what happens. They just come to me and I make sh*t up and then at some point it just makes sense and then I’m like amazed. [Laughs] You know? I just still can’t believe I write songs. I’m shocked that I do sometimes.

That’s hilarious. Have you ever performed with your One Tree Hill alum Bryan Greenberg before?

Yea, he went on tour with me a while ago and tonight we’re going to sing a song together. We did on tour all the time, an Oasis tune.

Which one?

‘Wonderwall’ we’re going to do. You know, it’s just fun. It’s an old tune but its just—everyone does it—but we, when we first got together we jammed and that was one that we connected with. And just for fun. And just for nostalgic reasons for Tree Hill endings, I wanted to sing with him again tonight.

Absolutely love that! And what are your three passions besides music? What are your Ologies?

I like cooking a lot. I really like food and drink a lot. I just love that.

Do you have a certain type?

No, I really just dig—I love cooking, I love wine. I love whiskeys and tequilas. I just love that stuff a lot. Not like drinking and partying. Like just tasting things. That’s the only art form that I’m passionate about. I’m not that great of other things. Another thing I just love to do is like literally just reading. I read a lot. I literally don’t know. I mean singing and playing guitar and everyone knows it. So I don’t know. It’s just like reading, cooking a lot and I’m going to be honest, watching TV. I watch a lot of TV.

Any guilty pleasures?

Thursday nights are my favorite night on TV ever. We’ve got Parks and Recreation. I like 30 Rock. I love New Girl. I love Allen Gregory, that cartoon. I love Family Guy of course. Thursday night is a big night for me.

Like ‘leave me alone on Thursday.’ [Laughs]

Yea! It was tough for me last night. I was out. [Laughs]

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