I first became a Tyler Hilton fan from the show One Tree Hill, which has turned me on to some of my favorite artists. The show which is now on it's ninth and final season has always played amazing music and showcased up-and-coming artists. Tyler plays a musician on the show named Chris Keller and gets to play a lot of his music. He was frequently on the show in the early seasons, but wasn't on much in recent years. I was so happy when they brought him back as a season regular for the final season! And to top it off, he had new music to play!!
Tyler's new album Forget the Storm comes out on April 3rd. Based off of the few tracks he's released, and what I heard at Saturday's concert, this album was worth the wait!! Tyler explained during the concert how the album was a long time coming, and it was difficult to put out the music that he wanted to while on a major label. So he started his own indie label called Hooptie Tune Records. That says a lot about an artist when they believe so much in making great music that they leave the security of a major label and risk it all to get their music heard.
When Saturday night rolled around, I arrived early to Lestat's and grabbed a spiced chai tea latte and peanut butter cookie (didn't have time to eat dinner, so that would have to do!) from their coffee shop. I'm definitely going back there to hang out! It's open 24 hours, and is a really cool spot! Attached to the coffee shop is the small concert venue. I staked out my place in line and quickly made friends with some nice girls in line behind me.
I was glad I got there early, because when the doors finally opened, I was one of the first 10 people inside. I grabbed a seat in the first row right in front of the stage. Then to my surprise, Tyler came and sat down right in front of me on the stage and started chatting to us all. I knew it was a meet and greet, but I kind of expected him to be behind a table signing autographs like most meet and greets are. But this was a very casual venue and a small crowd. It spoke volumes to the what a nice guy Tyler is that he would spend the time to talk to everyone there, take pictures, and sign autographs. I told him that I lived in North Carolina for awhile, and while in Wilmington I saw many of the spots where they film One Tree Hill. He asked if I saw Chris Keller's cd store (which I sadly didn't) and then joked that it's now some kind of gift shop. He was so easy going and fun to talk to. Here's my autograph and picture with him.
The meet and greet was only suppossed to last 30 minutes, but it lasted about an hour as Tyler made sure to talk to everyone. Then a young girl named Savannah Philyaw opened for him. Apparently, last year on St. Patrick's Day she played her first ever public performance opening for Tyler there at Lestat's. She was really sweet and reminded me a bit of Taylor Swift. She too is a young blonde, plays guitar and writes her own music. I would guess that she's still in high school. I hope she gets a big break like Taylor Swift did because she definitely had some great potential.
Tyler's guitars after he tuned them up in the sound check.
Tyler sings with so much emotion and heart in his voice. And his lyrics are incredible. I could listen to him all day :) And what makes me an even bigger fan is how humble and nice he is. He had us laughing between songs with stories. Before playing one of his more well known songs, he recounted getting excited at a karaoke bar that the song was in the book. He then sang the song at the bar -- and joked that because he's not that well known he can get away with singing his own songs at karaoke. He then said, "But J.Lo could never do that!"
One of my favorite songs that he played at the concert was on One Tree Hill's season premeire this year, called Loaded Gun. It's on his new album, and I'm in love with it! Here's Tyler belting it out -
And here's a short video of the song from a scene in OTH -
After the concert, Tyler didn't run backstage, but stayed to chat with everyone some more. We talked about the Carolinas and how we both missed it. I had such an incredible time and can't wait to go to another of his concerts. He's coming back at the end of May to play the House of Blues in San Diego. I will definitely be going! So on the off chance that Tyler actually reads this (you best believe I'm tweeting the link to him!), thank you so much for an amazing show and for taking the time to hang with us. I wish you all the best in your music career and with your new label. Thanks for making honest and GREAT music.