Describing unexpected obstacles she dodged in recent years, surfer-singer Tristan Prettyman calls them “a series of diversions that happened out of thin air.” Between 2008’s album “Hello…x” and the new CD “Cedar + Gold” (with soulful singles “My Oh My” and “I Was Gonna Marry You”), the performer, who appears in The City next week, went through what seemed like a minefield. She got engaged to longtime beau Jason Mraz, traveled the world instead of penning a follow-up to “Hello…x,” then wrote the follow-up, but scrapped it after she and Mraz broke up. She had surgery to remove vocal cord polyps and moved to the beachfront bungalow where she was born, where the heartbreak-themed “Cedar + Gold” songs poured out.
So you flew to Bali, Australia and Hawaii, surfing as you went. Why?
Basically because I got really burnt out after the “Hello” record. I was forcing myself to tour, and I really didn’t want to be playing shows. So I didn’t want to live a lie, because fans can read you in a heartbeat.
Then you finished an entire album, but you weren’t feeling it.
I was feeling bad that I was traveling and having so much fun, so I started writing again. And I had a batch of songs that I was going to release, but they weren’t very good. Then I found out I had to have surgery, and that was another diversion from the universe that told me, “You’re not putting this record out because you’re not into it.”
What was your breakthrough epiphany?
There were two. I wrote the song “Say Anything” the morning before I got my vocal surgery in L.A., thinking, “What if I lose my voice forever? What would I want to say?” And I just had a feeling that the situation with Jason wasn’t going to work out, so I wanted him to know that throughout everything, at least from my end, there was love. The other epiphany was when I wrote “I Was Gonna Marry You.” I thought, “This is the level of honesty I need, I can’t use analogies or candy-coat what I’m going through.”
Do you wonder if your ex has heard “Cedar + Gold”?
I do wonder. He told me he would tweet it when it came out and then I never heard from him after that. But he heard “Marry You” when I wrote it and said, “Whoa — you’re really laying it all out there, aren’t you?” But I’m still writing, and it’s awesome.