“I want to be a singer and entertainer, like my dad is. I love to get on stage and sing.”
Like many children, Tyler Reese Tritt wants to follow her father’s footsteps. Those steps will be leading her on to a stage, something she has been looking forward to most of her life.
“I love to get on stage and sing,” Tyler said. “I sing all the time. My brothers get annoyed with it, I’m sure.”
Tyler is the daughter of country singer, Travis Tritt, and his wife, Theresa Nelson Tritt, who grew up in Leesburg.
The 17-year-old high school senior has been working toward her goal to be a performer for quite a while, but she has other interests too. She’s as comfortable in cowboy boots and jeans as she is in sequins and dancing shoes.
“I’m very well rounded. I dance, sing, act, and model. I recently got into pageants, but I’m also a tomboy,” she adds with a laugh. “I love four-wheel riding and hog hunting, any kind of hunting, really. My dad taught me how to use a gun. He taught me a lot of things, like how to change the tire in my car and how to saddle my horse.”
Tyler has close relationships with both parents, but Father’s Day 2013 holds special meaning for her. That day, Travis released the song, “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough,” which was a duet with her. For Tyler, the experience is unparalleled.
The family had been to Florida for a wedding, and when that song came up during the drive, Tyler asked to hear it repeatedly and began singing along with Patty Smyth, who recorded it with Don Henley originally. Travis was not only impressed with the richness of his daughter’s voice, he also felt she added the emotional element needed to make the song special. After discussing it with Theresa, he took Tyler into the studio and they recorded it.
“I loved it. I toured with him afterward, and I still do that when I can,” Tyler said. “It’s kind of hard now with school and dance and everything, but hopefully after I graduate, I can tour more.”
A typical day for Tyler begins at 6 a.m. “When I come home, I either have dance or I go to Atlanta for voice lessons. Last year, I also did a bunch of pageant stuff,” she said. “It just depends on what day it is, but my weekends are usually very relaxing.”
Theresa said she and Travis are very excited about Tyler’s aspirations. “She has been wanting to do this since she was little, but we wanted to be sure she had a normal childhood,” Theresa said. “We let her dabble a little. When she was younger, Disney and Nickelodeon wanted her to do a show and stuff, but Travis wouldn’t let her do it. He figured if she was talented back then, she’d get even better as she got older.”
That normal childhood included dealing with two younger brothers like most big sisters do. “Me and my oldest younger brother are really close in age so we do a lot more together. He’s like my best friend,” she said and then added, “He’s actually the biggest goofball you’ll ever see in your life. He’s crazy, and when I’m not feeling good, he always makes me laugh. He’s 16, only a year younger than me.”
Tarian is another issue. “My youngest brother is still in that stage where he drives me crazy. He’s 11, and we don’t have a lot in common and everybody says when he grows up he’ll be cool,” Tyler said. “But he likes to spy on us and annoy me.”
The Tritts’ busy schedule often includes visits to Leesburg to see family and friends. Theresa said her children enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in the smaller town and appreciate that people can just “drop in” whenever they like.
“We live in a gated community, so people don’t just pop in. Down there, we’re at my aunt’s house or when we would go to my dad’s or my grandmother’s, people just stopped over,” Theresa said. “So every break they get, spring break or fall break, they want to go to Leesburg because it’s fun. They go four wheeling, and they ride airboats, stuff like I used to do. They think it’s the greatest place ever.”
Theresa is a former “Miss Leesburg”; in fact, she was only the second winner of the “Miss Leesburg” title. She is still special to Linda Watts, who is pageant director in Leesburg.
“I’ve been doing this for 29 years, and it’s so wonderful to see these girls and their families. It’s just a blessing. We started the pageant in 1987, and Theresa won in 1988. She was a joy. She has a great personality and is always upbeat and excited. She was dedicated to our program and to representing us well,” Linda said.
“I think it’s so cool that my mom was Miss Leesburg,” Tyler said. “Every time we’re there people come up to me and ask if I’m Theresa’s daughter and when I say yes, they say, ‘Oh my gosh, you look just like her.’ I always say thank you. It’s so funny because when I was growing up, everyone said I looked like my dad. Now that I’m older, and I’m going around with my mother, they’re saying I look just like her. I think she’s beautiful.”
Theresa’s best friend is Leesburg resident, Nicole Todd. The two have been close since elementary school. Nicole said their friendship is irreplaceable and the two of them truly complement each other.
“I may not talk to her every day or even every week, but when I do, there’s never a gap. I’ve always prayed that both my girls could have a friendship like that,” Nicole said. “There has never been any jealousy or bad feelings. We started doing a ‘girls’ trip’ every year. The first year we took our kids along, but then we decided that wasn’t really a vacation. We do it so Theresa and I can have some quiet ‘us’ time.”
Tyler’s best friend is Nicole’s daughter, Cameron. Both girls are talented musically, and Nicole and Theresa are pretty sure that talent didn’t come from them.
Nicole can’t help laughing as she recalls the time both girls were in the middle school chorus. “We were so happy. We were working on a song one day and singing our hearts out,” Nicole said. “The director stopped everyone and separated us. She put each of us beside one of the best singers and across the room from each other. It turned out we were awful singers, and she couldn’t let us sing together. We still laugh about that.”
Tyler will have plenty of support when she graduates and begins the journey to her future at Kennesaw State University. Her major? “Business management. My dad always stresses that it’s really important to depend on yourself and he wants me to manage myself and be responsible, which I completely agree with.”
Sounds like following those footsteps may lead her along the right path.