Travis Atreo: finding the melody

Editor’s note: With over 17 million views on YouTube, Travis Atreo has become one of the fastest growing artists in his genre. With his unique blend of pop with R&B influences, Atreo has caught the ear of Taylor Swift and other musical titans in the industry.

Travis will be appearing at the San Gabriel Lunar New Year Festival on February 10 in the Mission District. We asked him several questions to learn more about his music career and how he got into the industry.

ISG: How did you get into the music industry, and what attracted you to the field?

TA: I began my music career by forming a band called “New Heights.” Through that, I started to produce other artists as well as write for the band’s albums. I think for me, I’ve always expressed myself through music. Growing up, I was in the youth band at church so music has always resonated with me. It still does for me today.

ISG: How did your musical tastes shape your work as an artist? Were there any particular artists that inspired your music?

TA: I’ve always been a big fan of big choruses and melodies. Bruno Mars, Ryan Tedder (of One Republic) are a couple of songwriters I’ve always looked up to. I love songs that can stop you in your tracks, shift your emotions in ways you never thought. So in my music, I strive to create the same feeling those writers give me.

ISG: You were initially noted for covering some of the industry’s biggest hits. What has been the reception to that, and what inspired you to write your first EP?

TA: The reception has been way more than I could have ever imagined.

I think the biggest reception was getting a shout out from Taylor Swift. I remember dropping my phone when I saw that she had shared my cover of her hit song “Style.” As for my EP, the reception has been amazing. One of the songs on the project titled “Somehow” just surpassed one million streams on Spotify. It’s mind blowing and so humbling that people all over the world listen to the things I create in my studio.

ISG: What’s the process like for writing music? Does the melody come first, or do the lyrics?

TA: For me, it’s always melody. Some people have a gift for writing lyrics first and then lyrics, but for me I’ve always been melody driven. I think it’s because I’m a lover of great melodies. Lyrics are tough for me sometimes, which is why I love cowriting with others to give their own unique perspective to the subject at hand.

ISG: You’re also known for your shows – what’s the dynamic like for performing live versus playing in the studio?

TA: Playing live has been something that I feel like music lovers nowadays don’t get to experience as much anymore. I grew up listening to rock bands and going to rock shows. And that’s what I want to bring to my audience.

In the studio, I’m crafting an experience for the listener. I want them to experience different emotions from the start of the song to the end. The same is for my live shows. I want them to come to my live show, forget about the issues they might be going through and somehow find a deeper understanding of who they are through the experience I get to provide for them.

ISG: You have a large presence on YouTube – how do you utilize the platform to share your music and to interact with your fans?

TA: Back in 2014 I set out to record and release a cover song and video every week. Although I haven’t hit every week over the years, it’s been amazing to see the reception of them from my supporters. Connecting with my audience every week has probably been my favorite part about what I do.

ISG: What attracted you to the San Gabriel Lunar New Year Festival on February 10, and what can festivalgoers expect when you perform?

TA: Festivalgoers can expect an acoustic set where I sing some of my most popular covers as well as a couple of my songs from my latest EP. I’ve always heard of the San Gabriel Lunar New Year Festival. Friends like Clara have performed in the past and I’ve always loved the idea of what the festival does for Asian Americans. I’m a big advocate of pushing the Asian American narrative and into the mainstream. I’m so proud to be Filipino-American and be a part of something that celebrates that.

Travis will be performing at tomorrow’s Lunar New Year Festival in the San Gabriel Mission District. If you’re on Facebook, be sure to RSVP here.