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With her first three recordings, 2003’s The Love EP, 2005’s breezy twentythree and 2008’s Hello, Tristan Prettyman parlayed her smoky alto voice and laid-back surfer-girl-from-San-Diego charm into an eight-year career studded with highlights that included Hello’s No. 2 position on the iTunes Digital Albums chart and headlining tours across the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
But instead of capitalizing on the attention and immediately making plans to record a third album after wrapping two years of touring in support of Hello, Prettyman took an extended break during which she traveled the globe, had surgery to remove polyps on her vocal cords, got engaged to her long-term boyfriend, dealt with the pain of his ending the engagement, and eventually questioned whether she even wanted to be a musician at all.
Prettyman chronicles the experience on her new album, the raw, emotionally charged Cedar + Gold, which finds her sifting through the wreckage of her relationship and emerging stronger on the other side.
“I started writing songs from a place that was so deep and honest, where I didn’t hold anything back,” she says. “It felt so good. I was like, ‘This is what music is about — being able to release what is trapped inside of you.’ Whenever anything ached or caused me pain, I’d tell myself, ‘Save it for the record.’”