Tanner Hillis, an 18 year old singer/songwriter, comes from a town with many pine trees and no red lights. He began his music career after watching a guy from his school sit down with his guitar and sing while everyone ignored he was even there. Tanner watched from afar as he closed his eyes and seemed to detach himself from everything else. "I had to find out where he was at, and what he was looking at behind those closed eyes," said Tanner.
He was given his first guitar at age thirteen and immediately began to connect feelings with a few chords he'd bummed off of jams with local musicians. He realized really quick that writing music was his main passion in life. With influences such as Ryan Adams and Bob Dylan, Tanner tries to stay completely honest with his audience and mean everything he sings. Classifying him in a genre is almost impossible, for he wants to let you have control on how you accept him. Although, there is clearly some help from older country and rootsy-folk music to give him his sound.
In 2012, Tanner won a competition online, giving him the opportunity to open for country musician, Jake Owen in Chattanooga, TN. Tanner says, "I think this opportunity was God basically saying to me, 'this is what you can have, you're just gonna have to go out and work for it.'" And that is just what he is doing. Tanner has just started climbing this ladder, putting so much work and passion into what he loves.
"My dream is not to sell out stadiums," says Tanner, "I would rather play to fifteen people who listen and connect with my music."