Pretty tough

Tristan Prettyman brings her San Diego-bred charm to Mojo’s this Saturday. 

Spoiler alert: You’re about to fall in love with Tristan Prettyman. The singer/songwriter/self-proclaimed taco-lover oozes inspiration. She says everything she's gone through has shaped her into a walking source of hope. 

Prettyman never aspired to be a musician. She says music was originally more of a hobby.

“I taught myself guitar,” she says. “When my family started figuring out I was writing songs and playing music, they started encouraging me to give it a go and play shows and do battle of the bands.”

She says her brother gave her an Ani DiFranco tape was when she was 13. The artist’s honesty became one of Prettyman’s biggest musical inspirations. 

“You hear people say, ‘You put into words what I can’t express myself,’” she says. “For me, my goal is to write songs from the heart that are authentic, honest, and just never forcing myself to write songs and just be genuine.”

She says Jack Thompson is also one of her biggest influences because he taught her a “less is more” approach to music.  

Prettyman took four years off before releasing her third album Cedar + Gold last October because she didn’t feel inspired. She chose instead to travel to Bali, Australia and Europe. She had vocal chord surgery. She got engaged and then the engagement was broken off.

“I got to this place after the second record, and I was so disconnected from my family and my friends. I felt like a boat out at sea without an anchor,” she says. “It’s almost like being in a relationship, and you lose yourself in it because you’re so wrapped up in the other person.”

Prettyman says that all she went through allowed her to feel and to be connected to the music again.

 “I think it’s important to live and to take time to experience things and not trying to jump ahead and worrying about the future or worrying about the past but to just be in the moment,” she says.

The result was an entirely different attitude while putting together _Cedar + Gold,_her latest release.

“It was never until this last record and working with Greg Wells (a producer who's worked with Adele and Katy Perry) that I feel like I really stepped into being an artist and actually believing in myself,” she says. “It took 10 years to convince myself that I am good enough and I’m good at what I do and I do write good songs and my voice is good enough. I’m still critical, but we are the most critical ones on ourselves.”

The result is an emotionally raw and honest album that Prettyman says she hopes will connect with people. She’s learned to believe in herself and to take life as it comes.

“I’m such a firm believer that you’ve got to follow your heart," she says. "And when you’re getting detoured, it’s for a good reason."

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