tristen
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tristen

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Solo Pop Folk

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May
30
tristen @ The 5 Spot

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Apr
15
tristen @ The Basement

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Apr
03
tristen @ The Basement

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Nashville, Tennessee, USA

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Tristen Gaspadarek first began recording music at age 14, and it was around the same time that she decided to drop her Polish last name professionally. “I was probably a little, at that point, afraid that people wouldn’t understand my last name,” she says now. “… When you’re 14, you’re like, ‘OK, I like Jewel and Madonna and I’m just going to cut my un-show-business-like last name out of the picture.” And in funny ways, the influence of both of those female artists are still felt in the now-26-year-old’s music. The lyrics on Tristen’s bright, mildly twangy, string-swept Deceivers Are Achievers EP (out now) were clearly written by a young woman who has never considered being a damsel in distress, who knows she would be doing both herself and everyone else a disservice if she wrote about little more than pining after lost love. Instead, lines like “Tame that nasty shrew ‘cause she knows what you’re up to / You gotta keep her thin and hungry, so she’s eager for your love” (on the deceptively-sweetly-titled”Eager For Your Love") are more her style. Tristen recently took a break from mixing her upcoming full-length, Charlatans At The Garden Gate (coming later this year), to talk to Paste about making music as a kid, as a college graduate and as a woman.

Paste: You were 14 when you started recording. I was wondering what it was like to start a career, pretty much, at that young age?
Tristen Gaspadarek: It’s kind of funny because I was just a singer as a kid and into acting and stuff. I started writing songs because I kind of could. My father is a musician so he always had a recording studio in the house. We never had a family room or a den—we had my dad’s recording studio, which was nothing fancy or anything, but it was just kind of a place to play music. So it kind of made it easy when I had songs—my dad would record them for me. I’d go play little coffeehouses. I mean, I started when I was 14 just playing shows, really. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t really have an idea of what kind of music I wanted to make. I was just writing songs like a 14-year-old would. They’re really funny. I don’t think I really started the career at that age—I kind of just started the motions of what it takes to be a performer and making records. I started learning how to make records at a really young age, just sort of something that my dad instilled in me, you know—all you need to do is just worry about making great records and putting on great shows, and that’s all. I’ve always liked to be on stage. It’s this weird thing. I just like people paying attention to me or something.

Paste: So when did it become something a little more serious? When did it really click for you?
Gaspadarek: I don’t know if there was a definitive moment when it clicked. I think when I graduated college and I stopped focusing on other things and I really decided that I wanted to be an artist and I figured it out what it was going to take as far as putting all of your energy into your work and into writing songs and developing a work ethic… I guess it’s just not having any other distractions. I was in college and I was really, really into studying things in college. I think once I got out of college and sort of said, “Hey, I’m going to try to do this music thing all the time.” And I moved to Nashville a year after that choice… I learned how to be completely self-sufficient, recording by myself, working by myself all the time.

Paste: What did you study in college? What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
Gaspadarek: I’d probably still be in college. I studied relational group and organizational theories of communication, so I would probably have gone into some sort of social science research degree. I probably would have stayed and done all that for a long time. I’m an academic person.

Paste: I’m wrapping up a sociology major now, so that’s really interesting to me.
Gaspadarek: You, then, know how much writing is involved with that sort of degree. My life was really wrapped up in learning about people and how people communicate. It’s heavily into philosophy. I was really, really fulfilled by doing that for a long time and got a lot of my writing out in writing papers and just generally discussing human nature. So that’s what’s kind of cool about this record that I’m putting out now. If you listen to my music at all, it takes all of that. I kind of touch topics—mostly love topics, topics of love. That’s what I was really interested in, in college, theories of love, how people in relationships communicate. I’m fascinated.

It’s finding patterns in life. If you’re writing a song and you’re trying to appeal to people and get people thinking about something, it’s really nice to have thought about how people act in relationships. What are the same issues that women of our generation are coming to [deal with now that] we have a sort of [an] institution of marriage that’s not really needed anymore because women are starting - Paste Magazine


...Pelham exited the stage just as quietly as he’d stepped onto it, and next we got our first exposure to the local singer-songwriter simply known as Tristen. Heaving an acoustic guitar slightly bigger than her torso and backed by a two-piece rhythm section, the petite songstress packed some mighty powerful pipes and spouted simple, catchy, straightforward folk-rock that won over the room within minutes... - The Nashville Scene


TRISTEN With a crystalline voice and a sincere, fresh-faced presence, local singer/songwriter Tristen has a sound that falls somewhere between anti-folk and simple pop. While this Chicago native once trafficked in carefully produced radio-ready tunes, her new sound is a bit more Kimya Dawson—if she happened to be a petite, grinning twentysomething with a stronger voice and a splash of the Nashville sound. Tristen and Theory 8’s pride-and-joy Caitlin Rose recently debuted their collaborative effort The Garland Sisters for the Mercy Lounge’s 8 off 8th series. The duo belted out a handful of stunning, heartfelt tunes in interwoven, luminous voices, and while Rose is also on this bill, there’s no word on whether the two will be performing together. Washington State Americana act The Lonely H and locals Atlas Songs also open up. 9 p.m. at The 5 Spot; Tristen also plays The Basement on Wednesday, 16th. —D. PATRICK RODGERS

- The Nashville Scene


The moment Tristen mounted the stage with her one-time-only backing band--none other than hardworking powerpopsters The Privates--we knew the first stop on our Saturday night escapade had not been in vain. Tristen's captivating but typically sparse folk tunes sounded surprisingly powerful thanks to an injection of brash, jangly pop know-how from The Privates. Fellow songstress Larissa Maestro doubled Tristen's vocals, making her striking melodies just audible enough against Rollum Haas' enormous drumming and Ryan Norris' perfectly saccharine key parts. Songs like "Doomsday" and "Eager for Your Love" were refreshingly epic (and totally natural) with the volume boost. - The Nashville Scene


IF you follow local rock and pop music, then by now you probably get that the likes of The Features and AutoVaughn and How I Became the Bomb are worth sticking an ear out for.

But the thrust of multi-date, multi-genre Nashville music fest Next Big Nashville is, ultimately, to show off what's next in local music.

So we've plucked a lucky seven names that might be a hair less familiar, but who offer sounds that place them squarely on our must-see list.

TRISTEN

8:45 tonight, 5 Spot (1006 Forrest Ave)

She'll earn plenty of comparisons to breakout pop voice Feist. Local folk-pop songstress Tristen works a similarly tender but focused vocal, as well as a brainy but hooky songwriting sense. There are certainly worse comparisons to evoke. And beyond any vocal similarity, the thing that really made Feist famous — an unassailable but unpredictable pop sense, and ability to co-mingle tenderness and toughness — could and should send Tristen's career arcing the same way. — NK - The Tennessean


May 29, 2008 ·

Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to get signed; the wretched refuse of lifeless music scenes across the country. Send these, the homeless notebook-carrying, starry-eyed minstrels to Nashville… we’ve got room for them all. Okay, that may have been a little dramatic, but it’s still not too far of a stretch to say that musicians are pouring into this town by the boatload. With that kind of volume, it’s easy to generalize, trivialize, and stereotype the lump sum of into a horde of quixotic wannabes with hopelessly romantic aspirations and ideas as to how the music business works. But just like anything else, you’ve got good ones, bad ones, and a whole lot of cliches in the middle that make those stereotypes hard to ignore. Occasionally, Nashville gets a migrant or two that do well at reminding us that some folks really do come here to make better music.

One such shining example is singer/songwriter Tristen who arrived recently by way of Chicago. The single-named songstress has been bandying a simple, straightforward pop influenced folk style around town for the past year now. Backed by a revolving door backing band, Tristen takes a classic approach to melody sounds neither modern nor retro, but rather takes on a timeless quality that seems it could have come about at any given year between now and 1972.

Growing up in Chicago on a steady diet of radio oldies, Tristen started writing pop songs and playing shows at the ripe age of 14. After making a few records, she landed a publishing deal in L.A. and getting a few of her tunes in placed in television and film. It’s an impressive start at such a young age, but shortly she hit what she describes as a creative “glass ceiling” and knew it was time to move on. She started traveling to Nashville to write with a friend and recorded another pop album. Says Tristen, “ I sort of fell in love with Nashville because it seemed to be a really creative environment… it was such a charming place to be. So I packed up and moved here.”

Since arriving in Music City, Tristen has long departed from her radio pop roots and done well at assembling a crew of capable musicians to accompany her new style. Work on her newest record is slated for this summer but Tristen says it feels like it’ll be her first. In the meantime, she’s been playing as often as possible around town and beginning to branch out into the regional south.

“I think Nashville has a strong character,” she explained when asked about her impression of Nashville since moving here. “It’s southern and stubborn. You can find it if you are looking in the right places. I’ve discovered and re-discovered some of my favorite country music since I’ve moved here.” - www.nashvilleedge.com


Discography

something good EP- 2000
among the crowd LP- 2003
the lightest kind LP- 2007
teardrops and lollipops- 2008
the garland sisters - 2009

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