“Whatever makes you happy, do that!” Tristan Prettyman says, as I sit down to talk with the rockstar, singer/songwriter and surfing mama. She has five albums, she surfed into her third trimester, she’s a super fitness freak who loves donuts on Sundays and dreams of opening an organic juice/smoothie bagel shop in Cardiff. Yes, this woman has a lot going on since her days as a Roxy model so it only seemed appropriate to dive in and ask what makes her tick now.
Did you always know you wanted to be a singer?
I actually didn’t. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a huge music fan, and we always had music playing in our house. My Dad listened to everything from Jackson Browne to Oingo Boingo, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and The Eagles. My Mom was an aerobics instructor so she always had the pop music jams going; Janet Jackson, Madonna, C&C Music Factory. Needless to say I grew up doing a lot of dancing, and lip syncing around the house. When I was 15 or so I started teaching myself how to play guitar and that’s when I started writing songs. But it was always just a hobby, until some friends heard me playing, and then the cat was sort of out of the bag. They all encouraged me to start doing shows around town. And thus, a music career was born.
Who inspired you on your path?
Ani Difranco was my number one. I was in that angsty teenager stage, when you are going through hormonal changes, trying to figure out where you fit in, everything is kind of awkward, you think you know everything. I remember putting that tape in, and it was a breath of fresh air. She was so real, so honest, such an incredible storyteller, and very stripped down.
Jack Johnson was also a huge inspiration early on. I remember first hearing him on the song “Rodeo Clowns” from G. Love & Special Sauce’s Philadelphonic album. That was right around the time Napster was getting huge, there were so many amazing live tracks and early demos of his that got traded online. I loved how simple and laid back he and his songs were. I’ve never been a super technical guitar player. I didn’t study music. I can’t read it. So it was really inspiring to know you could keep it simple, and still have a successful career.
Your lyrics are so meaningful~ it seems like you are sharing your inner feelings with us.
For sure. Everything I have ever written comes from personal experience, or something I have witnessed first hand. I don’t know any other way. Music for me has always been an outlet, a journal entry, a way to deal with my feelings and make sense of people, relationships and the world. It hasn’t been until recently, that I am more open to writing just to write, whether that’s with other artists, or for other artists. But, for the most part, when I am truly inspired to write, and I mean that burning feeling when you gotta get it out of your system, it’s from the heart, based on something personal, and that’s when you really genuinely connect with the listener.
How do you maintain your creative flow and balance as a singer, wife, mama, etc.?
I would say that is a constant work in progress. I have been a singer/songwriter for most of my life, a wife for only a year, and a mother for only three weeks. You always hear songwriters joke about what they will write about now that they are in a happy stable relationship, and it’s true, it is hard! When you are happy, there is not much to vent about. It’s harder to find that inspiration when you are used to drawing from a certain “well” for so long. But I like a good challenge! There is a song called Waves on Back To Home that I wrote for my husband. It’s about how I can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but how he is so patient with me. You find other things to write about, and realize just because you are happy that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to write good songs anymore. You just have to adjust, and I think its good to adjust. When you get comfortable for too long, things can get stale. I like to push myself, and do things that keep me on my toes. As far as being a mama, I am just taking it day by day. I wasn’t inspired to write or sing or play guitar my entire pregnancy. At first I was really hard on myself, but then I realized taking a break from all things music, was probably really needed and extremely beneficial. I had essentially been going nonstop for over ten years, with no real break. It felt really good to just focus on my body, mind and baby that I was housing for ten months. Now that Kylo is here, I am inspired to write and share, and that feels good, because it feels like its coming from a natural place, not forced.
Do you have an exercise routine, nutrition plan, or practice to communicate with your inner voice?
I am a fitness freak. I love working out, moving my body, and getting outside. Surfing is probably my number one favorite activity of all time, and after that yoga. I love a super sweaty heated flow, but I couldn’t do the heat when I was pregnant so I did a gentle warm vinyasa class. I also strength train with my trainer 1-2 times a week when I am home, and occasionally do pilates or barre classes to mix it up. My husband and I do lots of walks around town and on the beach. I was pretty much business as usual when I was pregnant. I did barre class up until five months, surfed up until seven months, did 1-2 gentle yoga flow classes up until 37 weeks, and worked with my trainer right up until the day before I went into labor. I had a super easy eight hour labor, all natural, no epidural or any medical interventions, which I am convinced it was because I stayed so active and kept my body super strong throughout my pregnancy. My diet is mostly plant based, with a little bit of fish here and there… but I eat pretty much only organic, fresh fruits, vegetables and super foods, and I don’t eat a lot of dairy, wheat or added sugar. I have a really hard time putting something into my body, that doesn’t serve a purpose, or isn’t beneficial. Although, I have an insatiable craving for donuts right now, I mostly reserve that for Sundays, when my husband and I can walk to the donut shop and then do a long walk. Plus donuts are like tacos, they make everything better. And I am breastfeeding, so I need the extra calories. As far as a practice to communicate with my inner voice, my husband and I recently started doing transcendental meditation. We’re on the go all day long, so this is nice to just take 20 minutes a day, twice a day to reset and recharge. But aside from that, I think surfing has always been like a form of mediation for me; it’s a good reset dipping yourself in the ocean.
Describe your relationship to your body and how has it shifted when you were pregnant?
I was probably my thinnest, strongest, cleanest and healthiest before I got pregnant. I felt like my body was running at a super efficient level. Because I was starting from a place that was so healthy and pure, it was really easy to transition into my pregnancy body. I really loved watching my body change. My boobs got bigger and my belly expanded. I didn’t really worry about how much weight I gained, because I trusted my body would gain however much it needed. But what I really loved was knowing that I had provided the healthiest, cozy little temple for my baby to grow in. I continued that mind set through my entire pregnancy. I wanted to give our baby the best start in life, and do whatever I could to make sure he would be healthy and happy, which is basically just making sure you keep yourself healthy and happy. This also made post pregnancy a dream. I think I gained around 40 lbs total, and I dropped 20 the first week after birth. I am still 10 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight, but I am pretty sure its all boobs and swelling. I think women should remember it took 10 months for your body to house and nurture this baby, it’s going to take probably 10 to get back to normal. Go easy on yourself, it’s not a race.