When he was still a teenager, singer-songwriter Trevor Hall got one of the best birthday presents he's ever received.
"For my birthday, my father let me record an album at his friend's recording studio," says Hall in a phone interview from his Boulder home. Hall performs at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25, at Music Box Supper Club
. "My dad is a drummer and growing up in that environment was definitely like music was breathing. It was an incredible environment. There were instruments everywhere, and he had a massive record collection that I would always explore as a little boy. It was a really conducive environment for my musical interests. As time moved on, and I started to write my own songs, he was right there and knew what to do and where to go."
After moving from his native South Carolina to Southern California, he inked a deal with Geffen Records.
"My initial label experience wasn't the greatest," says Hall, who adds that he discovered yoga when he attended a boarding school just east of Los Angeles. "I signed a deal when I was a senior in high school, and I was thrown into the pool. I recorded two albums, but they didn't come out. Both of them got shelved. The company was too massive and too big. It wasn't the right fit, but I learned a lot, and I had to grow up quickly and make decisions and be a grown-up even though I was only 18. It made me a stronger person early on and got me ready for the music business."
After high-profile tours with artists such as Steel Pulse, the Wailers, Matisyahu, SOJA and Brett Dennen, Hall began to feel burnt out, so he took a hiatus from recording and touring in 2013.
"I needed to get myself inspired again and figure out what the next chapter is," he says. "I'm so glad I did. [The 2014 album] Chapter of the Forest
came out of that time. It's one of my favorite albums."
In 2015, Hall followed Chapter of the Forest
up with KALA
. The album opens with the somber, semi-acoustic tunes such as "To Zion" and "All in Due Time." The piano ballad "Forgive" and the shuffling "Uncle Jo" both show off Hall's husky voice and manage to have a quiet intensity to them.
"It was kind of like an extension of Chapter of the Forest
," Hall says of KALA
. "It was simplistic and very acoustic and just raw and simple. I was continuing that journey. The new album coming out this year, The Fruitful Darkness
, is different than that. It experiments with different sounds. That's the fun part of being an artist. You go with the flow and what inspires you, but they're all me. They come from the same place."
For the current tour, dubbed A Night in the Village, Hall will perform solo and then take questions from the audience.
"This tour is quite different," he says. "I play solo. I have a projector with me, and I'm using pictures and images from people and places that inspired the songs. I talk about my main inspiration behind the music and my life. It's really sweet. We're playing smaller venues. I love that. It's a sweet opportunity to understand each other a little more. I have a Q&A at the end, which is nice. With a band, it's a larger thing, and we're rocking and rolling. The environment isn't great for getting closer. It's another aspect. This is the first time we're doing a proper tour around it, which I'm excited about."
Even without a new album from Hall, most of the gigs on the Village tour have sold out, suggesting the degree to which Hall's music has had staying power.
Hall says he doesn't entirely know why his music appeals to listeners, but he's happy whether they find the spirituality element compelling or if they simply view his concerts as a chance to unwind.
"I want people to get what they want from it," he says. "If people want to just come and let their hair down, that's great. If they need a deep healing, I hope they get that. If they jump around and dance and get crazy, I want them to get that. That's the beautiful thing about music. I try to be as honest as I can and as sincere as I can. That's how it all works for me. I don't try to think about it too much."