Singer Tiffany Houghton Talks Music, Believing In Yourself, & Not Wanting The Best For Your Ex
If there's one thing Tiffany Houghton is sure of, it's that music is her calling. The Dallas-raised singer/songwriter is currently on the road with MKTO's American Dream Tour and is gaining fans in every city she visits — which is exactly where she always hoped she'd be. Houghton stopped by the Bustle office and spoke with me about her blooming career, and it's clear that she has an incredible passion for music and the confidence to chase after her dreams.
"I remember sitting in a car seat at like, three years old, and I remember distinctly having this thought that I'm going to be on the other side of that speaker someday. It was something I've never questioned."
Houghton's childhood dreams are coming true. The 20-year-old singer started her entertainment career at 10 years old when she was cast as the lead's understudy in the Broadway musical Annie, but realized quickly that musical theater acting wasn't the path she wanted to take. Houghton's goal now, she says, is to share stories with an audience and "be herself" on stage, something she didn't feel she could do behind a script. Today, Houghton is sharing more than just her songs with her fans — she's also sharing very personal stories from her life.
"I've always looked up to singer/songwriters, and I grew up listening to Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne, Sara Bareilles. For me, as an artist, it's really important to be the one behind the songs, telling the story."
Houghton's song "Glitter" is one such story.
"When I was growing up, I had this idealistic view of the music industry, and as I got closer and closer [to success] the more times people were like, oh, there's nothing special about you... there was just so much rejection. I felt like I lost that glitter for a second, and so I wrote 'Glitter' about getting that back."
When it comes to her personal life, Houghton isn't shy — at least, behind her guitar. Her latest song to hit iTunes, "The Best," will ring true to anyone who went through a breakup with a jerk who didn't treat them right. The song title refers what Houghton's boyfriend told her during their breakup — that he wished her "the best." Houghton can't say that the feeling is mutual.
"I had known that [my boyfriend] had cheated on me, and that he was just a bad boyfriend, so I was like, no, no, I hate playing that game. I have nothing nice to say to you."
It's that sort of honesty that makes Houghton so genuine. Though her refreshing candor is making Houghton tons of fans, it wasn't always the case for the up and coming singer. When I asked about Twitter's notorious "haters," she admits that nothing was worse than high school bullies.
"I wrote these songs about guys in our high school, because I just don't know how to write fake songs. I was literally making myself the biggest target for people to make fun of me."
Houghton's positive attitude helped her tune out the haters, but, according to her, it took some practice.
"Of course there are going to be haters, but when you overpower that with love, it makes it so much easier to ignore it... I think that, in high school, everyone takes things so personally, and I really had to learn not to do that. "
What advice would Houghton give a singer looking to pursue their own dream?
"I'd say never get too high and never get too low. That's the hardest thing as an artist because your heart is so attached to everything you're putting out there. Manage your expectations and be patient... The reward is so much better when you struggle a little bit at the beginning. Let it break your heart a little bit, it'll be so much better when it all works out."