Findyourfav.com » Interview Archives » Making room for the positive: Tristan Prettyman on her new album ‘Cedar + Gold’
Making room for the positive: Tristan Prettyman on her new album ‘Cedar + Gold’

The journey to her upcoming album, Cedar + Gold, wasn’t an easy one for California singer-songwriter Tristan Prettyman, who found her life turned upside down after the end of an intensely meaningful relationship.  “I just had all these sorts of detours and roadblocks and changes happen to me and I found myself in a place where I was just sort of left on a street corner going, ‘What’s next?‘ Like, ‘what else is gonna happen?‘, you know?” she explains, “…All these things combined unlocked a place within me that I’d never really written from before.”

Every song on Cedar + Gold is like a window into the soul of an artist who is learning how to deal with the worst, while still hoping for the best. “I don’t take a story and spin it. I didn’t do that with this record, didn’t do that with these songs. I didn’t take something and make it mean something else. I literally took it and this is it. There’s no metaphor or something else I’m trying to get at. Just, ‘here it is.’ It was honest.”

It’s courageously honest, even. Songs like the “Never Say Never,” “Come Clean” and “I Was Gonna Marry You” lay everything out there through gripping melodies and poignant lyrics. “We have a joke, between my management and I, that whenever I’m in the studio and I have a meltdown, it usually means we’re on the right track.”

No doubt about it, Cedar + Gold is one beautiful record. And even though the journey to this record was a tough one, I have no doubt life is only going to get better from here for Tristan Prettyman.  I think you’re gonna love her!

Cedar + Gold will be available on October 2nd! You can read our full interview below!

FYF: Hey, Tristan! How’s the road treating you?
Tristan: The road is super fun! I love it. I like it. I like the job a whole lot, so it’s easy.

FYF: Well, Cedar and Gold is amazing, first of all. It seems so deeply, deeply personal – moreso than your past records. Was there a difference in the way you approached writing this album, or recording it in general?
Tristan: You know, I think I was in such a vulnerable state when these songs started to come to me. I just went with it, and that’s kind of where it was written from. I just kinda had all these sorts of detours and roadblocks and changes happen to me and I found myself in a place where I was just sort of left on a street corner going, ‘What’s next?‘ Like, ‘what else is gonna happen?‘ you know? And then it just, I don’t know, all these things combined unlocked a place within me that I’d never really written from before. I didn’t want to make a record so personal – that wasn’t my intention. But once it started to come, it felt really authentic and natural. I just kind of went with it.

FYF: What inspired you to title it Cedar + Gold?
Tristan: Well, I recently moved into a house that my dad bought in the ’70s. He kept it as a rental and actually, my mom was pregant with me there and I lived there until I was about four. I’ve always wanted to live there – my brother has lived there and a bunch of family and friends – and I finally just moved in there about a year ago. I had a dream one night that my grandma came to me while I was trying to figure out titles for the record and she said, “Cedar and Gold.” And I woke up out of this dream and was kind of like, “Whoa!” That was so crazy. A couple days before that, I was talking to a friend of mine, who was studying alchemy, and he was like, “you know, essentially, what you’ve been doing with this record, you’ve been kind of spinning all your misfortunes into gold and kind of making sense out of them, and being hopeful about all the things you’ve gone through.” So, after I had that dream, I walked out into my living room and I realized the ceiling and the walls in my house are made of cedar. So I often said the cedar kind of held this space for me to create the gold, which is the record and the song.

FYF: What’s your favorite memory from recording it?
Tristan: Oh, man. Probably when I have the meltdowns in the studio, ha! We have a joke, between my management and I, that whenever I’m in the studio and I have a meltdown, it usually means we’re on the right track. Yeah, so, whenever I have a meltdown it usually means I’m on my way to the right place. And also, I don’t know, for some reason I just love when you have a meltdown and you’re crying and you get to that kind of bottom of it, you know? And you can only go up from there. I feel like there’s something that happens in the moment of breakdown. You know, you just kind of surrender. You allow whatever is supposed to happen to happen.

FYF: Because you’ve had those meltdowns and it is so personal, does that make it harder for you to share it with people? Or is it more therapeutic?
Tristan: Um…I think when I’m writing, I don’t even think about it that way. I don’t worry about how I’m going to play it later. Those are things that I don’t think about that I probably should. I don’t know. It’s probably better that I don’t think about it, actually. But the whole process in itself is really therapeutic. This whole process of writing these songs and recording them and getting to share them live, has really been uplifting. Every day it gets easier, and I feel like every day I have an epiphany or learn something new or someone shares something with me about how they’re affected by the song, or what it brings up for them. It’s been this really cool experience where I get to share, but I’m also learning so much from all the listeners and all the feedback.

FYF: Now that you’ve been playing the new songs and getting them out to people slowly, are you looking at the content of your record in a new way, now that you’ve sort of ‘let it all out?’
Tristan: Yeah, I mean, I feel like when I wrote the songs I was in this space – I was uninhibited- I was really opinionated and I was very much coming at it from being a victim, almost. And being like, “why is this happening? It’s so unfair.” And like, “fuck you; no one’s calling you out on your shit, so I’m going to.” I was letting everything fly. The more I kind of stepped back from it, some days it’s like, ‘it’s such a blessing that I’m not with that person anymore; they were so not right for me.’ Other days, I miss him a lot, especially when I hear his song and I’m like, “f— you. You gave up. Why did we give up?” If you want my honest opinion, I guess! That I tend to get really frustrated about, because that song was written in the time when we were just starting to break up and to hear it now, to hear him talk about it in whatever way it means to him now, that can stir up a lot of emotion. And recently I realized in all the interviews, people want to ask you about it, like who did what and whose fault was it? And my answer is: no one really did anything. There’s no bad guy. There’s no good guy. No one did anything to anybody. No one meant to hurt the other person. It’s just like, this is kind of the situation that happened and I sort of look at it now like the universe need this to happen. This needed to happen to me. Because without it, I wouldn’t have gotten to a place where I could write about it and a space where I wasn’t even sure I wanted to play music. I see how very complicated and intertwined it is, you know? How it’s for a purpose. And how I’m a better woman for it. I’ll be better in my next relationship because of it.

FYF: Is it a weird feeling to know that the person you’ve written these songs about is going to hear them?
Tristan: No, I mean, he’s heard a couple of them and his response was, “wow, you were really honest.” Because, you know, I don’t take a story and spin it. I didn’t do that with this record, didn’t do that with these songs. I didn’t take something and make it mean something else. I literally took it and this is it. There’s no metaphor or something else I’m trying to get at. Just, ‘here it is.’ It was honest. When he hears them, I feel like he’ll be proud of me, that I was able to be that honest about it. And that’s where I chose to go with my record. I was like, ‘don’t want to try and spin this. I’m feeling really bummed out right now, so I’m just going to write about all of it.’ To get it out of me and make room for something else to come in. To make room for something positive in my life. And also to acknowledge it and be grateful that it happened. But I don’t know what he’ll think. He wrote to me and said he saw my album cover and wanted to tweet it and I was like, “Well…I don’t know if you want to tweet this album…” [laughs] I mean, go for it, if you want to!

FYF: If you could go back to just before you wrote Cedar + Gold, and give yourself one piece of advice, what would you tell yourself?
Tristan: Keep going. Go through all of it. Don’t try to deny any of it or sweep anything under the rug. It was really crappy for a long time. I’m just not used to being bummed out. When things happen that bum me out, I’m pretty quick to brush them off. But this was something so massive that I couldn’t just brush it off. So it was like this new thing that I had never experienced. I had never experienced heartbreak or something that rocked my world so much. So I would just tell myself, ‘you’re going to be fine.’ Which is what I want to tell everybody. Any girl or any guy who comes up to me after a show and says they’ve just broken up with someone or has lost a friend or family member, in the moment you can’t see the bigger picture of what’s happening. So I always like to tell those people, ‘you’re going to be ok. Keep going.’ It’s all happening for a reason. Listen and pay attention to everything that’s going on around you. Take it all in and use it to your benefit, and don’t be the victim.

FYF: Thanks for talking with us and for sharing Cedar and Gold – love it.
Tristan: You are so welcome! Thank you.

Stay tuned for a link to Cedar + Gold – but in the meantime, here’s more from Tristan Prettyman!:



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