Tristan Wilds began acting when he was seven years old, appearing in indie movies, music videos (Jay-Z's "Roc Boys") and guest starring on major network series (Cold Case and Law and Order). He's most recognizable from his recurring role as Michael Lee in the 2006 HBO drama The Wire and as Dixon Wilson in the CW's retooling of the classic 90210 franchise.
Although he's been acting for years, he's always had an interest in singing and rapping.
The world has changed since Brian Austin Green—best known as the original 90210's David Silver—laughably attempted a foray into the rap game. Today, Degrassi's own "Wheelchair Jimmy" is one of the biggest stars in music. Will recent history repeat itself? Or is the artist known now as "Mack Wilds" just too TV famous for his own good?
We'll know sooner than later, as his debut album, New York: A Love Story debuts September 30. “It just felt like it was perfect timing,” said Wilds.
“I want to show people that I can actually do music first and foremost,” he said.
What would prompt Tristan Wilds, to make the switch from the comfy LA acting set to a recording studio? “It seemed like perfect, weird, divine timing,” said Wilds. “I usually go off of gut feeling—so when my gut was telling me that this was all good, I listened,” he said.
With Wilds' first album on deck, he is hoping to separate his actor persona from his music career, while connecting his current fan base with what he's doing now. Wilds assures naysayers that it's not a gimmick.“Bigger than anything else, [this] wasn't anything premeditated," he says.
He is confident that upon hearing his album, you'll take him seriously: “It's real music, simple as that,” he said.
The thirteen track album is produced by Grammy-nominated producer Salaam Remi (Amy Winehouse, Nas). A New York City native, his goal was to give his listeners a feel for his hometown. “When 90210 was ending, me and Salaam had already started working on some of the songs on the album,” said Wilds.
"Own It," a single from the album has been getting play on the radio airwaves. The album guest features fellow New York rappers like Wu Tang Clan's Method Man and Raekwon, also from Staten Island and the human beatbox Doug E Fresh. “Real recognizes real and I think with this music I'm looking kind of familiar,” said Wilds.
Brandon Robinson is a digital journalist that covers sports and pop culture for MaxPreps, Slam Magazine, Da Laughing Barrel, TD Daily and Regal Radio. He is also a lecturer at NJIT in Newark, NJ. You can follow him on Twitter @ScoopB and see more of his work here.