Right at the beginning of the 2020 holiday season, I had a very interesting chat with Tristan Cole. The North Carolina artist rather started his career with pop music with an RnB touch, but is now aiming to rather move into country / country-pop. Furthermore, he is working as a model. His latest song is Sober Me, which he released on 16th November 2020. Enjoy the interview!
Flyctory.com Meets Tristan Cole
FLYC: Tell us a bit about where you are from and what your background is, please.
Tristan:Hi my name is Tristan Cole. I’m originally from North Carolina. I spent some time in the Pop/RnB realm but recently made a rebrand back to my roots in Country/Pop.
FLYC: You work in multiple professions. One is music, but you are also model. At least in Germany, these are two jobs, where parents tend to say “We support you on your way – but would it make sense to study something in parallel in case it does not work out?”. How was your family support to pursue these careers?
Tristan:I come from a pretty conservative family so I’m sure there are some things they wish I hadn’t done in my career pursuits, but thankfully my family has always been pretty supportive for the most part. I’m sure you’re wondering what I am referring to now haha. For example, I know my parents tried really hard to talk me out of getting my tattoos and they weren’t thrilled about my fitness modeling, but it’s my life and I live it for myself and not the approval of others. Overall, me and my family are very close and I’m grateful for them.
FLYC: I read that Michael Jackson was your inspiration to becoming a singer. Was there maybe a special song or album which especially influenced you?
Tristan:Growing up, I was a huge Michael Jackson fan. I mean, who isn’t!? I think his on stage charisma and his groovy tunes is what inspired me as a kid. His three songs that influenced me at that time in my life were Bad, Beat I, and Black or White. Now that I’ve grown up and found my place in music, Country/Pop is the path I feel called to pursue. Current artists in that genre that inspire me are people like Thomas Rhett, Kane Brown, Jimmie Allen, Sam Hunt, and Big & Rich. I love to strandle lines in music. I feel that’s the best way to appeal to more than one audience and a good way of inventing your own unique sound as an artist.
FLYC: You called yourself a “health nut” in an interview. How difficult is it for you to stay well balanced when travelling as an artist or model?
Tristan:My allergies actually force me to stay balanced and eat healthy because of the food restrictions it entails. You see, I’m lactose intolerant and gluten intolerant. So that means I can’t eat dairy or wheat products, which have high fat and sugar content in most cases. This special diet of mine forces me to eat clean and normally pretty raw meals.
FLYC: You worked with Transcontinental records, who signed the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, and Britney Spears in the past. What was it like to work with them? Does it feel like an honor or like a burden?
Tristan:My time associated with Transcontinental Records was a brief one. Lou Pearlman was both considering me as an additional member in the Boy band: Natural and also putting me in a boy band that they were forming and planning a European Tour for. My parents had heard, what was once considered rumors, about Lou Pearlman’s fascination and exploitation of young boys. Hearing these things caused them to choose not to let me work with Transcontinental Records anymore, and as a young teenager at the time, they called the shots. Although I was very sad by this, it was a blessing in disguise, because shortly after that Lou Pearlman got locked up for life and Transcontinental Records was dissolved.
FLYC: There are a lot of big names alongside your career path already – like songwriter Andrea Martin (who worked with Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey) or Bruno Mars’ bassist Jam Artis. Has there been someone who especially inspired you?
Tristan:I’m very grateful for the talented people I’ve been able to meet and work with in my past and the learning experiences each one of them taught me. I would say Andrea Martin really inspired me. She is an insane vocal talent, but an even more amazing songwriter. I had been in studios and recorded songs prior to working with her, but working with her really set the tone for how I approached songs and my work ethic in the studio. I remember spending hours and hours on just one line in a song, making sure the delivery and emotion was absolutely perfect.
FLYC: You started publishing music with your 2017 self-titled EP. Some of the tracks had a strong touch of 90’s pop to me. Apart from Michael Jackson, who are your biggest inspirations?
Tristan:That EP wasn’t my first release, but It’s the oldest release that is still available online to hear. I’ve experimented and rebranded myself several times through the years, until I found myself, which is why I am now pursuing Country/Pop music moving forward.
FLYC: What is your favorite track on Tristan Cole? Tell us a bit about the song, please!
Tristan:That’s a hard pick. I would say that I love all the songs because they all have special meaning behind them in their own ways. Lucky was probably my most favorite music video to shoot though. I decked it out with very talented dancers, a Charlotte Hornets cheerleader as my leading lady, a rapper, and a very unique story line I wrote about an old couple who was granted a wish to be able to go back to their younger selves for one night, which rekindled their romance.
FLYC: You seem to be releasing music very consistently nowadays. Last year, for example, you released a Stevie Wonder cover, Superstition, with Shaadie along with a cartoon inspired Electronic Dance Music (EDM) song. What made you want to do those projects?
Tristan:I love Motown music. What a great era. Stevie Wonder is iconic and at the time I was working with a few House and EDM producers. One day I was listening to Spotify on shuffle and Superstition came on and I had a thought of how cool it would be to put a modern twist on his timeless hit. And the cartoon animated music video for Out of Time was a special song bringing an awareness to bullying and the harmful effects of it, including suicide. It’s a common theme among younger generations and I felt it was something I wanted to address. Bullying and suicide are already heavy and very sad topics, so I felt an animated music video would still send a powerful message but also not make the subject matter too dark.
FLYC: One of your most successful songs so far seems to be the single you released entitled, With A Devil. What is this song about?
Tristan:That song was written and released during a very dark time in my life. As entertainers, most of our lives are broadcast for the world to see. It’s something that most people don’t have to ever deal with, so with that being said, I try to keep some parts of my life private. A lot of people don’t know this but back in 2016 I went through a rough divorce which really took a toll on me both emotionally and physically. So music was and still is a coping mechanism for me. It’s very therapeutic. So With A Devil was a song written about that situation. To date, it’s still my most streamed song across platforms with over 900k streams collectively.
FLYC: Your first single this year was Champion. For this song, you collaborated with Tia P. What is the song about?
Tristan:This song was co-written by myself, Brian Stallings, and Mod G. The intention behind the record was to give a voice to the silent, to acknowledge different kinds of “heroes”, and to inspire everyone by promoting the idea that we all have what it takes to become a champion in our own right.
FLYC: Last but not least, we should of course talk about your latest single, Sober Me. Could you tell us a bit how you wrote that song?
Tristan: Sober Me was co-written by myself, Elise, and Craig Wilson. I was bored one day during quarantine, and was scrolling through Instagram when i ran across Elise’s profile. I heard her sing, loved it, and reached out for us to colab. So we actually wrote a majority of the song on Facetime in different parts of the nation. Later Elise also brought Craig aboard the project as well as he helped to finish the remaining parts, and the rest is history. The song is about two people who are having issues in their relationship and both look to alcohol to give them relief and to cope with the drama at hand. As the story evolves they realize that they both really want to still work things out hence the line sober me still wants you. It was a fun project to put together, and I made some new friends along the way.
FLYC: When you think about Sober Me from songwriting to the release and feedback by fans and media, what is the most exciting moment for you during the lifecycle of a song?
Tristan:Well this is kind of a “to be continued” kind of answer because we are still in the middle of promoting the record, as it just barely released a week ago. But it’s been really fun to see so many people streaming, liking, and sharing the song! Without my fans, it all means nothing. Very grateful for each and every one of them!
FLYC: With the versatility you offer in the entertainment world: What kind of “success” would you prefer? A model picture of you on the title of a fancy fashion magazine or a song of you on the top of the Billboards?
Tristan:You know, I truly want it all. People who say you can’t have it all, really don’t know what they are talking about. Why can’t we have it all? Who puts those limitations? Certainly not I. Nothing comes easy, and you have to learn patience in this industry, but rewards always come to those who work hard and are consistent. I want to be a household name and in order to achieve that I have to be versatile and master my craft. One trick ponies only ever have one trick to offer. That can get boring at times.
FLYC: We are approaching the holiday season – and last year, you even released a Christmas track. How do you like to celebrate Christmas?
Tristan:Christmas time is always such a special time of the year. Other than my birthday, it’s my favorite holiday! I love skiing, snow ball fights, hot coco, Christmas caroling, seeing the nativity, and opening presents. It’s a time of the year where you can’t help but smile and spread the love with those around you.
FLYC: After all the pandemic limitations this year, there feels to be a slightly positive outlook for 2021. What are your plans and targets for the next year?
Tristan:I will be continuing to travel quite a bit as I have 2 tours in the pipeline that are being planned out by my management. So I am pumped for 2021!
FLYC: Last, but not least – As Flyctory.com is also a travel website: you are traveling a lot – but what is maybe your most favorite place out there?
Tristan:There are still so many wonderful places I have yet to visit, but out of the places I’ve been so far, I’d have to say my favorites were Paris and Hawaii. I love the romantic vibes that Paris gives and the tropical summer vibes Hawaii provides! Thanks so much for the opportunity to be interviewed on your blog! For more info people can check out www.tristancolemusic.com
All pictures: artist material. DeLorean and black shirt picture taken from Tristan Cole’s social media.