IF YOU GO
* What: Pop singer/songwriter Tristen.
* When: 10 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2.
* Where: JJ’s Bohemia, 231 M.L. King Blvd.
* Admission: $7.
* Phone: 423-266-1400.
* Website: www.jjsbohemia.com.
There’s a fast-talking, bubbly, enthusiastic air to conversations with Tristen Gaspadarek that comes as no surprise, given the infectious, hook-filled pop music she’s become known for in and outside her adopted home of Nashville.
Gaspadarek grew up outside Chicago in the blue-collar community of Lansing, Ill., where she was raised on a diet almost exclusively comprising FM pop and Dolly Parton’s greatest hits.
Building upon natural inclination toward accessible, catchy music, Gaspadarek has become known for producing addictive melodies that captivate even as they conform to pop conventions learned at the figurative feet of artists such as The Beatles and Madonna.
“I’m very, very influenced by the history of pop music,” she admits in a recent phone interview. “Even though my melodies are original, I know that they’re very accessible, and that’s because I’m a child of the radio.
“I’m always writing the music I want to hear, [and] I like pop music and melodies that catch me.”
Gaspadarek moved to Music City after graduating college in 2007. Her original intent was to write music for other artists to record, but eventually she realized that she was as much a singer as a songwriter.
With the release in 2011 of her second album, “Charlatans at the Garden Gate” — a twangy homage to country music — the rest of the nation caught on to her abilities as a vocalist and producer.
Following up on a 2010 listing of Gaspadarek in its “Best of What’s Next” feature, Paste Magazine praised the album in a 2011 review, saying, “[It] reminds us just what it was we loved about her to begin with.” Rolling Stone gave the album 3½ (out of 5) stars and labeled her “an artist worth watching.”
Saturday, Nov. 2, Gaspadarek will return to JJ’s Bohemia, where she has performed numerous times since her move to Nashville. The show comes hot on the heels of the Oct. 15 release of her third studio album, “C A V E S.”
If “Charlatans” was a detour into country music, “C A V E S” is an exploration of her roots in the synthy ’80s and ’90s pop she was raised on. Some artists might worry that stylistically hopping between releases, especially after an album as successful as “Charlatans,” could chip away at their core fan base, but Gaspadarek says the only pressure she feels is to satisfy herself and her artistic peers.
Her fans, she says, aren’t the fair-weather sort.
“I think once you create a relationship with people and they like your songs and can relate to what you’re doing, then that support is there,” she says. “Most of my fans are pretty open-minded, awesome people.
“And for every fan you lose because you jumped out of genre, you open yourself up to fans from a different genre. I’m optimistic.”
Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfreepress .com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @Phillips CTFP.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...