Connect with us

Interview

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?

Advertisement

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?

Advertisement

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

3: How did you get into music?

Advertisement

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?

Advertisement

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?

Advertisement

100% independent. I do everything myself.

6: Who inspires you the most musically?

Advertisement

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?

Advertisement

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?

Advertisement

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?

Advertisement

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?

Advertisement

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?

Advertisement

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.

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

Advertisement

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?

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

Stay updated! Click the Google News follow button for more news and updates.

Follow on Google News

Artist Spotlight

Angie and Chris from Eleyet McConnell Talks “Surrender,” Morphing and New Single

Angie McConnell’s powerful voice and heartfelt songwriting, influenced by icons such as Beth Hart, Janis Joplin, and Merle Haggard, blend seamlessly with Chris McConnell’s soulful musical arrangements, reminiscent of classic 70s rock and blues. Together, as Eleyet McConnell, they create a sound that is both nostalgic and refreshingly modern.

Since meeting in 2013 and beginning their collaborative songwriting journey, Angie and Chris have developed a musical synergy that is palpable both in the studio and on stage. Their songs reflect personal experiences and universal truths, delivered with an honesty that strikes a chord with audiences.

Advertisement

On the eve of their new single release, “Don’t Tell Me Why” from their critically acclaimed debut album, “Crazy World,” the couple took time out to answer some questions in this EXCLUSIVE interview…

“Surrender” is such a personal and emotionally charged track. Can you share with us the inspiration behind the song and what it means to you both personally?

Advertisement

Angie: Lyrically is a reflection over a very difficult period of time for me.  Life was throwing curveballs at me, and I had to reconcile a lot of really hard things all at once.  “Surrender” was my way of telling the story of my journey, and those moments when things felt quite insurmountable to me.  It was my opportunity to share my belief in a higher power and faith that there is something bigger than all of us in control. 

As a married duo, how does your relationship and shared experiences influence your songwriting process?

Chris: Almost every song we’ve written is about our life before and after marriage.  For us it’s a magical thing to share the ability to express life through song lyrics and melodies.  Writing is almost like the framework that makes us who we are both as individuals and as husband and wife.  Angie never wrote songs until she and I met, and I was just waiting for things to click for her and see what could happen.  For a couple years I’d noodle on the bass during rehearsals to see if she’d catch on and it took a bit.  One day it was like she heard it for the first time and things just took off from there. 

Advertisement


Angie, you mentioned that “Surrender” is your “give it to God” song. Could you elaborate on how your faith journey has influenced your music, especially in this song?

Advertisement

I grew up in the church and spent several days every week in service, bible study, or the fun activities our church would have on Saturdays or during softball leagues and things like that.  My mom was always playing hymns on the piano and she and my dad would sing those old songs playing guitar.  It was definitely part of my foundation.  Like many people I drifted away from that life as I got older and while I never forgot those times, I certainly wasn’t active like I was when I was younger.  

As I explained, the lyrics to “Surrender” talk about the lowest period of time in my life.  So many difficult things happening all at once and I was struggling to deal with it all in a healthy way.  Literally, one day I was on my knees just sobbing because I was so overwhelmed and I actually said out loud, “I can’t do this please help me”.  I felt a peace that I hadn’t felt in a very long time and not because it had left me.  It was because I wasn’t open to receiving it and didn’t even realize it. 

Advertisement

All my life I remember hearing people say, “lay it down..give it to God”….. but it didn’t really resonate.  This time it felt so natural and so easy.  I let it all go and gave my worry, my fear, my sadness, my guilt….all of it to God.  It was the best thing I could have done for myself.

Advertisement

“Gettin’ By” was a success, hitting the top 30 on the UK iTunes Rock songs chart. How did you feel about the reception to your debut single, and did it impact your approach to creating new music?

Chris:  Believe it or not, we never sit down with the intention of writing a song in any certain fashion.  Even with a song like “Getting By” and all its success, we still never went back to write the next tune with the intent to stay in that vein and try and match the success.   Maybe we should think about that in the future, but our writing just doesn’t flow like that.  

Advertisement

Your debut album, “Crazy World,” seems to touch on themes of overcoming struggles and finding hope. How do you hope listeners connect with the overall message of the album?

Angie:  The songs on this album all come from our life together.  Chris and I have had our share of struggles, and we still found a way to make it all work and it’s been just amazing.  Our lives are crazy and fun and full and challenging, and the world at large feels even more crazy at times. This album shares stories of different struggles like paying bills, falling in love, sadness, disappointment and how unfair life is at times – all the things that each of us deals with on the daily.  We found each other and have found a way to get through all the hard times together.  Anything is possible.  Hopefully, someone else can listen to our story and feel encouraged to keep chasing their dream.

Advertisement


“Don’t Tell Me Why” is your upcoming single, set to release soon. Can you give us a glimpse into the inspiration behind this track and what listeners can expect?

Advertisement

Chris:  This song came together in a matter of minutes.  We were writing with our friend, Darla, in her basement one evening.  I came up with those bass intro notes and just sang the line “Don’t tell me why”.  Darla and I just seemed to play the same thing without talking much about it and Angie literally just took off with the lyrics to the song. It was like she couldn’t write them down fast enough.  Apparently, she was upset with me about something (chuckling).  I might be responsible for a few of those songs when she was upset.  More stories for later LOL.

Your music has been described as genre-defying. How do you approach blending different musical influences to create your unique sound?

Angie: Our music is simply a culmination of all the great stuff we grew up listening to as kids. Both of us have grown up with several influences and we love it all.  I think it’s why our original work feels like it could live in a lot of places and it’s really difficult to say we live in this or that bucket.   Both of us grew up on gospel and country music from our parents, Chris loved the 70s music and so did I.  We both love rock and roll and blues and oddly enough, neither of us had a love fest with the arena stuff from the 80s.  Sure, we listened and yes, we were in the throes of the vibe like everyone else at the time, but I wouldn’t say that era influenced us much as songwriters.  

Advertisement

Both of you have dynamic stage presence. How do you translate the intimacy and emotion of your songs into live performances?

Chris: It’s very easy for me to get lost in the songs.  We’ve written about some very personal experiences, from difficult arguments in moments where we didn’t think we’d make it all work to the very happiest times together and everything in between. I feel like we both can mentally go right back to those moments when we perform these songs, and the audience can feel that.  Angie can grab a crowd.  Some of my favorite nights are in small venues when the size of the place just makes it more intimate.  There have been times where everyone is so in tune with everything she says, especially when she tells the story behind the songs.  It’s magical.

Advertisement



Angie, you mentioned experiencing some difficult times a few years back. How has music been a form of healing or catharsis for you during those times?

Angie: It saved me. Music gave me an outlet to talk about and confront things that were far too difficult to utter out loud to anyone.  When I began writing it was like I finally had this vehicle that let me – actually forced me, to look deep into myself and reconcile a lot of things that I had buried or compartmentalized. I had a lot of things to reconcile and through it all I changed dramatically.  Chris will say, “You Morphed!”, and he isn’t wrong.  

I took a hard look at myself and realized a lot of habits that I had developed where relationships are concerned, and it dawned on me that I had become someone else entirely.  I didn’t hate who I had become per se, but I wasn’t happy nor was I really healthy.  I had gained a lot of weight; I had some medical issues and I just felt like a cog in a wheel.  My life was nothing much beyond going through the motions.  

Advertisement

Writing was therapy in a lot of ways. I found a counselor that helped me with skills and tools to cope with life in more healthy ways.  During this time writing music became prolific for me.  I have told people that I feel like I finally know why none of us remember being born.  Can you imagine how awful that would be? I think I know what birth feels like now.  The pain, the physical pressure, the feeling of being transported from a cocooned environment to one where you are completely exposed.  It’s traumatic.  That time for me was traumatic but transformative.  

I don’t look the same. I don’t deal with things the same.  I feel like I’ve learned so much and I’m more at peace right now than I’ve ever been.  Music was my outlet, therapy, healing—all the things.  That line in “Surrender” that says, “I’ve changed so much that I don’t recognize when I look in the mirror, but I know I needed the change”….. that line is powerful for me when I reflect on that time and absolute truth.  

Advertisement

Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations for Eleyet McConnell as a musical duo?

Chris: We would love to take some time to branch out and take the show out of our local region. We’ve been planning about how we can do that and still take care of everything we’ve got going on here at home.  We can’t wait to get back into the studio.  Angie and I have written so much material and we want to get it recorded as soon as possible.  New singles will be released soon, and we can’t wait for that.   This year we have stumbled into some cool opportunities to play in larger venues, and we’d love to see a lot more of that.  We are blessed.  We are grateful and sometimes still can’t believe all that’s happening. 

Advertisement

###

“Don’t Tell Me Why” delivers a compelling blend of raw emotion and introspective lyrics, wrapped in the rich musical heritage that Angie (Eleyet) and Chris McConnell bring from their diverse influences. The single follows their successful Top 5 UK iTunes hit, “Surrender,” and continues to build on their reputation for creating music that resonates deeply with listeners. The new release comes on the heels of the duo’s recent Josie Music Awards nomination for Best Multi-Genre Duo.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Artist Spotlight

Exclusive Interview with Country Chart-Topper Ashley Puckett

Ashley, it’s great to have you here. Let’s start from the beginning. Can you share a bit about your journey into music and how your upbringing in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, influenced your musical path?

Hi! Thank you for taking some time with me today!
My musical journey started when I was only about 5 years old when I sang my first song from the Dixie Chicks. Sometimes I like to say it even started before, because my mother would sing to me all the time When I was little, and there was always country music playing.  Growing up, I had a great childhood. I was a happy child, always had my parents support for anything I wanted to do.  I didn’t want for anything.  Still to this day, my parents are my biggest fan.  I remember growing up I was writing songs on my swing set outside in the summer. Music was just part of me growing up all the way to where I am now.

Advertisement

You mentioned being inspired by artists like Lee Ann Womack, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert. How have these influential figures shaped your style and approach to songwriting and performing?

I love traditional county music. And gals like Miranda allow me to still do what I do because a lot of this genre is moving to pop country, and there’s listeners out there that still want to hear some good ol’ country tunes.  My influences are those who I can follow a path of success and motivation no matter the set backs, and those who have paved ways for others.  These women, among others showed me at an early age that you can be yourself and stick to your roots, and more success will come from that.

Advertisement

At age sixteen, you picked up the guitar and began writing songs. What was it about songwriting that drew you in, and how did you hone your skills as a songwriter over the years?

Yes, learning to play guitar was a very big part of taking my songwriting to the next level.  For me, songwriting came early also.  It’s always been an outlet for me to express myself.  I’m a very good listener, but when it comes to talking,I usually say it better in song.  It’s a way to remember the good times and help me get through the bad. And the thing is, I’m not the only one who goes through those emotions, so it’s a way to share a way of healing for others, too.

Advertisement

Your debut album, “Never Say Never,” was a lifelong dream come true. Can you tell us about the process of bringing this album to life and working with industry professionals like Bryan Cole and Doug Kasper?

It truly was nothing short of a dream come true!  I love being on stage, and writing songs, but the part where you get to work with like minded, talented individuals and see your work come to life and share a million creative moments together is by far my favorite part of making music. It’s been a while now since I’ve been in the studio, and I miss it very much!

Advertisement

The first single from your album, “Medicine,” charted nationally and received widespread acclaim. What was the inspiration behind this song, and how did it feel to see it resonate with audiences?

Advertisement

When I heard that song for the first time, it spoke to my heart because it was just so raw and beautiful.  There’s an innocence about that one that I felt could touch many different types of people just like it did me. I love acoustic love song, easy listening music, and this one was all of that wrapped in one.
I knew this song had to be part of my debut album because it was a perfect fit to my traditional style, my vocals, and love for beautiful melodies. I love how the audience has taken an immediate interest in me and this song and helped start my mainstream music career.

 “Bulletproof,” released on your birthday, became a #1 iTunes hit in South Africa, and a #1 Radio Hit in the US. What was your reaction to the song’s success, and did you expect it to have such a significant impact?

Advertisement

Oh my gosh, it was such a surprise to me!  Honestly, when that happened, it gave me a whole new look on my accomplishments to that moment and made me realize that every little success until then had contributed to that very moment.  So I till this day appreciate the little things and the little successes a lot more because I know they will lead to much more.  I was also very surprised to learn about the culture in South Africa and how they outsource music and love country! That was very cool to learn!  I’d love to visit there sometime!

Your single, “What’s Her Name,” was also a radio hit. Can you give us a glimpse into the inspiration behind this track and what listeners should expect from it?

Advertisement

This one was very fun to record!  It’s very “done me wrong, cheating song country” haha.  A lot of us have unfortunately been in that situation, and it was finally a moment to sing about it!  You put so much into something and give your all to someone who would just rather take it for granted and not show the decency to you that the relationship isn’t working out, they go out and cheat and then play at home like it’s all good and perfect. You’re blind sided. Naturally it makes you wonder who she is and what’s her name.

You mentioned that meeting Bryan and Doug reignited your passion for music and inspired you to pursue your dreams. What is it about your collaboration with them that makes it so special, and how has it influenced your creative process?

Advertisement

In so many ways!  This opportunity when we all met and decided to move forward gave me my chance at country music.  So I knew my life was changing I just didn’t know how or what to expect.  Throughout the process of making the album, I leaned a lot about the industry and a lot about myself.  I think this project made me a better artist both creatively and professionally.  As I mentioned earlier, when I have the chance to be in the studio, it became my favorite part of my entire career. Just getting to create music from nothing and see it turn into a masterpiece with a bunch of talent in the room making it possible is just beyond amazing.  It also inspired me to keep writing – not that it was going away, but because I saw that the words I put on paper were not just words anymore with an A-cappella melody,  it was a radio hit. That people liked!

Advertisement

With your new single, “Anchor,” on the horizon, what can fans anticipate from this latest release, and how does it fit into the larger narrative of your musical journey?

I’m very excited to share this one!  I wrote this song on a birthday vacation in Florida. I love the sea and I get most my inspiration lately it seems from the ocean.  This song is a pretty melody, vocal and simple yet story telling song.  My favorite instrument you don’t hear much anymore is steel guitar, so we brought that back here for sure!  After my debut album, I wanted to start sharing my original work, and “Anchor” is going to be a follow up to my first written debut back in 2022, “Tequila”

Advertisement

That song was accepted very well and made it into the top 80 on the Music Row charts, so I’m hoping this one can set a huge stage for me and my writing and overall career showing that I didn’t just write and sing one song, I’m a songwriter, too, and I have a lot to say and share!

Finally, where can listeners find your music and stay updated on your upcoming releases and performances?

Advertisement

All major platforms, wherever you listen. Amazon music, Apple Music, pandora, Spotify, or if you’re out and about on the town having a drink, play a song on any AMI Jukebox!  I’m also really big on Facebook and instagram for all things Ashley including upcoming events and performances. You can also check out my website at www.AshleyPuckett.com

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Video Of The Week

Trending