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Interview With Tess Anderson

EzraTsai Photography

Tess Anderson is a singer-songwriter and producer from Vancouver, Canada. Pulling inspiration everywhere from old-school jazz standards to modern pop, her sound is heavily driven by her unmistakable voice. We had the opportunity to Interview with Tess Anderson.

If you aren’t familiar with Tess Anderson Read on.

1: Tell us about your background getting to where you are today?

Music has been the biggest passion in my life for as long as I can remember. If you asked me at 4 years old what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you I wanted to be a rockstar. I’ve worked at building a career in the industry since I was a teenager, writing music every spare moment I had and performing live at every opportunity. In 2016 I moved to Vancouver to attend recording school where I studied audio engineering, music production, and songwriting. Halfway through my program though, everything came to a halt when I learned that I was pregnant with my son. I took a year off of school, and frankly off of music, before returning to finish my diploma with a 9-month-old baby. There were a lot of months that were painfully difficult and I had no idea how I was ever going to make music and motherhood work at the same time. All I knew was that I wanted both, and I was willing to work as hard as possible to make it happen. I released my first 2 singles, “Home” and “War Paint” in 2019. Then I started performing regularly around Vancouver, saving up every cent I earned to fund the recording of my debut EP. It’s taken 2 years to get here, but I finally released the first single off the project called “Northern Lights” on May 7th, and the next single is out June 4th! The other songs will be coming over the next few months.

2: Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Victoria, BC, Canada, and lived there until I was 19.

3: How did you get into music?

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Music has always fascinated me. As a little kid, I was constantly singing and making up melodies. I performed my first vocal solo in a musical at school in the 3rd grade, and I took piano lessons for a few years as a kid. I was around 12 years old when I had the epiphany that many of my favourite artist did both of those things at the same time, and that’s when everything changed. I began accompanying myself on the piano while singing my favourite songs, and that very naturally turned into me beginning to song write. I learned to record myself and self-produced my first 7 song album at 15 (under a different alias), followed quickly by my first sold-out local show and national radio play on CBC.

4: What is the most challenging thing you have overcome in your life?

This is a tough one. There’s been a lot of challenges in my life. Becoming a mom at 20 while my family lives on another continent definitely is an ongoing challenge – particularly now during the pandemic. One of the hardest phases of my life, however, was losing my best friend suddenly and tragically 2 days before our high school graduation. What was supposed to be such a fun and exciting moment in my life was instead one of the most painful. It’s been 6 years and I still miss her every day. Grief is something you carry with you forever.

5: Are you currently signed or independent?

100% independent. I do everything myself.

6: Who inspires you the most musically?

I have such a broad range of musical tastes – everything from classic jazz standards to modern rock – so it’s really hard for me to narrow down where exactly my inspiration comes from. When I first started songwriting I was hugely inspired by Sara Bareilles though, and I think some of that influence definitely still shines through in my writing today.

7: What do you want people to take away after listening to your music?

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When people listen to my music, I want them to feel a little bit less alone in the world. Music to me is all about connection. It communicates so much deeper than words ever can. It’s so cool how when listening to music, an entire room of people can all simultaneously experience the same emotion at once. We all have a lot more in common than I think we realize, and I want my music to help people feel that. We’re all in this together. It’s a big part of the reason that writing from an authentic and vulnerable place is so important to me.

8: What is your greatest achievement as a musician?

Honestly, I feel like I’ve hit the greatest achievement every time that someone messages me or comes up to me after a show to tell me that a song of mine has positively affected them in some way. That’s what it’s all about. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that my art has helped someone in some way.

9: Do you produce your own music? If not who do you work with?

I do produce music, and often do so for other artists, but I actually prefer doing that to producing my own music. Sometimes if I get too involved in the whole process I end up hating my own song by the time it’s finished. My upcoming EP was produced by Cody Taylor and Ryan Guldemond, and I am SO glad that I chose them both as collaborators. They made these songs way better than I ever could have imagined doing myself.

10: Who is one artist you wish you could work with?

Sara Bareilles! She has been a dream collaborator since I was 12.

11: Tell us about any new music you have coming out? When is coming out? What is it about?

On May 7th I released “Northern Lights”, the first single off my upcoming EP! This song is a true story about a road trip my husband took me on when we first started dating. I’ve got 3 more tracks coming over the next few months as well. Next up is a song called “Never Seems to Fade”, out June 4th. It’s about my grief surrounding the loss of my best friend. It’s definitely an emotionally heavy one, but it means a lot to me, and I hope it will serve as a comfort to those who are experiencing their own loss and grief. The other songs on the EP talk about the internal battle I face trying to balance motherhood and a music career, and then of course there are some good love songs too. The EP will be out by the end of the summer.

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12: What does a day inside your shoes look like?

My days are kind of all over the place. First and foremost I’m a mom, so most of my days are wrapped around caring for my son. I fit my music in wherever I can though, which often means a lot of multitasking. These days it’s been a lot of promo prep work just getting ready for the EP release. It’s a lot of chaotic back and forth between mom-mode and musician-mode (often involving a lot of stepping on lego along the way LOL), but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Pre-Covid I was playing live gigs at least twice a week, so rehearsals took up a lot of my time. Now I’m actually also working as a music teacher and vocal coach two days a week, and it has become such a passion of mine. It’s the coolest thing in the world getting to help people bring to life the music that they have within themselves.

13: Anything else you want the audience to know about you?

I’m so unbelievably excited to share this new music with you!! If you want to follow along with my journey, you can keep up with me on instagram at @itstessanderson or on Facebook at Tess Anderson Music.

Natalie is a journalism major with a focus on Entertainment and Music who aspires to become a Content Creator For Honk Magazine. Eventually, she wants to be the Publisher or Editor-in-Chief of a major Publishing House. She loves helping people find their voice and passion for writing and journalism, and she can always be found with coffee in hand, editing another article.

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