Tris Day is an 18-year-old Indie-pop Alternative Rock musician, who has been making a stir for a number of years.
“My journey with music all started in a small town in Texas,” she says. And it was a journey that started with a precocious desire to play the piano.
“I remember being strongly influenced by my older brother who started to play piano before me,” says Tris. She was three at the time and copied everything he played by ear.
And that was before she fell in love with singing.
The singing aspect of Tris’ career began when her mother mistook her singing in the shower for songs on the radio.
But the carefree attitude of the young pianist was replaced with the anxiety of stage fright.
“My mom would put me in pageants to help me overcome my stage fright, but the first 3 or 4 times I got on stage I just kept freezing, crying, then running offstage,” says Tris.
“The turning point of this was when I ran offstage one time (the last time), but then after the pageant was over, I went to the judging table and personally sang for them. I wanted to prove to myself that if I sang for people they wouldn’t end up throwing tomatoes at me.”
Thankfully for us there was no tomato throwing, but despite all the practice and growing as a musician, Tris still had trials to overcome.
“It wasn’t until I was starting to be bullied more and more throughout middle school that I turned to music as even more of an outlet,” she says.
“I was depressed seventh and eighth grade because when I would go to school I would be called ugly or something else like that would happen. Home life had its bumps too.
“One day I was walking past the piano in eighth grade and something stopped me. I’m not sure what it was but I turned my head to the piano and sat down. I looked up how to write a song.
“The first song I wrote was called “Forsaken” and it was about letting go of how others have hurt me. It was in this moment I discovered how healing music can be. From that point on I always knew it would be a part of my life.”
Then came a move near the legendary music hot-bed of Atlanta.
“The summer before I started high school I moved to Georgia. The first thing in my mind was, ‘Oh, Atlanta’s there, there has to be opportunities for me to break into the music scene.’
“I wasn’t sure how I would do it, but I knew I would find a way. I deleted all my personal photos on my Instagram and rebranded it into a music page. I posted every single day, sometimes three times a day. I genuinely loved sharing my art with people, and I still do.
“One of my friend’s little sisters introduced me to her aunt which was used to be a talent scout. She had a lot of connections. One of which was to my now manager Aris who is the CEO of Xceltalent. I signed at age 14 and released my first single Bones that I wrote at 15. Bones now has 2 million plays on Spotify! I never imagined people would like that song so much but I’m really happy they do.
“After releasing that, I took a break from releasing anything for a while. I promised my parents I would finish high school and I went to one of the most rigorous high schools in the country. Just in Georgia, Mcintosh High School is ranked #20.
“I really struggled in school because I could not pay attention at all. I was always daydreaming and I literally could not help myself. I found out I have a pretty strong case of ADHD, but hey, I’m not surprised.
“That’s actually what I wrote Bones about, feeling inferior and not living up to expectations. The one thing the world could use most of all is a greater understanding for others.
“I love giving back to the community, for a college paper that I won an award for, I wrote about the stigma on homeless people. The idea was to show how people are afraid of these other humans when really we should have sympathy. I also perform for charity events in my city for the humane society because I really do have a soft spot for animals. I used to even have a pet duck that I loved dearly.
“Here is a link to my award winning essay! Misconceptions of a Human With No Home.”
ArtsCulture: Why art? Why do you do what you do?
Tris Day: I look at it as if I was walking down a hallway with endless amounts of doors or pathways I could take and I was “pulled into one” rather than I looked for this certain path and “found an unlocked door”.
It wasn’t a matter of how do I get into it, it was more like I’d play music for eight hours a day during middle school not even thinking seriously about pursuing this.
Of course almost every little girl has that phase of “I’m gonna be a singer or an actor!” but then we become integrated into the machine of society who says “alright that’s a happy thought, but think realistically now hun.” Especially in the little town in East Texas where I’m from, dreaming big seemed foolish to me at the time. So that’s where I was coming from at that age, then I had to move starting high school due to my dad’s job being transferred.
When I found out we’d be living near Atlanta is when the first spark of a realistic vision hit me. My brain said “hey, a big city equals big opportunities.” I starting posting covers everyday for the sole reason of loving music, though.
I never did it for fame, and honestly I don’t know how I would manage the pressure. I’m legitimately scared of that because being the center of attention makes my heart race in an uncomfortable way sometimes.
Anyways, people grabbed hold of my singing for whatever reason and an amazing management team contacted me saying “we believe in you” and that’s where it all started.
ArtsCulture: What is an artistic outlook on life?
Tris Day: How does an artist shape who they are? What makes a true artist stand out? This is my philosophy of how legends are made.
What does NOT make an artist who they look up to? Paying attention to this gap will help them find themselves at their core waiting to be discovered for who they truly are.
If I was asked as an artist to tell you who I am in a few sentences I would say I can describe myself to you, I know what I like – what I do, and I can list facts about myself all day long, but a true artist realizes that they will never fully know themselves completely.
The empty space that resides in this “gap” is where the door to creativity is unlocked. It’s right on the edge of uncertainty and curiosity. I suppose some may be afraid to venture into this unfamiliar territory, or may not be aware of it.
At first, the differences may seem disappointing to an artist between where they are and their idol. They may see it as if they aren’t fulfilling what is perceived by them to be success. This is not the truth. Being a unique gem of an artist is what the “occupation” (for lack of a better term) is all about. For example, the world does not need seven other Michael Jacksons or Beyoncés.
If an artist chases the coattails of someone else exploring their uncut neural pathways, then they’ll never open their own door or – in other words – their own mind. It’s hard to do this sometimes, I think being inspired by other artists is key, however, there is a fine line between “influence” and “duplication.”
It could be comparable to the difficulty of trying to imagine a new color. If you have never seen purple then how will you know that it exists before you blend red and blue?
Maybe someone else discovered blue and red, but who’s to say there’s nothing else waiting to be pulled from this discovery. Before realizing where the empty space lies they think they know exactly who or what they aspire to be, but as some wise person that I don’t know the name of said, “as soon as you claim to know something, you don’t.”
ArtsCulture: What food, drink, song inspires you?
Tris Day: Hurricane Drunk by Florence + The Machine inspires me because the basis of the song is that she is going to knowingly be swept away by a storm that is going on around her but there’s nothing she can do about it.
The chorus says “I’m going out, I’m gonna drink myself to death/ and in the crowd, I see you with someone else/ I brace myself, coz I know it’s going to hurt/ I’m going out.”
The storm is a metaphor for a broken heart. When my heart was broken I didn’t care about small things big things or medium things, nothing mattered, nothing could hurt me anymore but nothing made me happy either.
You can’t stop me from going out because nothing can hurt me anymore, I’m gonna do what I want because I don’t care anymore.
ArtsCulture: What do you dislike about the art world? What do you like?
Tris Day: Well first off, my favorite part is the eternal bliss of creating something that’s out there in the world and contributing society. I’m always going to have left a footprint on this earth. And it helps people.
My least favorite part has to be the anxiety. If I could just stop being as nervous about meeting people, or not being good enough, or messing up, then everything would be great. Not to say being nervous is never good, it’s just that sometimes it’s irrational and extremely overwhelming. I guess everyone’s got their own demons they battle with though and anxiety is mine.
ArtsCulture: What superpower would you have and why?
Tris Day: Rewinding time and being able to remember when I do. I would like this because I could learn lessons without permanent consequences, but that begs the question if I’d really be learning a lesson at all if there is no consequences. Kind of a paradox in a way.
I think that may be detrimental to the growth of a person… it would still be cool though.
ArtsCulture: Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
Tris Day: Generally, I’m inspired by artists with big sounds, powerful voices, and unique writing. More specifically, my first inspiration was Sara Bareilles.
I always thought her writing was genius and she made a sound that has a mixture of theater, the rhythm of rap, without taking out the baseline of pop. And she did this successfully without copying anyone. She taught me how to write lyrics to a song.
Of course I did research on structure but learning how to be a creative writer, well there’s no exact formula to it. For example, how she always thought about scenarios that affected her in metaphors was intriguing so every day I’d be mindful of how nature and the universe coincides with social reality.
My next inspiration shifted to Florence + The Machine. It was a combination of the tracks she’s on mixed with her voice being so captivating. The one word that engulfs her sound is “passion”.
As of now I’m really intrigued by Amy Winehouse. I think it’s because I can relate to her on the level of feeling everything so deeply that sometimes I wish I had an off button, and it’s undeniable that it comes across in her voice.
Photo Credits to Bubba Carr (insta – @bcarrworksphoto)