UB Interview: Mack Wilds Talks New Music, New York, 90210 & More

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Tristan Wilds aka Mack Wilds was born in Staten Island, New York. In 2005 at the age of 15, Tristan made his television debut as AJ in the mini-series Miracle Boys. After that, he took his talents to a different venue and tried his hand in theater. He worked with Phylicia Rashad and the Roundabout Theater Company in the workshops Wool and Stockholm Brooklyn as Bryce for the Cherry Lane Theater.

In 2006, Tristan was cast as Michael Lee in HBO’s critically acclaimed series The Wire. That same year he also made his big screen debut starring opposite Ryan Gosling in the Indy film Half Nelson which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Since making his TV and screen debuts, Tristan has been a very busy young man. In 2007 he was cast opposite Roger Guenveur Smith playing the role of Adrian in the film Indelible. On his next project, Tristan was heard but not seen when he became the voice of the main character Black for the animated series Blokhedz based on the independent graphic novel by Mark and Mike Davis. Then he was back on the set of The Wire filming its fifth and final season. Not letting any grass grow under his feet, Tristan was off once again and landed on the set of The Secret Life of Bees, the screen adaptation of the novel written by Sue Monk Kidd. He played the role of Zachary Taylor starring opposite Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah and Alicia Keys.

In 2008 Tristan was off to an old but new zip code when he auditioned and landed the role of Dixon Wilson on the contemporary spin-off teen drama 90210. After wrapping up the first season, Tristan donned a passport and flew off to foreign lands to play the role of Ray Gunn Gannon in the George Lucas film Red Tails.

Mack has already stepped into the world of music videos appearing in Ghetto Mindstate by rap artist Li’l Flip featuring Lyfe Jennings. He was introduced to the world as Jay Z’s nephew in the music video Roc Boys. And he went back to school with Alicia Keys in her video for Teenage Love Affair. Tristan was also one of the fresh new faces in Rocawear’s 2008 “I Will Not Lose” campaign as well as a Rocawear model.

Not to be limited to other artists music videos, Tristan is also a talented singer and songwriter who is currently working on his music. He recently released “Own It” and is finishing his debut album via ReMiFa Music/Louder Than Life/Sony Music.

Mack Wilds recently spoke with Aries from UrbanBridgez.com about his new single “Own It,” his upcoming debut album “New York: A Love Story,” how he got started in the business, the cancellation of 90210, his influences and much more.

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UrbanBridgez.com: What I personally love about Own it, is it sounds like a real R&B record that’s current with a throwback appeal if that makes sense. Most R&B these days is pop, what made you decide to drop that record first?
Mack Wilds: I know exactly what you mean. I think it was the surprise of it all. Out of all of the songs that we have – and believe me we have a lot. The album sounds crazy! But out of all of the songs we have, that’s the one we were like okay we want to put this out. No matter what we put out, it was going to surprise people. But we decided to put this out and surprise people to let them know that I can really, really sing. It’s the whole mentality, like if they like this..they’re going to love everything else that we have.

UrbanBridgez.com: When will a video be released?
Mack Wilds: Within the next few weeks!

UrbanBridgez.com: You have a list of incredible producers and artists on your project, tell us about how they came about?
Mack Wilds: I think honestly we were striving to make the essential New York album. Just something that felt so New York. Because I honestly feel like we haven’t had that in awhile. It seems like a lot of times the New York landscape in music isn’t shown as much, you don’t hear it, you don’t feel it. So I think that was the main thing and it was like who better to go to than the people who made the sound and created it. That’s basically where they all came from.

UrbanBridgez.com: You just touched on this, but can you elaborate more on the type of album you set out to record when you started recording “New York: A Love Story?”
Mack Wilds: When I first decided to do it I first wanted to do something that was close, and near and dear to my heart. The thing me and Salaam (Remi) had in common..I mean we have a whole lot in common but the main thing that always came up in conversation was New York City. And how much we missed it and how people didn’t really understand that we were from there. So it started to slowly turn into our love for New York. It’s just being portrayed through the music.

UrbanBridgez.com: You’re such an accomplished actor already, do you have any worries about being taking serious as an artist which is hard sometimes for people who become successful from acting first?
Mack Wilds: I expect people to be apprehensive about listening to it. But the music speaks for itself! I feel if you do decide to give it a chance and listen to it or your friends are playing it. And you ask who is that and they say it’s that kid from The Wire or 90210 and they actually give it a chance..they’re going to love it. So you really just have to make your work speak for itself.

UrbanBridgez.com: What was the best part for you about doing 90120 and were you surprised at the cancellation?
Mack Wilds: I defiantly was! I think it was the comradery we all have. It was definitely like a family, it was like being in school and we were all friends. It wasn’t fake, it was all genuine. We all hung out, like really those are all of my friends still till this day. I love them.

UrbanBridgez.com: How did you first get your start in the business?
Mack Wilds: Honestly I fell into it and it was acting. I fell into acting first and it was mainly because..I was in about 8th grade and I wanted to start to make some extra money. My friends were going out on auditions all of the time and I was like let me try it and see what comes from it. One commercial led to another, which led to The Wire and here we are today.

UrbanBridgez.com: Who are some of your influences in music, TV and film?
Mack Wilds: In music man, it’s crazy. It goes from like Jay-Z to like David Bowie. From Kanye to Billy Joel. To Stevie Wonder to Phil Collins. Pharrell and N.E.R.D. to Daft Punk and QUEEN. It’s just vast, I listen to damn near everything. TV and Film, Jeffery Write, Robert Downey Jr, Denzel of course, Will Smith, Jack Nicholson, Christian Bell, Don Cheadle who is just amazing! Larry Fishburne, the list just goes on and on.

UrbanBridgez.com: What are your goals in the next 5 years?
Mack Wilds: Put out a couple more albums and put out some more movies. Maybe do some really strong TV. Hopefully have some awards, I’ll be like 29 by then. I hope to have a couple business’s set up, etc. etc. etc. Just be in a good place in life and just not in life but in the world.

UrbanBridgez.com: Anything else you’re working on you want to share with your fans?
Mack Wilds: I think right now is the music. I’m one of those people who has to focus on one thing at a time. I’m not OCD about anything unless it’s about work. So when it comes to work I have to focus in on it because I want to make sure everything sounds the right way and it’s tweaked a certain way. I demand nothing but the best out of myself, so right now the main thing is just music.

UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for the fans before we wrap?
Mack Wilds: I can’t wait till they hear it! I really can’t wait till they heard it and feel it!

6 Comments
  1. Dixon I mean Tristan song on the show before. It seemed like he was really into music and not so much acting.

  2. It’s not that he wasn’t into acting. It’s that 90210 wasn’t into him. I can’t wait for his album!

  3. I just want to add my post so that yrs. down the line I can prove I supported the homie before he made it big in music.

  4. Mack wild acting skills, added to the show. The producers and writers don’t know what to do with 90210. Every time I look at the show it was one short run. Instead of starting over the writers should of came back with his part other folks parts. I see 90210 doesn’t come on anymore because the people couldn’t keep people interest who were behind the show. He doing his music. He cohost 106& Park.

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