Tristan Prettyman taught herself to play guitar while attending Torrey Pines High School, where she graduated in 2000. Two years later, while attending MiraCosta College, she began performing around town and decided to pursue music full-time as a career.
An avid surfer, Prettyman became a rare breed among San Diego’s growing crop of acoustic crooners by being signed to a major label, Virgin. The Del Mar native won “Best Acoustic” at the 2004 San Diego Music Awards, and her song “My Love” was featured in an October 2004 episode of the WB’s shortlived television show Jack and Bobby. A former model for the surfer apparel company Roxy, she’s toured the country opening for Jason Mraz, G. Love, and John Mellencamp.
Virgin Records released her album twentythree in August 2005...she was 23 years old. The title of the album is also a reference to the “23 enigma” from Robert Anton Wilson’s, Cosmic Trigger (and the subject of a highly underrated Jim Carrey film, The Number 23). The album reached #24 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart.
She followed this with a ten-month national tour with Jason Mraz.
She describes her locally built guitar. “My Taylor 714ce. Bob Borbonus and the whole gang over at Taylor have been there for me since day one. I got the 714ce right after I turned 21. It’s been my go-to guitar for everything.”
Her favorite local hangout? “I love this sushi place in Solana Beach, Masuo’s. I must eat there three or four nights a week. The Uncle Sheppie roll is to die for. I spend a lot of time at the Belly Up, too. That place feels like home to me.”
Asked where she sees music going over the next 20 years, she says “Sometimes I wish I lived in the the ’60s when it was all about peace, love, and understanding. I just hope I can keep playing music and continue to tour. Touring is the way to go, or, you know, having a reality show or something. There’s so many ways to just get it quick. I don’t want to give in so easily. I’ve always tried to be patient and remember to follow my path. I want to be remembered for something more than just having a hit single or a pretty face.”
Her 2008 album Hello was recorded in London with producers Martin Terefe and Sascha Skarbek, known for producing KT Tunstall and James Blunt. Released in late April 2008, it entered Billboard’s Top 200 chart at #27. The album’s first single was “Madly Madly,” which she supported with a tour and an appearance on Last Call With Carson Daly in late March 2008.
Around Christmas 2010, she announced her engagement to famous neighbor Jason Mraz. However, early in 2011, Mraz said the marriage was off, announcing that until gay marriage was legal, he wouldn’t tie the knot with anyone.
“We had already broken up,” says Prettyman. “Our friends already knew that we both decided we weren’t ready. That gay marriage thing really wasn’t the reason.” Prettyman says she was surprised how Mraz chose to explain why the wedding was off.
Prettyman recorded her third CD for Virgin Records in August 2011 (release date not yet set) and was picked to appear in a four-episode TV commercial for KPRI, which started running in October that year.
“I think it’s great that KPRI went with TV commercials,” says Prettyman. “Everyone else seems so focused on Facebook, the internet, and Twitter. They went old-school and it totally worked.” Prettyman says she was asked to make the spots in part because of her friendship with KPRI co-owner and nighttime DJ Robert Hughes. “We both live in Del Mar,” says Prettyman, who has performed at several KPRI-sponsored events over the years.
In spring 2012, Prettyman performed for an event at Virgin Records owner Richard Branson’s private island in the British Virgin Islands. “He’s hosting other CEOs who will talk about ways to improve the environment,” she told the Reader before her departure. “I was the only one invited to play. It’s just me and my guitar.”
A string of U.S. shows with Joshua Radin started July 12, 2012, the same week Billboard Magazine ran a feature story about her cover of “Wonderwall” by Oasis.
Her next studio full-length Cedar + Gold (Capitol Records) dropped October 2, 2012, with an advance single “My Oh My” charting in the Top 20 hit at Triple A radio. For the album, Prettyman enlisted producer Greg Wells (Adele, Katy Perry) who plays piano, bass, drums, and some guitar on the album. “Greg forced me to step into really being a musician and owning what I do,” she says. “Once I did that, I got super creative and the songs started coming from a different place. It was a very intuitive process.”
Her studio full-length Cedar + Gold (Capitol Records) dropped October 2, 2012, with an advance single “My Oh My” made available digitally and charting in the Top 20 hit at Triple A radio.
In early 2013, a west coast tour with Paul Cannon took her to Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and L.A., wrapping at the Belly Up on February 2 and followed by a trio of dates in Japan (Feb. 8 - 10).