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Tristan Prettyman is a singer/songwriter born on the 23rd of May 1982 in Del Mar, California, USA. She is best known for the honest, confessional folk-rock of the three studio albums she’s made since her debut in 2002.
Every musician has a story about the things they did before they were famous. Rod Stewart was a gravedigger, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs was a puppeteer and Tom Waits was a coast guard, but Prettyman might have them coolest one of them all. You see Prettyman’s first passion was surfing, since her home town of Del Mar is right on the Californian coast.
She was something of a prodigy, so by the time she was in middle school she had earned fifth place in the National Scholastic Surfing Association state championship. However, when she was 15 she was given an Ani DiFranco tape by a friend of her brother’s and since then she wanted to do nothing else.
Surfing’s loss is very much music’s gain however. By the time she was 20 she’s self-released her demos E.P and was playing in coffee houses, clubs and bars throughout California’s San Diego county, and it was while playing those shows that got the attention of fellow San Diegan and subsequent boyfriend Jason Mraz, who invited on her first national tour before she’d even released an album, which in turn attracted the attention of Virgin Records, who signed her soon afterwards.
Her first album came the year after, in 2005. At 23 years of age, she released the album “Twentythree”. I’m sure you can see what she did there. Dorky title aside the album was warmly received, charting on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart and ensuring her another album release that came three years later after ending it with Mraz. “Hello…x” was released in 2008 and was another great leap forward, charting at 27 on the Billboard 200.
However, Prettyman toured herself into the ground in support of the album and spent the next four years away from music to recharge her batteries. After a whirlwind time of it, including travels to Bali, New York, Australia and Costa Rica, being diagnosed with vocal Polyps, reuniting with Mraz, getting engaged to him and then splitting up again. Needless to say, the resulting record, “Cedar + Gold”, was a heavy one to say the least.
It was a record Prettyman needed to make, however, and it stands as her best received album critically with its themes simultaneously personal and highly relatable. She’s reached the top of her game, and since there’s no sign she’s coming down yet, this is an artist to see as soon as possible.