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Heartbreak, life changes help singer grow

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It took four years of searching for Tristan Prettyman to find her strong place.

In that four years, the San Diego native traveled the world, had surgery to remove two polyps from her vocal cords and went through a public break up with Jason Mraz. Yet, the heartbreak led her to what would become her latest album, “Cedar + Gold.”

“I was feeling disenchanted with music and didn’t know where I was going with my career,” she says during a recent interview from her San Diego home. “I think that all of the setbacks and everything that happened really helped me have the time for writing. I was able to dig deep and completely write about what I was feeling. It was a blessing in disguise.”

Tristan Prettyman
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24
WHERE: Vanessie of Santa Fe, 427 W. Water, Santa Fe
HOW MUCH: $18 at www.ticketssantafe.org or 505-988-1234

“Cedar + Gold” marks the third album for Prettyman. She sees major growth as a musician from her debut album, “Twentythree,” which was released in 2005. With her debut, Prettyman was immediately compared to surfer musician Jack Johnson.

“I never saw myself as a serious songwriter when I first started. Everyone saw me as a California girl who surfed and made music and that’s the way I saw myself, as well,” she says. “I have to credit my producer with really getting me to settle down and pushing me to see that I am a serious songwriter.”

The first single off the album, “My Oh My,” is a staple on the radio and has been climbing the adult contemporary charts.

Prettyman wrote the single in 20 minutes while sitting on her couch.

“I liked the song because it was very sassy,” she explains. “It was completely different than anything else that was on the album. The label, my management and I thought it would be a great single to send out to radio. It has been, and it’s gotten a lot of attention for the harder sound.”

Prettyman says during the year she spent writing songs for the album, she was able to see the strength that she had. She knew people in her inner circle were going to know what her songs were about.

“I was apprehensive for about 5 percent when I was writing,” she says. “I thought about what people were going to think about the music. I knew it was personal and I felt like I had to just release it from me. It was a part of my life that has helped me grow into who I am right now. I have more confidence in what I’m doing and just enjoy being on stage and performing.”

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