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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

21-year-old artist Tristan might become your next favorite pop star, and she hasn’t even released an album yet. She has made moves on social media by teasing her music and covering artists like Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift — artists she says have impacted her greatly in her career up to this point. Tristan utilizes her real-life experiences to write gut-wrenching lyrics partnered with fun beats that resonate with listeners and bring to light exactly what it is like to be a teenage girl in her twenties. 

I was lucky enough to ask Tristan some questions about her time thus far in the music industry and get an inside scoop about her new projects and the ones to come.

Her Campus: Tell us a little about your new single, “Last Girl On Earth!” What was the process of writing it, how has it helped you heal, and how do you feel about everyone’s reactions to it?

Tristan: EEP! OK so – “Last Girl on Earth” is one of my favorite songs I’ve been sitting on. It’s super satirical and tongue-in-cheek, and I feel as though I haven’t gotten to showcase that side of my writing as much in my songs that are out. I love to make fun of myself and my standards in my music (honestly even more than poking fun at someone else). This one was different than my usual process because it originally was a completely different song that I never finished and felt stuck on. I had written these verses separately and never added a chorus, so I mashed the two songs together and then I finally felt like it was done! Everyone listening has been so sweet and supportive, and this is the first release where I truly feel like there was an audience ready to listen and welcome it with open arms, so that felt really nice.  

HC: How long does it typically take you to write a song, produce it, and truly fall in love with it? Do you know it’s a hit from the second your pen hits the page? Or is it a process from the first lyric through the production stage?

Tristan: It depends on the song! “Last Girl on Earth” was definitely different than my usual process, but in most cases I will sit down to write something on my guitar, usually stemming from something random I find in my notes! Lyrics are always first before melody for me – they just have always come to me more naturally than the tune. Then I typically start with a first verse and chorus and it lives in my graveyard of half songs I never finish for a very long time- until a session with a producer comes around and I need a song to bring in! Then I’ll go back to a half song to finish it! (or some just end up unfinished forever lol) Usually, I make a playlist of reference songs that are in the direction I am hearing, and a producer and I will bring it to life! I have this one unreleased song called, “let’s hope i move on,” and that was one that just poured out of me because I think I needed to say what I said- I wrote the whole song in like 20 minutes.

HC:  I noticed that the production of your music has changed a little bit from your EP, i hurt my own feelings, to your single “Keep That To Yourself.” Do you think you have found your “sound” with this new production or will that be something that grows and changes with you as you further your career?

Tristan: Love this question – I definitely agree and I think every artist kind of goes through that to some extent when they’re starting out! I love being able to go back through someone’s catalog and hear how it evolved. For me personally, I had only ever written songs acoustically in my bedroom my whole life, so when I went into the studio for the first time last year, I wasn’t entirely sure what was me yet! I listen to so many artists and so many genres of music, that I didn’t know where I wanted to lie on the spectrum. Because I consume so many different styles, I’m excited to see how all of it will keep influencing my sound in the future, but for now, with this new music, I finally feel 100% comfortable and myself. When I play my friends the new stuff, they all keep saying, “This is so you, this is so Tristan” and that’s the best compliment ever. So crazy that something so intangible and indescribable like the sound of a song can represent a personality so well- so cool to me, could talk about it forever.

HC: Speaking of “Keep That To Yourself” (my absolute favorite song of yours right now), how did you know that that song would be your first single after your EP release?

Tristan: Thank you I’m so glad you like it. The truth is, I didn’t at all! I had no idea what to do next after the first EP, I just knew I wanted to find my sound and finish a lot of the half songs I had been writing and posting on TikTok. I posted the first verse and chorus of Keep That on TikTok seconds after writing it, and I remember feeling like it was the first original I had posted to have a bigger response than just my friends and family in the comments. That definitely lit a fire under me and I sat down and tried to finish it a few times before I felt ready to bring it to David (my friend and producer) then together we went through a million versions until it sonically felt right and we were completely confident and proud of it. And then at that point, there was no way I couldn’t put it out!!!! I was so eager for people to hear something we worked so hard on! And that song is so special to me and ended up changing my life in a way I never expected.

HC:  On your TikTok, you’ve talked about how you would love to open up for Madison Beer on tour. Are there any other artists that you’d love to open for or collaborate with? How have those artists impacted you?

Tristan: Oh my goodness there are too many I love but yes, of course, Madison is so amazing, I love everything Sabrina Carpenter is doing, Maisie Peters, Ryan Beatty is someone I have loved forever, same with Conan Gray, Olivia O’Brien, Clairo, Billie and Finneas, ugh so many others too. I mainly have some favorite producers on the brain that I’d love to work with, and I never really do co-writes but there are writers I love, like Julia Michaels, that I think would be so fun to try writing with. I just really have been a huge music fan my whole life, and think everything I know and everything I do in my music is because I have subconsciously studied all of my favorites for so many years. Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande are who I say are sort of my main pillars/inspirations, but from a very young age, I have always sought out new up-and-coming artists and writers that I am inspired by, and have always been a superfan of like really random niche artists as well lol. Overall, when I’m asked this question though, I just think it’s an honor, that I’m allowed to even be taken seriously when I put a dream collab out there or my name in a sentence with an artist I love, like that to me is enough and so so crazy.

HC: How important is support in this industry? I know you recently decided to leave Berklee, are you still in touch with the friends and teachers you made there? Is there anything from Berklee that you miss?

Tristan: So so so extremely important. The music scene now with TikTok and social media is so interesting because I find there to be so many young artists that I’ve never even met in person that I’m friends with who support me online. You would think it would be more competitive, but everyone’s art is so individual and unique to them, that no one can take someone else’s spot. Supporting each other’s successes and wins is so fun and I love watching my friends do well. I think I was super lucky even last year, when I first started putting out music, it was just to my friends and family and people I knew IRL, and everyone was so kind and welcoming to the idea. You can think something you do is good and be proud of it, but I don’t think you can be 100% sure without people you know encouraging you, so that helped push me forward I think. And yeah I spent two years in college- the concept of art school in general is so interesting to me because you are paying money and in a classroom “learning” how to do something that is so opinion-based, and such a natural-born talent/passion, but I definitely grew a lot as a person in my time at school and am glad I had the experience. I wouldn’t have started putting out music at all if I hadn’t gone to music school, and I wouldn’t have had the content I was writing about, if I didn’t meet the people I met there.

HC: The way we met was by performing together in Central Florida! What has your musical theater background taught you about the music industry?

Tristan: Quite literally everything always circles back to my theater background, in a way I didn’t expect. I’ve been performing in front of people my whole life, but almost had to start over when I started playing shows as myself. I’m not playing a character and I’m singing about my own life experiences and most of them are super personal and vulnerable. Suddenly all of my experience and comfort in front of people went away and I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. I would say I also make my life very dramatized and make situations bigger than they are sometimes so I can write about it. There are lots of musicians/writers who have theater backgrounds and I think you can always tell- there’s a certain larger-than-life, dramatic, almost cinematic feeling to their music often. Also, everything I learned about professionalism, the importance of the way you treat people, and coming up with things quickly and improvising, are all from my performing experience for sure.

HC: Can you tell us about any upcoming projects? More music, live performances, merch?

Tristan:  Lots on the way – mainly more music. I was never planning on doing another project so soon, I just wanted to hone in on my sound, but I have lots of songs done that I feel confident in so… more music soon for sure! Also more shows in the next few months, I’ll explain more later!

Diana Victoria is from Orlando, Florida & a third year majoring in communication studies! Her areas of interest include (but are not limited to) musical theatre and collections of any kind: crystals, vinyls, playbills, you name it. Her favorite artists are Adele, Taylor Swift, & Lorde, and she is obsessed with the color purple. In the future, she hopes to see her name in lights on Broadway and be a best-selling author!